Most of the findings of the recent Network for Good report follow my experience with personal fundraising, especially the point "You can raise more than you think." I would add, "in a shorter amount of time." I thought it would take two weeks to raise the $1,000 to send Leng Sopharath, a young Cambodian woman, to college. It took less than 24 hours to do it, plus we went over goal. So, I extended the campaign so we could send another young student, Chanphearon, to college. In less than a week, we're 2/3 towards that goal!
So, go donate and keep that smile on Schapheron's face. Then, think about the implications in this new report from Network For Good called The Wired Fundraiser by Katya Andresen and Stacie Mann.
Chanphearom's College Costs are 63% Covered! Yeah! 27% More To Go
It starts with a profile of the two types of Wired Fundraisers. I definitely fall into the first category ... except for my age.
Type 1: The Technology Transformed Personal Fundraiser
These individuals know the power of personal fundraising offline. They are the types that call on friends to support their charity run or bike ride, knock on doors in the neighborhood to raise funds for a local community project, or hold a dinner party to solicit donations for a charity. This fundraising technique has been very successful because as the old saying goes, people give to people they know.
These fundraisers, once they adopt Internet tools, are made more powerful. Tools like widgets and charity badges, combined with social media networks, enable these fundraisers to extend their reach and amplify their message. These fundraisers are passionate about their cause and this energy fuels the success of their cause.
Type 2: Fundraising Transformed Techie
A new group who weren’t fundraisers before. Now that evangelizing has become as simple as posting a widget on a MySpace or Facebook page, they are promoting causes. They tend to be dabblers in fundraising, with their degree of effectiveness contingent on their level of passion.
Both groups of Wired Fundraisers skew young, ranging from 20 years old up to 40 years old. Many of them are tech savvy, but the ones who are not are able to use the most basic forms of online communication like email to support their cause online.
The key findings:
1. When Wired Fundraisers Talk, People Listen: The messenger matters even more than the message. (I found this true in my campaigns when I've asked donors why they gave. "I gave because you asked me.")
2. Not Every Wired Fundraiser Is a Champion: The successful Wired Fundraiser has a relatively rare combination of true passion and a means to lend a sense of urgency to their cause.
This point come from some analysis of Six Degrees campaigns and an analysis by Justin Perkins of Facebook Causes:
Moreover, as with Six Degrees, a handful of fundraisers and Causes accounted for
the vast majority of giving. At the time of his analysis, there were about 8,000
Causes, and Care2 sampled about 10% of them. There were many zero dollar
donations in that sample (555 out of the 774 we sampled). Of the 218 causes that
actually had donations, the average money earned was about $290, and the average
number of supporters was about 6,600 (not including those with zero dollars). The
actual total donations ran from $5 to $22,871. “Pareto’s 80-20 law seems to apply,”
says Perkins. “A very small number of people on Causes give.” He notes the lack of
catalyzing events for many users: “A lot of people join a Cause because it’s cool, but
there’s no accountability to donate.”
But Perkins adds: “What’s exciting, though, is that groups now have an increased
chance for getting money from the small number of superactivists and their personal
networks.” The superactivist can yield strong results.
3. Technology Makes a Difference: Widgets and social networks make existing personal fundraisers more effective. (I definitely think this true given my recent campaign experience. What I would like to see is some more efficiency!)
4. Smart Charities Embrace the Wired Fundraiser: And they find their own, “inner” Wired Fundraiser. (What is starting to happen now is the organization where I serve on the board, I've been asked - think you can raise this money on your blog? Hmm .. add another board recruitment category - blogger!)
The report ends with implications for both wired fundraisers and organizations. One particularly struck me:
You can raise more money than you think: Using web-based widgets or badges can raise more money than you think; set goals and you may be surprised at the results.
Every single one of the campaigns I've run, I've discovered that they surpassed the goal and that people beyond my original connection have donated. So, don't underestimate the power of a Wired Personal Fundraiser.