Tag Archives: Online fundraising

Digital Fundraising – how can I get into the action?

I came across a motherload of digital fundraising infographics via William Deckers’ Digital Fundraising Pinterest board.

What I am seeing that we can no longer ignore is the majority of people surveyed participate in online activities.  Here’s an infographic that demonstrates:

At this point in time, the majority of fundraising is still done via offline methods, but I feel we are about to see a change since our audiences are shifting to the new way of donating online.

And, of course we all know that the younger generations are increasingly using digital formats in their lives.

We are also seeing an increase in donations per digital formats since last year.  Meaning, people are becoming more acclimated to donating online.

So, how can we get into the action?

Just like any other fundraising campaign, I do suggest that you sit down and plan out your strategy and get as many people involved in spreading the word as possible.  Through my basic research, here is a list of  digital fundraising formats to consider:

  • Your website – As long as it is highly visible, well marketed, and easy to use, donating via your website is still the easiest form of online fundraising.  If you happen to be using a CMS for your website, such as WordPress, there are plug-ins available for sprucing up the functionality of your online donations. PayPal has a widget that you can use to make it really simple, or if you are set up on Google Checkout, or Amazon’s platform, there are widget options for you as well.
  • Third Party Fundraising Services such as Causes, Razoo, Network for Good, are an easy way to get into the online donation game.  Be sure to compare their fees and marketing abilities.
  • Text to Give options! More people are donating via text donation campaigns due to the increase in mobile phone usage.
    In 2008, the American Red Cross raised over $190,000 via text donations, and this is when the technology was fairly new! If you are interested in setting up your own mobile donation campaign, check out:

  • Tweet donations – One of the new formats is the ability to receive a donation via a tweet on Twitter.  If you have a good following, this is a great way to see which of your followers will evolve to become donors.  These programs allow people to sign-up and store payment information to be coordinated with their Twitter accounts. Some of the new ones connect you to your PayPal account.  Of course the organizations need to register too. When the donor tweets the specific code that is set up by the organization, a donation of a certain amount will be withdrawn and paid out to the organization.Currently there are not many service providers for this type of donation program.  You can look into Givver if you are interested.
  • Facebook donations – Many of the donation services have Facebook apps that will coordinate with your Facebook Page.  If you are interested in receiving donations via your Facebook Page, be sure to select a service that has an established app you can install.  If you are not already using a service that has an available app feature, you can sign up directly with Causes.com.
  • Crowdfunding – Many of you already know about Kickstarter, but there are many other options out there to start a crowdfunding campaign.  Please see my past post Choosing the right Crowdfunding is good Audience Development for suggestions on how to choose the right option for you.

In any case, you will want to choose the format that your audiences want to use.  Go where your audiences are, and if you do not know where to go, ask them in your next survey!

Digital fundraising does not have to be daunting if you treat the process with the same care as you would for any other offline form of fundraising.  The key is to build relationships online before, during and after using these new formats, just as you would with your regular fundraising campaigns.  Once you dip your toe into the world of digital fundraising, I think you will find it fun and rewarding.

If you know of any new digital fundraising formats, please reply and share with us!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,


Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists



“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

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Filed under Arts funding, Audience Development, fund raising, Online fund raising, Online fundraising

Choosing the right Crowdfunding is good Audience Development

Crowdfunding has become a viable resource for raising the funds that you need as an artist and arts organization for your particular projects.  It is also a great audience development tool.  With crowdfunding, you are asking for support from your audience, and it is a great way to find out who in your audience is ready to become more involved with supporting your art!

I was researching for a client to find the right crowdfunding resource for her specific project and set of circumstances.  You may have heard of Kickstarter, RocketHub, IndieGoGo, but have you heard of some of the lesser known such as ChipIn, GoFundMe, and Kapipal?  But wait, there is more!  I found the motherload of crowdfunding lists today, and yes, I am going to share it with you (all sources that are mentioned are on this list).

Welcome to The Crowdfunding Wiki!

There are so many sources out there for specific needs.  There are options that are specific to the type of artist you are (film, music, play production). Some of these resources are strictly for non-profits while some are open to all individuals with project ideas and needs.  Some have time limitations and other limitations such as needing to make your goal before you collect any of the funds, but some don’t have strict limitations.  Some charge for the service, but get this, some are actually free to use (minus processing fees for PayPal).

With all the options out there, how do you figure out which source is best for you or your organization?  I would start by making a list of your needs. You may want to consider the following:

1. Are there age, location restrictions?
2. What are the fees or is it free?
3. Can you collect using a variety of currencies?
4. Do you need a PayPal account or not?
5. Are there limitations to how much you can raise?
6. Do you need to raise the full goal amount to receive the money or not?  Are there extra fees if not?
7. Are there limitations on time limits for raising funds?
8. Do you need to set up gifts for levels of donations? You will need to budget if so.
9. Can anyone use the resource or is it strictly for 501c3 nonprofits?
10. Can you use the money right away or do you need to wait for the deadline? Some resources allow you to use funds right away!
11. Do they have resources to help you spread the word: website, widgets, FB, Twitter, YouTube capabilities?
12. Is it easy for your donor to use?

For example,  my client, who happens to be an international musician, she needed a source that could handle different types of currencies and the ability to use without any address restrictions (since some require you to live in a certain region to use).  We also needed a resource that did not require prizes at each level to cut down on overhead costs.  Lastly, we were hoping to find a resource that was free to use, but still had the ease of connecting with social media and the ability to use digital media to outreach.  After researching this long list, I was able to narrow it down to two possibilities that fit her exact requirements.

For organizations and artists with long term goals, there are some interesting ones out there.  One that I found that has great potential is Give.fm.  This site allows donors to micro-give by increments as minimal as $.10 a day.  They can create a portfolio of causes to give to or simply give a certain amount to one main cause.  This site allows anyone at any income to donate to your cause.  It does cost $5/month/campaign, but for $60, it looks like there is potential to raise more than enough to cover that and your projects.

There are simply too many resources out there to cover all of them in this little ol’ blog, but if you make your list and check it twice, you can research to find the exact crowdfunding resource that will be user friendly for your supporters in order for them to help make your projects come to life!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,


Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists



“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”

~James Stewart


Filed under Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising, Online fund raising, Online fundraising

Online donations (Facebook’s Causes) still need audience development!

I’ve been wondering what would be a good topic to blog about today, and my mind has been churning about online donations.  I saw an article this morning that prompted me to go with it:

To Nonprofits Seeking Cash, Facebook App Isn’t So Green

Though Popular, ‘Causes’ Ineffective for Fundraising
By Kim Hart and Megan Greenwell, Washington Post Staff Writers, Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The article states how Facebook’s well intentioned Causes still lagged behind traditional methods of fundraising.  However, it does go on to mention that there was an increase in donations from last year, but only about $3,000 more.

The good news is that Facebook Causes allows anyone to become a fundraiser.  As long as the nonprofit is listed in GuideStar/Network for Good’s database, you can become a fund raiser by choosing one of these nonprofits as your beneficiary.  This is a huge deal for any nonprofit!  Anyone that supports your nonprofit organization and is on Facebook can instantly become an online fundraiser for you.

In my opinion, the reason why Facebook Causes has not become an overnight sensation is the fact that audience development is still needed.  The fundraiser needs to develop the relationships with their friends regarding their cause and the nonprofit organization needs to develop relationships with their fundraisers.  Communication is key when conducting a fundraiser, which I feel is lacking with the majority of these Facebook Causes.

For example, in the past year I have joined about 10 different causes that ring true for me.  Yet, only a couple of these causes have emailed me directly or even posted an announcement for a fundraiser goal.  I could use a prompting to go to their Cause page to donate.  No one is prompting me.  A Cause “poke” is needed!  If I get the urge to be generous on a particular day I may go to a cause and donate, but I might be more inclined to view their plea a little more regularly if I had awareness of any fundraising goals that are current.

I repeat, in order for any donation drive to be effective, there still needs to be audience development.  Simply placing a donation link somewhere, even on Facebook, will not have donors flocking to donate to your cause.  The most effective campaigns I have witnessed so far using Facebook’s Causes were driven by very informative individuals that posted several times to get the word out and emailed directly to their friends about their fundraising dreams and goals.  These campaigns have been successful.

One of my Facebook friends is using this new found power as a birthday wish.  She is asking people to donate to her chosen cause as a birthday gift to her.  Facebook Causes begins with an increment of $10 which is a nice gift that can add up!   She is looking to raise $250, and she is well on her way.  She only needs 25 of her friends to donate $10 to reach her goal and less people if the donation is more, fairly good odds considering most people have over one hundred Facebook friends a piece.  Plus, her friends can pass on the request to their friends.  Facebook makes it easy to “pass it on!”

Of course you need to consider the bombardment factor in all of this.  I recommend only alerting if you have a specific fundraiser goal in place. If you need to raise money for a certain goal, by all means, let your group know about it.     Then space these fundraising goals throughout the year so they are fresh and exciting.  This will allow your organization to be “top of mind” without going overboard.

Lastly, the way you communicate your fundraising goal is key.  The more personal approach you can do, the better your chances for getting that donation.  After obtaining a donation, the more personal your follow up is, the better your chances of getting future donations.  A personal email to each of your group members before and after a donation is extemely beneficial.

Back to my soon to be birthday friend, she is the epitome of someone using fantastic audience development skills to reach her fundraising goal. I see a request via her status frequently and since she is a direct friend, her request shows up on my main Facebook causes page.  Cool!  She also has sent one very thoughtful email request directly to her friends.    She thanks each donor personally when a donation is given.

Audience development is about forming relationships with people, individual people.  Once a relationship is established, it is easier to ask for a donation for your cause and it is easier to get others to fundraise for your cause (the real benefit of Facebook Causes).  Apply audience development to all your fundraising efforts, whether you use online or traditional methods, and you will see a difference!

Until next time, may your audiences be happy and loyal ones, and if they are not, feel free to contact me!


Shoshana Fanizza is the founder of Audience Development Specialists. Her mission is to introduce artists and arts organizations to their existing and potential audiences and to help them to form more rewarding relationships.


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Filed under Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising, Online fund raising, Online fundraising