Posted by Bryan on April 23, 2012
While I don’t have hard and fast data to prove it I strongly suspect that, after Emergency Appeals, Sponsored Event fundraising is the largest generator of online donations in the UK – with leading sponsorship fundraising site Justgiving recently announcing that its users have passed £1billion in funds raised since it launched 10 years ago. As such, I was particularly interested when I came across Guess2Give, a new fundraising site which is aiming to complement traditional sponsorship sites by adding a £3 per entry sweepstake element to any type of event – with a proportion of the money raised being given to the winner and £2.50 for each entry going to the event organiser’s chosen charity.
Launched in beta last year, and to consumers just this month, the site has already attracted a range of big and small brand charities as well as picking-up a handy financial boost in the shape of a £50k award from NESTA. The heart of its refreshingly distinctive proposition is that far from competing with traditional event sponsorship fundraising it will actually generate additional income from events as supporters fundraising for their chosen charity set-up both a sponsorship fundraising page and a Guess2Give sweepstake fundraising page.
I love the innovative thinking here – such a wonderfully simple fundraising idea and yet no-one seems to have come-up with it before (unless you know better?). However, I’m not so sure about the idea that event participants will set-up two types of fundraising pages and then promote both to their networks of friends and colleagues.
What I suspect might actually happen is that people who have asked their friends for sponsorship before and who like the sweepstake idea will go to Guess2Give so they don’t have to send around yet another sponsorship ask – which could have quite an impact on the amount raised. Assuming that the average sponsorship fundraising page generates around £600 (which doesn’t seem too far off, based on this presentation from Jonathan Waddingham of JustGiving (p8)) then the sweepstake fundraiser needs to secure something like 240 sweepstake guesses to generate the same amount. That’s a lot of friends doing a lot of guessing.
However, on the up-side, new income may well come from people taking part in less challenging and more fun events where a Guess2Give sweepstake is more applicable than traditional sponsorship. For example, one of the site’s promotional videos involves a charity paper plane challenge.
Only time will tell both whether event participants take to the sweepstake idea and whether the innovative approach generates additional funds for the sector or cannibalises traditional sponsorship fundraising by offering a novel but lower value way of raising money. The team at Guess2Give are certainly working hard to get their name out into the public arena – with quite a bit of media coverage related to last weekend’s London Marathon and a spoof face-to-face fundraising promotional video. So, it’s definitely worth keeping track of their progress.
Posted in crowdfunding, Online fundraising, Sponsored events | Tagged: Bryan Miller, Guess2Give, justgiving, Online community fundraising | 2 Comments »
Posted by Bryan on March 16, 2010
It’s not often that a charity gets a mention in the science and technology magazine Wired, but the forthcoming edition of Wired UK includes a great write-up on Cancer Research UK’s project crowdfunding site MyProjects – heralding it as a ‘radical approach to transparency in charities‘.
To be honest I’m not sure that MyProjects is quite as radical as the article suggests. But it is certainly the best project crowdfunding site that I’ve seen from a medical research charity and it does provide a level of transparency, through project-specific funding, that most other charities still shy away from.
Building on the understanding that many people want to be able to focus their donations on one particular type of cancer, MyProjects lets potential donors choose to support a specific project – with details of the work being undertaken provided through video interviews with the scientists involved. Once you’ve chosen a particular project, you can then set-up a ‘giving group’ through which you can get friends and family involved, with tools provided to help promote fundraising activity and to show progress being made towards the fundraising goal. It’s got a nice clean site design which is easy to navigate and 73 giving groups have already signed-up during the site’s Beta test stage.
All in all, well worth a look if you’re thinking of developing online project crowdfunding for your own organisation.
Posted in crowdfunding, Online fundraising | Tagged: Bryan Miller, Cancer Research UK, Community Fundraising 2.0, MyProjects, Online community fundraising | 3 Comments »
Posted by Bryan on August 21, 2009
On the back of the phenomenal growth in usage of the Twitter microblogging service, there has been much discussion over the last year about the potential for its use by charities and other non-profits for both supporter communications and fundraising.
The case for using it as an addition to your online supporter communications now seems pretty clear – if your supporters are users of the service and you have someone available in your organisation who can manage your day-to-day Twitter communications (monitoring tweets relating to you and fielding the inevitable questions that will start to come through if people actively engage with your Twitter feed).
Quite how best to raise money direct from Twitter is less clear at present. Micro-transaction initiatives like Twollars are interesting but have not, as far as I know, yet started to deliver significant income for anyone, and few organisations are as yet showing real income coming from other Twitter-specific testing.
However, where it certainly is proving itself as having a fundraising role is when used to bring people who are usually only connected online together offline for a ‘real world’ fundraising event – known in Twitter parlance as a Twestival.
The first ever Twestival – entitled Harvest Twestival – was organised in September 2008 by a group of Twitter users here in London and set the form for future events – being organised entirely by volunteers, in a very short timescale, using Twitter as the primary communication and co-ordination mechanism. Originally intended for 30-40 people, their event ended-up attracting 250 and raised money for a central London homeless charity called The Connection.
After such a great start, the first Global Twestival was held in February this year with people from over 200 cities worldwide taking part and raising some $250,000 for charity:water.
Building on this success, a second international Twestival is taking place next month – from 10th through 13th September. But this time, rather than all events around the world focusing on a single charity, it is being described as Twestival Local with groups of volunteers voting for the charity they would like their local city’s event to raise money for. There’s a Google Maps mashup on the site showing all of the registered city Twestivals and their chosen charites – with the London Twestival raising money for the children’s charity Childline.
This is a fantastic example of online community fundraising in action – with freely available social media tools being used by groups of volunteers to run events on behalf of specific charities that they select as being most worthy of the resulting funds. No involvement from community fundraisers employed by specific charities. Just Web 2.0 empowered volunteers doing it for themselves, in the way that works best for them, and with all money raised going to their chosen charity.
So, do take a visit to the Twestival Local site; see where your local Twestival is taking place next month; and have a think about what this type of Community Fundraising 2.0 initiative might mean for the future of fundraising as it continues to grow in popularity.
Posted in Online fundraising, Twitter | Tagged: Bryan Miller, Community Fundraising 2.0, Online community fundraising, Twestival, Twitter | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Bryan on May 14, 2009
It’s been an interesting three days this week, with the first ever IFC Online eConference taking place – bringing together an estimated 500+ attendees from 42 countries world-wide, through an entirely online conference.
Unlike traditional ‘real world’ conferences, it’s tricky to be sure just how many people are ‘attending’ an online conference. The IFC Online organisers at The Resource Alliance tell me that 387 ‘sites’ signed-up for the event, but the number of individuals at each ‘site’ who watch the sessions can vary massively – from one individual to, in this case, a group of more than 70 people who gathered together in Jerusalem to attend. So, I’m not sure exactly how many people attended the two sessions I presented, but I did spot around 160 ‘sites’ logged-on in places ranging from the US and Latin America, right across Europe, to Singapore, Korea, and Australia – which made for a good crowd.
If you’ve never attended a big web-based conference like this, and it was my first time – both as an attendee and a speaker, then the screengrab above will give you a bit of a feel for how it works. Presenters speak over VoIP and use Powerpoint presentations just as if they were in a convention centre with people infront of them, and throughout the session people can ask questions and make comments by typing into the Chat/Q&A box. Must admit, when I kicked-off my session it felt a bit odd sitting all alone talking to my Mac – but once the questions started coming-in onscreen the whole thing came to life and it was great fun.
Some really interesting speakers too, including Scott Goodstein, External Online Director for Obama for America, and Premal Shah, President of Kiva. And what was particularly handy is that all sessions are recorded, so attendees can catch-up on any they missed or re-watch any session they found especially useful. (Except for Scott Goodstein’s session, apparently – which is a pain, as I missed that one myself).
So, all-in all, a very interesting and, by the looks of it, successful event – and a great extension to the Resource Alliance’s annual ‘real world’ International Fundraising Congress held each October in Holland.
One other thing that struck me was just how much more Twitter activity was going-on amongst the attendees at this event than at the main IFC just last October – when there were a lone two folks Tweeting for all they were worth. This time, there was a pretty constant stream of Twitter commentary coming through under #ifconline – and even a degree of consternation when Twitter went down for maintenance right in the middle of a session yesterday evening (London time).
Posted in Fundraising, Online fundraising, Twitter | Tagged: Bryan Miller, IFC, IFC Online, Kiva, nptech, Online community fundraising, Online fundraising, Twitter | 1 Comment »
Posted by Bryan on March 8, 2009
Just a few weeks behind the originally planned launch date (which is pretty impressive for a development of this complexity) the online fundraising site formerly known as Play it Forward and now renamed Pifworld went live over the weekend.
I’ve been watching the development of Pifworld with interest over the last few months, for a couple of reasons. Partly because it is the latest of a number of innovative online community fundraising developments to recently come from the Netherlands, where the whole concept of online community fundraising has really taken off over the last 18 months or so. But also because pre-launch announcements suggested that Pifworld would offer a very different online user experience to that of established charity project crowdfunding sites like Kiva and Globalgiving – and indeed it does.
At the outset, in addition to the usual project search functionality we’re used to seeing, Pifworld’s project inventory is displayed on an interactive globe (shown above) that you can spin and zoom to see what they have available in any particular area of the world you might be interested in. All within a main screen that also displays latest funding and supporter data. This might sound like an unnecessary novelty, but actually works really well and is a fun and engaging way to see what’s going-on.
Then, when you find a project that looks like it might be of interest, in place of the traditional text and photo-based project funding request, Pifworld projects are promoted through neat little video interviews with key project staff who explain the project aims, activities, and needs – like the woman below explaining her project in India.
Now, other fundraising sites have certainly used video in places to help illustrate project activities. But I’m not aware of any which have taken the next natural step of replacing text and photo project reviews (which are often little more than on-screen versions of good old direct mail leaflets) with a far more authentic and engaging video presentation. Pifworld project updates are also video-based, so you can really see (and hear) what the team have been doing with your donation.
Unfortunately at this stage, once you’ve found the project you’re interested in, the user experience slips a bit – as the online donation process seems a bit more complex than usual. Donations are made from a Pifworld ‘wallet’ which you first have to upload 5 Euro ‘credits’ to. This can be done from vouchers or using most major credit cards (at an added transaction cost of around 1 Euro) but the overall process feels a lot less streamlined than I’ve experienced on other sites. Also the confirmation email doesn’t arrive immediately (I’m still waiting for mine). For all that I love other aspects of the site, I think this payment process could do with another look – given that it’s fundamentally what the whole site is about. It wouldn’t be the first time that an apparently very engaging online fundraising site failed to maximise income simply because insufficient thought had been given to the back-office functionality. Hopefully the Pifworld team will be watching their site analytics to ensure that people are completing their transactions and will fix this if not.
Beyond this, another very nice feature is the way that project advocacy has been built into Pifworld, with people encouraged not only to become Supporters but also Ambassadors for their chosen projects – with blogging facilities provided to help Ambassadors mobilise their personal online networks. There is also email promotional functionality and project details can be shared as an Open Social widget (although only by copying the widget URL and not through a simple pushbutton which is becoming the norm elsewhere).
So all-in-all, a fun and engaging site that will hopefully prove attractive to potential online donors of all ages – with a few wrinkles to iron-out over the coming months. Definitely a site to keep an eye-on.
Meantime, if you’re interested in what else is happening in online community fundraising in the Netherlands, then it’s worth taking a look at 1procentclub.nl and geefsamen.nl (thanks to Victor for those). As well as the latest implementation of the YoCo fundraising platform from my old colleagues at WWAV Holland, which has raised almost 1 million Euros in sponsorship donations for cancer charity KWF Kankerbestrijding’s Alpe d’HuZes cycling challenge just a couple of months after going live.
Posted in crowdfunding, Online advocacy, Online fundraising | Tagged: Community Fundraising 2.0, crowdfunding, GlobalGiving, Kiva, Netherlands, nptech, Online community fundraising, Online fundraising, Pifworld, Play It Forward, WWAV, YoCo | 2 Comments »