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.
Long-time subscribers to Giving in a Digital World may remember my previous posts about the online microphilanthropy initiative Social Actions (which aggregates thousands of microphilanthropic opportunities through one open source data set, making it easy to find opportunities to act in support of any cause you’re interested in) and the expert non-profit review and recommendation system Philanthropedia.
Between them, they represent two of the best examples of online philanthropic thought leadership in action that I’ve seen in recent years. So, it’s no surprise that non-profit information specialist GuideStar just announced that it has acquired both of them to add to its “growing knowledge base of tools, data and information designed to advance transparency within the nonprofit sector”.
Social Actions founder Peter Deitz revealed the next step in the Social Actions story on the Social Actions blog yesterday, explaining that “Feature enhancements that we previously described as ‘possible with sufficient resources’ will be developed, tested, and deployed more rapidly and integrated seamlessly into GuideStar’s existing toolset, resulting in a robust platform capable of leading many more people to meaningful and high-impact action on the causes they care about.” Exciting stuff! And well worth keeping an eye out for the next level of Social Actions activities over the next few months.
Philanthropedia’s network of experts and innovative proprietary research methodology, developed to help guide funding to high-impact organisations operating in specific cause areas, is also to be integrated into the GuideStar solution set so as to enhance the services it provides to donors in the US.
For more information on the acquisition you can read the full GuideStar news release here.
Crowdfunding websites that let you contribute to specific projects are nothing new, but anewwarrior.greenpeace.org launched by Greenpeace to generate funds for their new Rainbow Warrior has lifted the bar to a new level in terms of on-site experience.
The site opens with a great full screen video telling the story of the current Rainbow Warrior and the need for a replacement. Then you can take a look at the planned new vessel through an interactive 3d model and browse through detailed blueprints of the new ship to select items that you’d like to ‘buy’ to help fund its construction – anything from a Survival Suit at €800 to a €10 Toilet Roll Holder. All donors will receive a Certificate of Purchase and have their name added to a dedication wall on the ship itself.
Elsewhere on the site you can see personal stories from the Rainbow Warrior crew and view video of the latest stage of construction via a webcam at the dry dock in Germany. Social sharing opportunities are provided through Facebook and Twitter share buttons.
Overall, it’s a great user experience. Right down to the soundtrack becoming muffled if you drop beneath the surface of the sea to view the underside of the ship!
The only thing they don’t seem to have got right is the search strategy to help drive traffic to the site. I first heard about it on Twitter (thanks to @101reinier). But then when I wanted to show the site to someone else and tried to find it using Google it was nowhere to be seen. Even typing ‘New Rainbow Warrior’ didn’t bring-up the site, although it did return a wide range of news stories about the ship being built and a range of other Greenpeace fundraising landing pages like this one.
The other day I had an opportunity to chat with the team at Care International in London who have recently completed what I believe is the first ‘Kiva-alike’ microfinance-based fundraising site to be launched (I’ve certainly been surprised not to have heard about others before now).
Like the incredibly successful Kiva, which brought the concept of microfinance donating to the world and now has over 475,000 donors and a total loaned amount of over $155 million, Care International’s lendwithcare.org allows donors to select projects they are interested in and then support them through a returnable loan. It also shares pretty much all of the functionality offered by Kiva, and all within a somewhat nicer overall site design – as dear old Kiva is starting to show its age somewhat.
Another thing the Care International team is hoping to share with Kiva is the use of PR to spread the word of this interesting way of supporting developing world projects – as Kiva was given something of a kick-start publicity-wise when it was promoted by the likes of Bill Clinton and Opra Winfrey and the whole story was picked-up by the international media. As yet, mass media PR support seems something that lendwithcare.org has yet to achieve – but it’s early days with the site only being launched this month.
For more information, visit the site, take a look at the lendwithcare.org introductory video below, or follow the team on twitter at @lendwithcare
I had the very great pleasure last week of finally meeting face to face with someone who I can honestly say has changed the way I think about online fundraising over the last 18 months or so – that person being Christine Egger of Social Actions.
I first came across Christine and the work of Social Actions back in early 2009 when I blogged about their ‘Change the Web Challenge’. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to share ideas on open source thinking and the evolution of online fundraising and wider microphilanthropy through numerous email, Twitter and Skype exchanges with her – every one of which has left me with an excited “now I get it” feeling about what the future of online microphilanthropy might hold.
So, when the Institute of Fundraising asked Jason Potts and me to plan-out the Digital Fundraising channel for their National Convention here in London, Christine was naturally top of my list of ‘big thinkers’ to get onto the convention platform. Which is why we finally came to be having coffee in the Convention Hotel last Monday morning.
You can see Christine’s Convention presentation above – or even better view it on Slideshare here complete with full notes to help explain the finer intricacies of “Designing and aligning for the emerging philanthropic web”.
Grab yourself a cup of something, sit back, and take some time to think through the ideas Christine shared in her session – from understanding where open giving markets fit into online fundraising to ideas on how to design your own activities to take advantage of the way the philanthropic web is developing, it’ll be time very well spent.
I’ve finally reached home here in London after speaking at the 2010 Deutscher Fundraising Kongress over in Fulda last Thursday, having spent much of the last three days waiting for trains alongside countless other travellers stranded by the European air travel lockdown caused by ash from an Icelandic volcano. However, on the up-side, the unexpected land journey did give me an opportunity to see far more of the country than I would otherwise have done and it was certainly a great conference – with over 500 fundraisers attending, mainly from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
I was there to give a couple of sessions. One on Consumer Insight that you can find on my Strategy Refresh site, and the other on Online Community Fundraising that you can view above or on Slideshare.
It’s a really interesting time for online fundraising in Germany right now as adoption of social media is really starting to take off after a very cautious start, compared to the US and the UK (research findings on this are included in the presentation). With this a number of new German online fundraising websites have launched offering project-specific crowdfunding (like betterplace.org and wikando) and personal fundraising pages (like Altruja). Much of the discussion during and after my session was about how quickly such sites might become popular with German consumers, and when German charities might be able to share online fundraising stories like those of the $93 Club in the US and little Charlie Simpson in the UK.
There were folks with pretty clear views on both sides of the debate. However, I think the majority opinion was that after several years watching other countries take advantage of social media in support of fundraising (Germany having been described as 5 years behind the US in social media adoption), the next couple of years look set to see online community fundraising start to take-off there. It’ll certainly be interesting to check-back at the 2012 Deutscher Fundraising Kongress to see just how things have evolved.
I’m just back home after a flying visit over to the Fundraising Ireland 2010 National Conference in Dublin, where I was presenting a session about online community fundraising – the slides from which are available to view above or via Slideshare.
The conference was a sell-out event and the sessions I got to, as well as my own, were characterised by some really great interaction and questions – which reflected the great atmosphere at the whole event. Add to that the best conference lunch I’ve had in ages and the whole thing was a great success. So, many congratulations to the organisers at Fundraising Ireland. They’re a pretty new network for Irish fundraisers, and just announced that they are about to re-vamp their website as an Irish fundraising information portal as well as introduce a membership scheme. Without a doubt, well worth getting involved with them if you’re a fundraiser in Ireland.
One of the topics that was returned to a couple of times in discussions was the lack of useful Ireland-specific research on everything from giving trends to online usage. To help-out with the latter, here are the links to the latest freely available Irish online usage research I’ve been able to find – and which I quoted from in my session:
> Latest report from ComReg (the Irish Commission for Communications Regulation) a bit of a heavy read but does include the latest data on internet access in Ireland – published just this month: download it for free here
> Amarach Research Irish Life Online Report from Feb 2009: downloadable here
> Barry Hand’s blog post on the top Irish websites for Feb 2010: read it here
> Information on facebook user numbers in any country around the world: Checkfacebook.com
If anyone comes across any other recent research into the Irish online market – especially if it relates to social media use – then do let me know.