Standing Out in the Crowd(funding)
Crowdfunding has been a hotly debated and rapidly growing medium for fundraising, both in the for-profit and nonprofit spaces, with mixed reviews from experts in the field.
No matter your take, there’s no denying the ability for crowdfunding to bring in a rush of dollars in a short period of time. Take, for example, the New York Foundling’s Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund campaign.
The Foundling, which offers services for underserved children, families and adults with developmental disabilities, lost power during Hurricane Sandy like many in New York City, and its servers went down. At the time, the Foundling wasn’t using a cloud-based donor database, says Vice President of Development and Communications Jennifer Malichio, “so our ability to collect, track and process donations — an imperative aspect of funding our programs — was severely impeded in the aftermath of the storm.”
Many families and children that the Foundling serves were affected by the storm and in need of necessities such as food, clothing and shelter. So the Foundling turned to crowdfunding platform Deposit a Gift to raise awareness and seamlessly collect donations while working remotely and still without access to its platform and programs in the office.
The ‘build it and they will come’ myth
A big myth to crowdfunding is that you can put up a page on a crowdfunding platform and “benevolent donors are going to shower you with money,” says Dana Ostomel, founder of Deposit a Gift.
“That’s the furthest thing from the truth. … It’s not about putting the site up. There are two components. One is setup, and the other part is marketing. The marketing is really more important.”
Still, before you can market your campaign, you have to set it up. So utilizing the Deposit a Gift platform, the Foundling created its campaign. On the welcome page, it introduced the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, had a “Click Here to Donate Now” link in the second line, described the organization and offered more links to the donations registry. There were also five rotating photos — one of the campaign logo and four of the children it helps serve.