#2 Alternative giving
Heifer International pioneered a modality of giving that’s catching on with socially conscious consumers and the nonprofits they support. The core value proposition is powerful: Instead of buying someone another gadget for her birthday or the holidays, give a gift to a nonprofit in her name. These alternative gifts transform the online shopping experience into
a values-based exchange between the donor, charity and gift recipient. What began as an online shopping cart in 1997 evolved into an array of alternative-gift shopping experiences.
Heifer International launched its Heifer Giving Registry, and others have created “Wish Lists” for those who want their friends and family to give them certain charity gifts for special events. Groups such as JustGive.org have created gift certificates that can be given as presents, allowing the recipient to choose what group to which the money goes. Using charity gift cards is increasing as a benefit. The possibilities for inserting charitable giving into the shopping experience are only as limited as the innovative nonprofit’s thinking.
#3 Social network fundraising
Social network fundraising is truly as old a concept as the first time a colleague asked a colleague to contribute to a cause he cared about. The most widely known examples of social network fundraising’s successes are “-a-thon” events such as Komen’s Race for the Cure, Easter Seal’s “Walk With Me” and the like. Tens of millions of dollars are being raised online through these proven programs.
Yet it doesn’t require a real-world event to leverage the power of social networks to raise money for your cause. The 2004 political season raised the profile of personal fundraising pages for political campaigns. Since then, a wide variety of organizations have put social network fundraising directly in their most passionate constituents’ hands. Adopters of this approach span the range of large to small, national and local organizations, to an engineering team of seven that raised $18,000 for its trip to Cameroon to field test ceramic water-filter technology. The outcome across the board? More dollars for causes and an expanded pool of new donors achieved through a highly efficient fundraising approach.