Holiday Fundraising Goes Virtual
Big fundraising drives and galas might not be the best ways to raise dollars when the nation is suffering from a poor economy. Challenges that come with these tough times have forced fundraisers to think outside the box.
More and more nonprofits are discovering social media as a means of reaching supporters and potential donors because it enables them to get in front of new and engaged audiences, allows consumers to share information and stories about causes that are important to them, and provides a direct pathway to online donations.
Social-entrepreneurship nonprofit UniversalGiving, which connects donors to support-worthy projects across many missions, recently teamed up with social-media community Tokoni, which allows members to share stories about their volunteer/supporter experiences with nonprofit organizations. The campaign can be found at universalgiving.tokoni.com.
Kimberly Pointer, a marketing associate at UniversalGiving, says the nonprofit not only is encouraging people to make donations to favorite causes this holiday season, but also is encouraging them to tell their stories of giving in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same. Site visitors can write about the experiences they’ve had as volunteers, causes they believe in or how it feels to give during the holiday season.
“It really gives people a platform for those who are passionate about a cause,” Pointer says. “The sharing really gets people pumped up to want to tell their stories and give.”
It’s difficult to say what kind of impact this is making on giving since the campaign only started a few weeks ago. However, Pointer says the Twitter identity UniversalGiving created about three weeks ago already has more than 500 followers.
“There has been an increase in traffic and donations,” Pointer says.
This year, virtual-reality environment There.com is holding a holiday charity drive for Child’s Play, a gaming-industry charity dedicated to improving the lives of sick children worldwide.
There.com members can bid on and purchase virtual Christmas trees in the site’s Charity Tree Park, says Jenny Davis, account executive at public-relations firm Dotted Line Communications, which represents both Tokoni and There.com. The winning bidders then can invite their friends to decorate the trees in the site’s Child’s Play Park.
Davis says the trees will be up throughout the holiday season. There.com members drive donations by hosting events such as a winter carnival, black-tie balls and other holiday parties. There’s also the option of giving more traditional cash donations, which earn supporters prizes according to giving level.
“It’s a way for people to show their support for a cause in a fun holiday way and donate,” Davis says.