International Fundraising eConference Roundup: Empowering Networked Communities
He recommended three key steps to finding your online community fundraisers:
- Learn from what people are already doing for you — through your activities or in their own online communities
- Invite them to take part in online discussions about future fundraising — what support they would like, etc. This is a great way to generate and test ideas.
- Then reach out to others who might fit the profile of active online community members from your existing supporter base or through peer-to-peer recruitment.
2. Develop community-based fundraising opportunities that work for online community fundraisers.
These should be tangible, simple and interesting. Most importantly, they should be worth talking about. Miller recommended thinking about ways to package fundraising opportunities that are familiar to them.
One method he discussed is online "crowdfunding," which basically is a Web 2.0 buzzword for gathering groups of people and letting them fundraise as a group — going from one-to-one to many, engaging with someone who then engages with her whole network. It can be used for event fundraising for online community events, brand-specific online project crowdfunding (MyProjects by Cancer Research UK), and cause-specific online project crowdfunding (Kiva.org) or multicause online project crowdfunding (sites like GlobalGiving and Pifworld that aggregate project funding activities) that equip people to raise money as groups.
Other methods are peer-to-peer, in-community activity and micro-philanthropic opportunity aggregation, e.g., Social Actions, which aggregates support opportunities, both financial and nonfinancial. Social Actions isn't just a database of ways to support things, but has gone one step further and been built to push out support opportunities to blogs and other sites based on relevancy.
3. Tools. Help supporters use the most suitable social-media tools to spread the word and raise money.
You don't even need your own Web site, Miller said. The availability of secure fundraising platforms like Justgiving or tools and widgets within the various social-media sites enable people to fundraise for you without you having to have the functionality on your Web site.
People are interested in making a real difference by doing things through their own, self-selected, communities — online and offline. Miller recommended organizations adjust to this by making the following changes:
- Change the skill sets and roles of individual donors, changing the focus from the direct-marketing thinking of contact lists as the platform for fundraising to communities.
- Rather than thinking about campaigns as things that they prepare and then send out, organizations need to move to thinking about giving content to online supporters, which they then can retool and give to their friends.
- Move from thinking of fundraisers as campaign managers to thinking of them as community managers, learning from all of the things that they've known and learned over the years from community fundraising.
"Combining the enthusiasm, skills and experience of community fundraisers with the data-led discipline of direct marketing" is the key, Miller said.