Microgiving, Online Giving Platforms, & the Rise of GoFundMe
The die is cast!
Online Giving Platforms have changed the game for raising money online.
Think of it this way: where once upon a time it took serious connections, a lot of dedicated effort, and some capital already stored away, it’s now simple for anyone to take on a fundraising project of any size—instantly.
Part of the reason for this seismic shift? We might be able to thank (or blame) online fundraising giants like GoFundMe, for starters.
In the Non Profit Space there has been significant debate around whether or not platforms like GoFundMe are an ally or the enemy.
Regardless of where you stand, the fact is that easy-to-use, immediately accessible online fundraising platforms are shaping the new reality of online giving.
We can probably all agree that online giving sites have majorly impacted the fundraising world, so instead of debating the pros and cons of this change, let’s direct our attention to the impact that online giving platforms have had on both the nonprofit space and the world at large.
It is tried, true, and tested!
The New Fundraising Superstars
It’s not surprising that sites like GoFundMe have become so popular in the past few years.
Thanks to these crowdfunding platforms, raising money as an individual has never been easier. In fact, all it takes to reach phenomenal fundraising heights is a WiFi connection (and a little know-how).
And if you’re wondering just how expansive these services have become, we’ll let the numbers speak for themselves—to date, GoFundMe alone has raised 3 billion dollars. (Yes, we said billion!)
But, like, times three.
It’s not just the most well-known crowdfunding sites that are drawing in major fundraising dollars, either.
While they might not yet be household names like Kickstarter or Indiegogo (two pioneers of the genre), there are practically too many crowdfunding options to count, each of them with their own followings and record-breaking results.
And while some sites can be used for virtually any kind of personal or nonprofit fundraising, others target highly specific niche audiences.
It just goes to show that in today’s fundraising world, there’s truly a platform to help meet anyone’s unique crowdfunding goals. (And there’s no longer any reason not to pursue a fundraising project!)
The Microgiving Mentality
Traditionally, nonprofits have relied on major gifts to fuel a large part of their fundraising campaigns.
However, with the advent of online giving platforms, large gifts don’t necessarily need to play a part in a nonprofit’s (or individual’s) fundraising strategy.
Instead, crowdfunding campaigns have made way for a boom in microgiving. As the name would suggest, this method of fundraising works when a large number of people donate small amounts of money.
In order to pull this off for high-dollar fundraising goals, of course, you’ll need a pretty extensive donor list.
Your email list should look something like this.
How do you find so much support for your cause? Your crowdfunding platform has likely got you covered there. Most online tools make it incredibly easy and intuitive to share your campaign on social media and update supporters through your campaign page.
And, because there’s no pressure to give more than a couple bucks, these campaigns are able to attract a host of donors who might be unfamiliar with the cause.
If you’re an individual, that means all of your friends and family (as well as anyone else in your online social network) can chip in to help out with your fundraising project.
If you’re a nonprofit, you’ll be able to use your online giving campaign to start brand new relationships that can lead to further involvement down the line.
Either way, microgiving appears to be a win-win strategy for all involved!
Giving Communities a Voice
More than just changing the format of how we raise money, microgiving (and the rise of personal fundraisers) does something different.
Because these online campaigns have practically no barrier to entry, they’re able to channel the passion of the everyday person to fill small goals or needs within fundraisers’ personal communities.
To give this concept some real-world context, let’s talk through an example:
Perhaps a shopkeeper's window became broken during an aggressive demonstration. Unfortunately, the business owner is unable to afford the repairs. And because the damage is unsightly, he’s begun to lose business, thus deepening his financial woes.
I certainly wouldn't want to shop there.
Someone sees the shopkeeper’s need and starts an online giving campaign to raise enough to pay for the repairs.
The fundraiser not only sets up a crowdfunding page; he also makes sure to include photos of the shopkeeper and his family as well as the damaged storefront.
To give the campaign page some extra punch, the fundraiser explains the problem at hand (while adding some backstory for the man who owns the shop, too).
The exponential effect of the internet takes hold and someone that has never been to that town or met that store owner is moved and gives $10 dollars towards the cause. That individual decides to share the cause on his Facebook page, bringing in even more donations from all over.
Within a few weeks, the individual has raised well over the fundraising goal for the deserving business owner!
Now, we know that these results may not be typical, but similar stories occur in real life more often than you might think. For instance, take a look at this graph plotting the donation results for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Online giving takes advantage of exponential growth rates, and can far outperform your fundraising goals and lead to real change; the Ice Bucket challenge, for example, helped scientists discover important and previously unknown data about ALS.
Look at it this way: Micro-causes with micro-solutions are changing the world as we know it, one micro-contribution at a time.
Online giving platforms enable individuals to have a voice and take action by empowering them to raise money for an area, cause, or goal that they care about.
Like most solutions, fundraising requires a combination of techniques executed well by organizations and people that have a passion for their cause.
Thanks to online giving platforms, that execution has become a bit easier for both organizations and passionate individuals. Now, with the right online giving site on your side and a little help from the power of social networks, anyone can have a major impact.
Cheers, and be well,
p.s. We here at mGive are always ready and willing to discuss ways to invigorate your mobile marketing or online marketing strategy, social media strategy, and online fundraising efforts. Contact us today! Let's chat.
Editor's Note: This post has been revised and updated for relevance and content. It was originally posted on 12/19/2016.