Monday, May 09, 2011

Social Media and Innovative Fundraising

Competition for grants and donations can be fierce, especially as traditional streams of funding dwindle or disappear due to budget cuts. One innovative way to appeal capitalize on new fundraising techniques is through new media and social networking. Here are a few different ways that afterschool programs and nonprofits can tap into new donor networks and gain community support.
  • Donors Choose, which allows small and/or non-traditional donors to support individual classroom projects. Educators post what they need to support their classroom or individual project, from art supplies to technology to innovative curriculum to support high-quality student learning. Donors can search for projects in their geographical area, subject (including math & science!), highest need, and several other criteria. Choose to donate as little as $10--or fund the entire project! This is a great way for potential donors who want to have an impact on students' lives, but who may not have the time to volunteer or the funds to make a major gift. The direct connection between the classroom and the donor shows that the funds are being put to a specific use. 
  • Chase Community Giving, a project that uses existing social networks to support organizations through social media user engagement. Facebook users vote for charities--including youth development and education organizations--to receive grants from Chase, whose total donations exceed $2.5 million. Voters can share their votes on Facebook or tweet links to vote for charities that they favor. The second round of this year's voting is set to begin May 19th--check it out and see if participating next year is right for you!
  • The Refresh Everything program from Pepsi, which encourages innovative and/or new projects to make their case and build a network of support. Each month, Pepsi gives away grants to programs and projects that support new ideas in arts & music, education, or communities. They also post a new "Pepsi Challenge" each month, from a fundraising rock concert to honoring soldiers in your hometown. Users can vote for multiple projects per day, and the Pepsi Refresh website offers a guide for promoting projects via social networking, traditional media, and other creative strategies.
How have you used unconventional fundraising techniques to make a different in your community?

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