Many sectors of the world economy are getting tighter. There is seemingly less cash about for charitable organisations, and more people in need of the work and relief these organisations provide. As budgets become increasingly stretched, charities struggle for new ways to be heard above the noise of the crowd, to get some form of cut-through, and to connect with the philanthropic among us. They seek new ways to engage and to catch the attention of those who share their passion. Surely then the answer, one of the new ways for them to connect, is through crowd funding.
Crowd funding represents a great way for charities to tell their story. Through one centralised portal, charities are able to articulate their story, to present their short video, and display pictures about their cause, mission and the project for which they are conducting their funding campaign. It outlines their needs, the goal, and simplifies the manner in which supporters can get on board. A crowd funding campaign undertaken by a charity can also give further inducements or incidental enticements, giving people even more reason to support the campaign beyond that of simply sharing the passion of the project creator**.
Crowd funding offers charities a way to take followers and fans on social media to the next level. Now, supporters cannot only say they “like” you, but can take their connection and involvement further by liking you with their wallets. Crowd funding ties perfectly into social media presence, as social media platforms are the number one feeder for crowd funding campaigns. Once charities have their fan base established, the process of leading into a crowd funding campaign is quite simple and almost a natural progression from the moral support they give on the social media platform.
A legacy of the structure of crowd funding campaigns is the transparency and the ”real-time” view that supporters receive. Crowd funding campaigns give supporters a chance to see more clearly where their funding is going, and how the campaign is progressing towards its goal. A common complaint of those who give to charities is they do not see where their money is going, and what is being achieved. A campaign on a crowd funding platform such as iPledg has a clear project definition, a purpose and a goal. Supporters can see in real time how funding is progressing in line with the target and time-frame. They can post comments and interact with other supporters of the campaign and of the cause. In addition, project creators are able to liaise and post comments about the progress of the campaign, what’s happening behind the scenes, and when the campaign is finally complete, they can report as to how the actual project (funded by the campaign) is progressing.
Given that crowd funding is a relatively new phenomenon, charities are able to use it as a point of difference for now. There is a short window of opportunity during which charities that are the early adopters have the ability to stand out from the crowd and take the wonderful new world of crowd funding to their audience, engage them, and get greater buy-in to the causes and projects that need funding. Once it becomes a mainstream form of fund-raising for charities (and we believe in time it will), crowd funding will be as accepted as the door-knockers, tin-shakers and raffle ticket sellers are today.
** Charities with DGR status are tightly governed by laws as to gifts they can give to those who pledge. As such they should seek further advice from their crowd funding platform before offering such inducements.