By Vernon Ringland, Coordinator, YouthBank International
Crowdfunding platforms or websites where users set up fund-raising pages to share through social media are expected to raise more than $5 billion this year according to the industry website http://www.crowdsourcing.org/g.org
This revelation set me thinking about the perennial call from YouthBank members for new ways to raise money towards their running costs, increasing the amount available for young grant-makers to address their particular funding themes as well as issues of longer term sustainability.
The Pedals2Patrick campaign to support YouthBank International, led by James Ryder from Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland in June 2015 was an attempt to move away from selling raffle tickets towards using an on-line utility and raising larger individual donations.
This experience proved that all donors tend to respond identically, whether they donate at physical events or online. Their interest needs to be engaged by developing trust through transparent information. In terms of online donors, this engagement goes into fast-forward mode and a single photo and caption have to say it all within a 10-second window: look at how worthy we are of your interest, trust that we are telling the truth (add all required links to evidence-based information), then please donate.
I was taken aback by the giving of friends and family members of those taking part in the cycle ride and climb of Croagh Patrick mountain. The campaign did benefit from the domino effect through the social media grapevine and through friends of friends. To keep the momentum going in between bursts of activities, we adopted a twice-weekly boost on our website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed, and emailed our membership to keep them engaged.
When crowdfunding works, it’s an administrative dream. It requires significantly less financial resources to reache a wider audience and is logistically quicker and more flexible than traditional methods. However, it does require considerable attention and a well thought-out plan which includes a social media strategy.
During the Pedals2Patrick campaign, 75 donors contributed €2460 with a large proportion contributing between €20-30 using their credit card. YouthBank International raised 84% of our funding target, which was pleasing as a short-term, specifically focused campaign and a contribution to our immediate needs.
Admittedly, online crowd-fundraising is not a fix-all solution to funding requirements. Instead it is a welcome boost to immediate ambitions, which is not to be sneered at. And through this experience, we now have insights to share with other YouthBank members and look forward to contributing to the forthcoming webinar on crowdfunding campaigns hosted jointly by YEPP and YouthBank International.
Image source: http://www.volunteerweekly.org/6-tips-for-raising-money-online-for-your-volunteer-trip/