Personal fundraising pages are nothing new. Anyone who’s ever participated in a Breast Cancer or MS run/walk has set up their own fundraising page to help them support the organization. These pages allow the runner (walker, wheeler, rocker, etc.) to make a personal fundraising appeal to their own friends and family. And as all of us know in the fundraising world, this is primarily effective because people give to other people – not just to causes.
So how can you harness this power of personal advocacy? Encourage your network of donors, employees, and supporters to create their own fundraising page. Two great platforms I’ve seen for this are FirstGiving (link to www.firstgiving.com) and Celebration Donation (www.celebrationdonation.org).
FirstGiving allows users to pick their cause out of a database of thousands of US-based nonprofits. They guide you through the setup of your page, and allow you to write a customized appeal. While FirstGiving suggests different milestones to fundraise against (a birthday, run/walk), you don’t have to have a specific event in mind to create a page. All you need is an end-date and a goal, and First Giving gives you a nifty little thermometer that tracks your progress. Of course, as a for-profit company, FirstGiving does charge a fee: 7.5% of each donation, which covers vetting nonprofits, hosting the site, processing donations securely, and transferring the funds to the nonprofit. But fee aside, the site is user-friendly, quick to set up, and provides real, live people to help troubleshoot.
Another great platform that just launched is Celebration Donation (www.celebrationdonation.org). Celebration Donation is a nonprofit organization that focuses on specific celebratory moments in a user’s life. Anniversary? Birthday? Baby Shower? Unidentified special occasion? Celebration donation helps you set up an invitation (somewhat like Evite (link to www.evite.com)), pick your nonprofit of choice, and you’re on your way. Celebration Donation also charges a fee (5% of the donation + 30 cents). Unlike FirstGiving, Celebration Donation’s fee is charged on top of the actual donation; the administrative fee goes to Celebration Donation, so that they can keep offering this service and ensure that 100% of your contribution goes to the nonprofit. The only downside I could find to Celebration Donation was that they don’t have a fully vetted list of national nonprofits yet – but don’t let that deter you – they are adding more every day.
So if you’re inundated with volunteers who want to help – or want to encourage your donors to put their advocacy to work for you – suggest FirstGiving or Celebration Donation, and harness the power of the personal ask!