More on crowd fundraising and why online donors are so special

by Jini Stolk

My crowd sourcing post  generated a flurry of comment and interest. And for good reason, according to this fascinating piece from NetWitsThinkTank  It says that while the majority of giving still comes from offline channels, online fundraising is becoming increasingly important for acquiring new donors. In fact, it’s the dominant giving channel for new donors 64 years old and younger, and an increasingly common way for new donors to give their first gift.

We’re testing this out right now in Toronto, by way of the Fringe’s charming and cheeky Lots of Little (LOL) Campaign. If you haven’t seen the Fringers’ penny packing video, watch it now. This campaign combines a creative and compelling ask, with a tight timeline and a matching incentive: TD Bank is matching up to $20,000 in donations to the Fringe Creation Lab until July 15th.

(Excuse me; I was just upstairs, making my donation. I want to see this one exceed its goal! )

Another interesting online campaign, spearheaded by New York-based Ms. Foundation, had a completely different set of goals.  Although framed as a giving campaign, its real importance was as a first time collaboration between a range of major women’s foundations and alliances across the U.S. – successfully raising awareness, testing a unified message, and building network capacity.

George Canetti, a Toronto’s Green Theatres colleague in the City’s Energy Office, sent me an article from U.K.’s NewStart  which offers some terrific examples from Storm Cunningham (Recivilizing: Rise of the Renewal Renegades) of people using crowd funding to design, fund and launch community projects in the States. KickStarter looms large in these stories (it expects to direct more funding to the arts in its third year of operation than the NEA does), and – amazingly – so does the fact that the U.S.’s new Jobs Act makes it legal for America’s small entrepreneurs to use crowd funding to finance business start-ups, bypassing many of the onerous regulatory processes designed for larger companies.

Finally, in my last post on crowd resourcing, I wrote about the stunningly successful Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan’s Arts and Culture Challenge, which raised a total of nearly $4.8 million for 75 participating organizations. At the recent APASO meeting in Toronto I found myself sitting beside someone from the Foundation’s Campaign partner, the Cultural Alliance of Southeastern Michigan. How exciting was that?

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