Debra Askanase wrote a thought-provoking piece on Idealware called Tribe Leaders and Social Network Fundraising Thoughts – and, well, it got me thinking!
Debra discusses the various tools available but focuses in on “tribes” – a concept most attributed to Seth Godin – emphasizing that crowdfunding (“using the collective funds of a group of people to raise money for a venture, organizaiton, or cause”) is most successful when you have already discovered/identified and connected with the natural leaders within your community and supported them to campaign or fundraise on your behalf. This is not something I disagree with completely, but when it comes to crowdfunding, I think it’s a “chicken or the egg” discussion.
We have many different platforms where individuals can create campaigns or fundraising appeals that benefit themselves, registered organizations/charities, or groups and clubs. And people are doing it – raising money, promoting campaigns, leveraging the power of online social networks to spread and distribute their message, appeal and influence.
We also have organizations spending time finding the latest new tools and ensuring their organization is listed in the bucket of possible organizations to benefit. Ensuring that regardless of which platform an inspired individual or group prefers to use, they will be able to find and select that organization to benefit.
So, which comes first? Which is the one to follow? It’s the inevitable, enduring debate that they are so tied together we can argue til we are blue in the face without getting very far.
If your organization isn’t listed, then of course no one is going to be fundraising for you. But just because you’re listed on every possible platform, doesn’t mean you’ll get a single penny.
My response is always the “middle road” of sorts:
- find the platforms that are most aligned with your work and activities and the places your community uses most
- ensure that your organization is listed on those platforms for anyone that wants to find you
- create a space on your website for people looking to create personal projects or campaigns in your benefit: give them the materials, logos, content/copy and all the appropriate links and instructions on how to select your organization and create a campaign on their preferred platform
- remind your community that you’re there and highlight the stories of those that do use crowdfunding to benefit you (no better way to talk about yourself than by telling the story of those who did something for you!)
What do you think? Is it really a chicken or the egg debate? How has your organization tackled the issue? If you have ever created a fundraising campaign yourself to benefit an organization, how did you choose who to benefit? Would love to hear your thoughts!