The latest DonorDrive release includes new features for Personal Campaigns, a tool that will have an important impact in online fundraising. Personal Campaigns let your supporters create their own campaigns to raise money and awareness for your cause. We asked guest author Melissa Brown, former editor of Giving USA, to comment on the importance these campaigns will play on the future of fundraising.
Even those of us who are not endurance athletes or high-intensity gamers can now organize fundraising efforts for the causes we care about through Personal Campaigns. A recent example of how popular this trend in fundraising has become is from Prince William and his bride asking well-wishers to make wedding gifts to a charity fund in the UK. Their ask raised $1.7 million, which was distributed to 26 charities selected by the happy couple.
In another example Rachel Beckwith asked for $9 contributions to charity:water for her ninth birthday with a goal of raising $300. Tragically, she died in an automobile accident a few weeks later. Her loved ones and many, many others were moved by her tale and contributed more than $1.25 million.
‘Thons (walks, runs, rides) have been the fast-growing method for raising awareness, recruiting donors, and promoting action to address needs. Interestingly, those who participate in ‘thons that are not charity based (like the New York Marathon) are increasingly turning their activities into Personal Campaigns to raise money for their favorite cause.
Historically, a sponsoring charity starts an event, then recruits sponsors, donors, volunteers and other advocates. With Personal Campaigns, the supporter initiates the idea, encourages others to take action and the charity says, “Wow, thanks!” These campaigns are now tied to events in the supporter’s life, instead of signature events like traditional ‘thons, galas or golf outings.
Michael Chatman, an active philanthropy commentator posted the recent tweet: “Philanthropists used to support nonprofits to help them achieve their missions. Now we support non-profits to help us achieve our missions.”
Personal Campaigns are most effective when supporters tell their own story and connect with people they know. Stories matter in fundraising because they engage emotions and a desire for action. While any one individual’s donation might be $50, or even $5, when that one person asks every friend and family member to donate, the combined total can be $500 or even $5,000. And when hundreds or even thousands of supporters organize campaigns for a charity, the amount just may surprise you.
Research shows that people are more likely to give to a charity when someone they know asks for the donation. When that request is linked with a special event in the asker’s life, the decision to give is even easier. When a friend asks via a Personal Campaign that gives us an easy online mechanism to make a donation, the giving just gets better. There is no better way to strengthen human relationships than to honor those we care for with gifts for causes they support.
Melissa S. Brown
Melissa S. Brown and Associates
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