What Is Social Fundraising? And How Nonprofits Can Use It To Reach New Donors

Published by CauseVox, March 7th, 2017, written by Megan Donahue:


“Social Fundraising.” “Crowdfunding.” “Peer-to-Peer Fundraising.” There are a lot of terms floating around, but they’re mostly talking about the same thing: an online fundraising effort that relies on leveraging the social networks of your supporters.

At CauseVox, we believe this is the future of fundraising. In today’s connected world there is more noise and distractions than ever, the cost to rent attention continues to rise, and your supporters have more influence on and access to others than brands.

People fundraising empowers your supporters to be your advocates, allowing you to get around the constant noise on a limited budget. Some of the most compelling include:

  • New donors giving to campaigns
  • Existing supporters becoming more involved in fundraising
  • Successful fundraising campaigns that meet or exceed their goals

Whatever you call it, social fundraising holds great opportunities for organizations of all sizes and at all stages of growth.

Obligatory Mention Of The “Ice Bucket Challenge”

If you were on the Internet in the summer of 2014, you probably encountered the “Ice Bucket Challenge.” If you’ve been in the fundraising sphere since then, you’ve definitely encountered at least one article about how the social fundraiser for ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurodegenerative disease) research and awareness really shook up the crowdfunding game. If not, a brief catch-up:

The Ice Bucket Challenge works by one person challenging another to post a video of themselves dumping a bucket of ice water over their head to call attention to ALS. The Challenge grew virally, quickly becoming a social media phenomenon. Within a month of its start, The ALS Association received nearly $3M more in donations than it had during the same period in the previous year. Soon, donations reached more than $100M.

By the end of the 2014 challenge, more than 17 million people uploaded challenge videos to Facebook. The money raised during the challenge directly impacted research, and has become an annual event.

Social Fundraising Takeaways

In addition to activating peer networks to spread the word, the Ice Bucket Challenge did several things right. The top three takeaways can be applied to any social campaign, ice water or no…

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