A Crowd By Any Name
John Clese at Avectra prepared this guest post on “crowd-contributing”, which he sees as a blend of “crowdsourcing” and “crowdfunding”.
Here’s John’s take on “crowd-contributing” …
Successful Crowd Contributing – Technology Makes the Difference
Everyone’s doing it these days – from large international organizations and local chapters of national organizations, right down to your children’s school PTA or soccer team. And what is it they are all doing? Crowd-contributing!
You may have heard different terms used to describe where an organization, group, or individual asks others (usually via social media) to join together to accomplish something by donating money, time, or things. Just to clarify, here’s the quick definition:
- Crowdsourcing is a process that involves outsourcing tasks to a distributed group of people (volunteers).
- Crowdfunding describes the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their financial resources (donations).
- Crowd-contributing is a combination of both sourcing and funding and can include the donation of money, time, things (supplies, tools, etc.) and even introductions or connections to people who are essential to the project’s successful completion.
Rotary International’s CIO, Peter Markos explained why Rotary empowers their clubs around the world to use a crowd-contributing platform:
“It allows a local club to initiate a project and look for help from within their community. By utilizing the website and the built-in social features such as Facebook and Twitter integration, it now means that on a very personal level, people can start to understand what Rotary is about and what their local club is doing. I believe it will increase contributions to the Rotary Foundation overall, thus allowing Rotary to have a greater impact on the world.”
The 2012 Charity Dynamics/NTEN Donor Engagement Survey asked participants how they support their favorite charities and found that:
- 38% Volunteer
- 34% Participate in fundraising events
- 27% Fundraise for charity
- 27% Sign online petition
- 21% Contract elected officials
- 18% Share personal story with others
With the numerous benefits it offers to the charity and to their supporters, it’s no wonder crowd-contributing is popular. Here are just a few of the many reasons groups choose to raise funds and resources this way:
For the Supporter, crowd-contributing:
- Is tangible – they know where their contributions are going and see what they are achieving.
- Provides leadership opportunities for people of all ages.
- Allows groups to partner with others — even in another part of the world — to accomplish something together.
- Lets people pool their modest resources to achieve something great.
- Allows those who are not able to donate money to still contribute via volunteer hours, connections, etc.
For the Nonprofit, crowd-contributing:
- Allows them to break down a large goal into smaller-size ‘bites’ or ‘micro-projects’.
- Can be used for new projects or for specific funding goals within annual and capital campaigns.
- Highlights the nonprofit and its mission. People will be sharing your story.
- Provides an excellent acquisition channel for new (and clearly, motivated) donors.
As in most activities we undertake these days, technology can make all the difference to the process and the outcome. Here’s a checklist of what to look for when selecting the crowd-contributing technology platform for your cause:
- Make sure the platform you choose is widget based so that it can reside on your website and carry your brand.
- Speaking of branding, make sure you can easily customize your crowd-contributing pages with your brand — you want to promote your organization, not the software platform you’re using.
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. The millennial generation, in particular, are far more likely to access, donate, and share via a mobile device.
- Explore all options including: your in-house ones available through your existing CRM or consider a standalone platform. Determine which best serves your particular needs.
- Make your donation page user-friendly and visually attractive.
- Ditto for social media (-friendly). After all, this is likely where your cause will get promoted and shared most.
- Does the option you’ve chosen offer content creation tools to help you optimize your search engine optimization (SEO)? You want your project to get seen.
So, armed with this knowledge you are ready to get started with crowd-contributing. Choose your cause, choose your software platform and then empower people power to make great things happen. Let this be the year you finally leverage the power of crowd-contributing to launch your project, whether it’s grand or modest.
And I look forward to hearing your crowd-contributing stories in The Agitator ‘Comments’.”
Thanks for that John.
Bottomline: if you’re not giving your supporters an opportunity to get involved in a hands-on way in your fundraising, you are probably giving short shrift to both your supporters and your organization.