Picture credit: Rocio Lara
Crowdfunding is the new genie in the bottle, making wishes and dreams come true, from building stellar start-ups to pushing the craziest products into the market (the Pebble e-paper watch, Dash wireless in-ear headphones, Ouya open-source game console etc.) to funding tuition for higher education and even raising money to travel!
And now NGOs and social causes are looking at crowdfunding too. Non-profits are the original fundraisers, the ones who, even before the advent of crowdfunding, did rely on approaching the public for funds. NGOs have used on-ground events, associations and campaigning and even obsolete methods like door-to-door collections and call-center based fundraising. But, Indian NGOs are still struggling to raise funds. An article OneWorld South Asia notes that The Tsunami Relief fund in India could draw only a meagre Rs.50-100 crores whereas in the UK $1 billion were collected in just 60 days.
Crowdfunding has come as a blessing in disguise to NGOs which not only wanted to raise funds but also wanted to expand their community of donors. Today, multiple platforms in India support NGOs and social causes to help raise funds. And, there are some sure benefits of crowdfunding over regular fundraising.
Widen your reach:
Most of the crowdfunding spaces attract people who have varied interests and empathy for different kinds of causes, this becomes a good way to target those who care about your cause and persuade those who come to the platform looking for other causes. Most sincere donors, donate to the urgency and value of the cause rather than simply depending on likes and interests.
Get a bite of the CSR cookie:
Platforms like Impact Guru also partner with corporates to find suitable NGOs to give their CSR budget too. As a listed NGO on a crowdfunding platform, you get an opportunity to showcase your cause to the corporates and attract donations from their CSR programs. Companies can also start campaigns on your behalf and then match the funds raised with their CSR budget.
Leverage the power of the internet:
According to a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) there are more than 300 million internet users in India and another 50 million will be added by 2017. Imagine reaching out to this audience through a simple click, social media update or tweet! You can leverage your own social media network as well as the platform’s network and media contacts to make your cause viral on the internet.
Easy Online Payments:
The quick online transaction of funds through payment gateways on crowdfunding platforms makes it easier for people to donate from wherever they are and for NGOs to raise funds from audience which may be outside its geographical reach. It also saves you the hassle of collecting checks, cash and DDs and generating receipts, giving you the entire lump sum amount directly.
It’s not just about the money:
Most NGOs approach crowdfunding with a single-minded aim of collecting money, but crowdfunding is more than just that. It’s about raising awareness about your cause and about the kind work your NGO does. Smaller NGOs need this much more than bigger ones that have already established a community. Crowdfunding helps create empathy for a cause, even when people are not donating they are constantly reading about you and your work and are more likely to think of you should they want to donate someday.
Most crowdfunding platforms have a strict vetting process for NGOs and individuals who want to start campaigns. The legitimacy of the cause and the campaigner is ensured in advance which helps build greater trust in the minds of the donor. Most platforms also make sure that they give a clear break-up of where and how the funds will be used, which is a further encouragement for the donors, knowing that their funds will indeed be used productively.
Get volunteers too:
Once you’ve done enough cause marketing through your crowdfunding campaigns, you are sure to get volunteers. Volunteers are easy to get today, but committed volunteers are a catch. With corporates offering fancy salaries, those wanting to work full-time for NGOs are difficult to find. But, with a tailor-made audience that care about your cause on that the platform will attract, you can further persuade them to join your organisation as full time employees/volunteers. Impact Guru allows people to sign up as volunteers on the campaign page itself. Once you have this database, reaching out becomes easier.
Starting a campaign on Impact Guru is free! Login on http://www.impactguru.com to start your campaign and raise funds now.