Where is the ‘Social’ in Social Fundraising?

5 Feb

By Dave Boyce – CEO, Fundly

We talk a lot about Amateur Volunteer Fundraisers (AVFs).  AVFs are the cornerstone to any successful social fundraising campaign.  But where do they come from?  You’ll often hear things like:  “Every donor a fundraiser,” and “convert your donors to fundraisers.”  These statements are misleading.

You may also hear things like, “crowdfunding is growing to $500B,” or “you can crowdfund anything,” or “crowdfunding is lightning in a bottle.”  So that may lead you to believe that if you launch a crowdfunding page, supporters and money will start pouring in.

If that were true, why do less than half of the crowdfunding campaigns on the major platforms like Fundly and Kickstarter succeed in reaching their goals?

Here’s the dirty little secret.  Social is NOT the answer.

Well…. it’s not the whole answer.

A Fundly-style crowdfunding campaign starts with AVFs.  These are people who are willing to raise money for you.  That’s hard and scary.  But these AVFs have signed up to something hard and scary–raise money for you.  They will pour their personal network and their blood / sweat / tears and their reputation into this and ask their friends for money.  It’s a big ask to get someone to sign up to be an AVF, and you will not be successful asking them to do that just based on them having donated to your cause.

“Hey, thanks for your $100, now would you like to shake down your friends for their $100?”

That doesn’t work.  We’ve tried it.

So where do you find AVFs?  AVFs are people with deep, personal connections to your organization or cause.  AVFs are board members who are committed to your success, committee members who are actively working on your cause, volunteers whose lives have been changed and shaped by the work you are doing, survivors or alumni who have benefitted from your services…  AVFs are people with deep, personal connection.  Or…. AVFs are people you can sign up based on a team or event model.  Corporations will sometimes commit to raise money for a cause.  Or churches.  Or sororities / fraternities.  If you tap into one of these service organizations you can also find active AVFs.

But the truth is, you are not going to find AVFs through social media.  It’s too big of a commitment.  Social media can’t secure that big of a commitment in a meaningful way.  You will have to make phone calls, have meetings, send email.  Recruiting AVFs is hand-to-hand combat.

“What’s so social about that?”
“So where’s the ‘social’ in social fundraising?”

Ah…. now we’re getting to the crux of it.  Once you have AVFs, the social begins.  Think about how you are going to make these alumni, board members, committee members, volunteers, etc. successful at fundraising?

Short answer:  Fundly
Longer answer:  social media.

Each of these AVFs has a personal network of 300+ people on average.  They keep track of this personal network in multiple places.  Their close circles are on their mobile phone and in their email address book.  Their professional contacts are on LinkedIn.  Their extended networks are on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Quora, Tumblr, etc.

Fundly makes it easy for the AVF to connect all the sources of their personal network to their fundraising campaign, so they can reach out to the people who are most likely to give.  FINALLY a productive use for social networks other than growing virtual crops or online gambling.  40% of the traffic to Fundly is referred by posts people have made to Facebook.  It turns out when you have a passionate AVF who is raising money for your cause, their friends will pay attention and support them.  They will click through on a Facebook post from a friend, even when they would not click through on a Facebook post made by you.  Sorry–that’s just the way it works.  🙂

So that’s the answer.  The ‘social’ in social fundraising comes into play after the AVF is recruited and activated, and she goes out to round up her personal network to support her in doing something she cares about.

You get the AVFs through hand-to-hand combat; they get you donations using their social networks.

Secret unveiled.  It’s worked for 30,000 campaigns raising $300M on Fundly to date, and it can work for you.

As always, if you have any comments or questions, feel free to email me at:

Rock on!

Want more?    http://awesome.fundly.com/blog-case-study


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