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Why fundraising and Fundly became an important part of my life

26 Mar

About a year ago a crippling disease took away my sons ability to live a normal life.  He is a 3 year-old boy who will never know what it’s like to walk or even breathe without assistance.  Getting this news was heartbreaking, it was life changing and it was eye opening. I was now made brutally aware of how unsafe the world is and how much need for awareness and funds there is in the world.

I saw the many, many disparate causes in the world that didn’t fall under a big enough umbrella to receive enough attention, support or funds. I felt helpless to help any of them, helpless to help my son.  I was powerless to fund research or afford the medical equipment he needed.

I looked and looked and wondered where individual fundraisers, the under $20 million organizations, the communities, the nonprofits that didn’t have deals with major retailers or dozens of staff members could make a difference in this world.

Where was the place for a father trying to raise funds to afford medical equipment for his son?

I’d like to say I found Fundly, but that was my friend.  He set up a campaign and sent it to me.  We thought it was the best option, so we made some edits and activated the campaign, which sent it through our social networks.  Within 24 hours we had $5,000, almost 70% of our goal.  My jaw, along with some tears, dropped.

I discovered that I had a whole community of people, people who cared; people who wanted to help but didn’t know how; people who weren’t aware or just needed to be asked.  Fundly gave me that way to ask and I hadn’t even realized it.  We raised $19,500.

19 people clicked on the “Become a Personal Fundraiser” button on our Fundly page, raising between $100 and $2,500 each.  I never asked a single one of them to do it, nor explain to them how to do it.

Working for Fundly I’ve since learned how we make it easy for people to rally behind a cause in a way that is difficult and cumbersome otherwise.

But before I knew about open graph integration with Facebook. Before I knew that Habitat for Humanity has found huge success with Fundly.  Before I knew all the technical innovations that make Fundly work, I knew that through Fundly I could now afford a wheelchair for my son.

And that is why I believe in Fundly.


Ryan Reed – First CrowdFunded Nascar Driver

11 Feb

“If you haven’t heard of Ryan Reed, get used to the name” – Speed TV

The inspiring Ryan Reed is using Fundly to raise money and awareness for diabetes. Fundly is a proud sponsor of Ryan’s #16 car along with American Diabetes Association and Roush Fenway Racing.

Ryan Reed Fundly Car


Children’s Miracle Network

23 Jan

Children’s Miracle Network visits Fundly HQ and talks about their experiences with Social Fundraising and Fundly

See more at:

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Fundly Spotlight: Reaching Students Across the World with Online Fundraising

10 Sep

With public libraries, Kindles, iPads, mega bookstores, and periodicals all at our disposal, it seems that there never is a shortage of things for us to read. However, many people around the world lack this luxury that many so easily take for granted. That’s why Megan Weill, Peace Corps volunteer, started an online fundraising page using Fundly to help students in Kenya get the library resources that they desperately need to receive a proper education.

Megan is currently working at Shiduha Secondary School in Kakamega, Kenya which has approximately 200 students that come from her community and neighboring communities. Most of her students are very poor and a large number of them cannot even afford to pay their school fees. While this public school receives minimal funding from the Kenyan government to subsidize the small tuition costs, the sparse resources do not provide the money required to build a separate library building to house much needed English books for graduating students to pass their exit exams. With this in mind, Megan decided to set up an online fundraising website, rallying her friends and family in the U.S., to support her vision of building and furnishing a library with the supplies needed to give her students the best opportunity for a successful future.

Through Megan’s Fundly page, she was able to surpass her $10,000 goal (she raised $10,805!) with the help of 35 donors and 35 supporters: “We reached our fundraising goal and started building the library back in April and as of right now we only need to plaster the outside walls, install windows and doors, and paint the building”. She advises, “don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. I’ve found in my experience fundraising that if you are passionate about a cause, people will recognize that and help you out.”

Tips from Megan for other Fundly users:
  • Inspire others to give – “When I was setting up my fundraising page I tried to consider who my audience was and what information they would see as important to have before donating to a cause. I live all the way out in rural Kenya and almost all of the money I raised came from Americans, so I felt that I needed to explain exactly what I was doing in Kenya and why having a library is so important to my school community. When you’re asking people to donate to a cause, you need to explain all aspects of this cause and why you’re passionate about it. This helps them understand why it’s so important to you as well as helps them feel some kind of connection to the project”.
  • Make a donor list – “I started by sending emails out to friends and family, which is who my first donations came from. Then I started sending emails out to various connections I’d made over the years through university and jobs I’d previously held. And some of the people I emailed forwarded my emails to some of their friends and that’s how word began to spread. I also shared on my project on my Facebook two or three times, but I really think that it was my emails that got people interested in my project because they were more personal.”

Fundly News Roundup: Social Media & Peer Support

13 Aug

A recent roundtable discussion with the leaders of some of the most powerful social networking sites in the world revealed some of the many ways non-profits can use social media in their fundraising efforts, and gave clues to the future of philanthropy. Meanwhile, individuals and organizations across the country have been taking action to support their friends and communities – sometimes quite literally. Here’s a roundup of the week’s fundraising news:

Social support

The Fast Company – Recently, business media magazine Fast Company gathered some of the top brass at websites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Zynga to discuss the impact social media has had on non-profit fundraising and philanthropy. Speaking to reporter Farhad Manjoo, Hunter Walk, director of product management at YouTube, said successful social fundraising campaigns have to have three components: “content, community, and a call to action.”

Extra support

BraLaPalooza – A Chicago-based non-profit is using social media to get the word out about an upcoming event. Support1000 is an organization that collects new and gently-used bras to give to social services organizations that help women. The group recently took to Twitter and to spread information about BraLaPalooza, a one-day event on August 25 during which volunteers will sort and ship more than 15,000 bras to organizations around the world.

Support the troops

8-6-11 – Just over a year ago, 31 U.S. soldiers were shot down and killed in Afghanistan. Many of those soldiers were Navy SEALs. Recently, a campaign was started to raise money to help their surviving family members, and to honor their memory.

Honor Flights – On August 7, the Lafayette, Indiana, chapter of the Gold Star Moms held a charity event to raise money for a chartered flight to Washington, D.C., for local World War II veterans. These trips, called Honor Flights, allow these ex-soldiers to visit the nation’s capital and view the recently erected WWII monument. A flight scheduled for September already has 84 veterans signed up, and an October flight is more than half full, according to The Journal & Courier.

Child support

Zumbathon – A recent tragedy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, left three children orphaned. To help raise money to support them, their grandmother held a charity event on August 4 during which more than 200 attendees worked out to the popular dance-based exercise, Zumba.

Robert’s Frozen Custard – Another trio of orphans from Germantown, Wisconsin, were the beneficiaries of a supportive community recently when local merchant Darren Stamm announced he would give 100 percent of the profits from his Robert’s Frozen Custard Shop on July 31 to the youngsters. Hundreds of people lined up for this event, according to local Fox affiliate WITI. It was the first of three planned for the kids. The second took place August 11 at Fat Charlie’s Restaurant in Richfield, Wisconsin.

Life support

The Fleisher Foundation – An organization dedicated to heart health recently completed its fundraising goal through The Fleisher Foundation announced this week it has raised more than its $10,000 goal in a campaign to promote CPR training and combat sudden cardiac arrest. The money was raised as part of the foundation’s annual 10k Mud Run, during which participants take to the Marine obstacle course at Camp Pendleton.

Healing Hands – A fundraiser was held recently in Bristol, Virginia, to benefit the Healing Hands Health Clinic, which provides healthcare to low-income members of the community who can’t afford insurance. Donors shared their personal experiences with the organization during the Cirque de Soleil-themed party and helped raise $100,000 to support the healthcare provider, according to the Bristol Herald Courier.

Fundly News Roundup: Individuals, Organizations, & Social Justice

3 Aug
Caption: Across the country, people have been collecting money for a variety of causes. Here’s a roundup of the week’s news.Alternate Text: Across the country, people have been collecting money for a variety of causes. Here’s a roundup of the week’s news.
Issue Codes
Social Fundraising

In the wake of a tragic shooting, survivors and supporters are banding together to raise money to help victims and their families. Meanwhile, individuals and organizations around the world have been kicking off campaigns to bring social justice, spirituality and strength to those in need. Here’s a roundup of the week’s fundraising news.

Fundraisers for Aurora

Aurora, Colorado – On July 20, a shooting took place in a crowded movie theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora, leaving 13 dead and dozens more injured. In response, the families of victims, along with members of the local community, have initiated several fundraising efforts to help cover the cost of treating those who were wounded. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has been working together with one charitable organization to organize a text message-driven fundraiser in support of the Aurora Victim Relief Fund. So far, they have raised more than $200,000, according to the organization.

… And justice for all

Make-A-Stand – After learning about child slavery on a trip to California with her family, 8-year-old Vivienne Harr decided to help put a stop to it. To achieve her goal, Vivienne has built a lemonade stand and intends to use it to raise $150,000. She has also started a fundraising page so anyone can support her campaign by buying a virtual cup of lemonade. The pre-adolescent abolitionist is also enlisting the support of her fellow kids in starting their own lemonade stands for charity.

Badass Brooklyn – Another dedicated group of individuals has started a campaign to liberate a group of oppressed prisoners – but these captives are of the canine variety. Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue finds dogs in high-kill animal shelters in the South, buys them, vaccinates, spays or neuters them, and finds them a home with a caring family in the New York borough of Brooklyn. Every “Badass Friday,” the group asks followers to donate $5 – roughly the cost of a beer or coffee.

A higher calling

Shoreline Church – On September 16, the Shoreline Church in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, will open its doors and give its first service. Until then, the church organizers are attempting to raise $30,000 during the month of August through The “30.30” campaign – $30,000 in 30 days – is raising money to help cover the cost of everything from a sound system to the toys in the children’s area.

Healthy initiatives

Golf to Conquer Cancer – Across the border in Canada, thousands of golfers are gearing up for what is being billed as the “world’s largest golf fundraising event ever.” During the one-day, nationwide Canadian event, slated for next summer, golfers will band together in teams of four and swing their clubs for charity. Proceeds will go to a variety of cancer research centers in each province.

A World Without Cancer – Back home, socialites in California’s Silicon Valley will gather together at the Third Annual World Without Cancer gala on August 24. Hosted by the American Cancer Society, the black-and-white ball will feature silent auctions, live music and gourmet dining for $175 per ticket.

Old-school social fundraising

Henderson County Education Foundation – An old-school form of social fundraising is alive and well in Henderson County, North Carolina. The HCEF on August 5 hosted an ice cream social fundraiser and membership drive. Membership fees support the education foundation’s operation costs and help fund other events, including a Fall Golf Classic and a barbecue expo, according to The Times-News.

Fundly Spotlight: Donors Get On Board to Support BioBus

2 Aug

The best part of science class has always been the hands-on activities and experimentation – learning how and why things explode or creating your very own volcano. What kid doesn’t like to explore  and discover the world around them? Unfortunately, not every kid has the opportunity to experiment with hands-on science education.

Enter the BioBus! Based in New York City, this Cell Motion BioBus is a science lab on wheels that runs on vegetable oil, with several donated microscopes onboard can be powered entirely by solar and wind energy. Retrofitted with four solar panels, a wind turbine, and a green roof, the BioBus’ goal is to make science accessible to all. This mobile lab reaches over 10,000 students a year, traveling to public schools across New York City and the country.

Li Murphy is a summer intern for this incredible nonprofit mobile laboratory. With the summer coming to a close, Li’s passion for the BioBus, and how it’s driving science education to communities that lack hands-on resources, stimulated her interest in joining the Mobile Lab Coalition conference in Seattle, WA – the only meeting of this kind in the country. There was only one problem: money. “I needed to fund my own flight and seize an invitation to join in representing the BioBus at the Mobile Lab Coalition. Without Fundly, I wouldn’t have had the guts to ask for the money I needed.”

Li decided the best way to raise the funds to make her trip a reality would be creating an online fundraising page with Fundly. In just five days, Li was able to raise $1,005 ($5 over the goal) in gifts from friends, family, and others.

What tips would Li give to other Fundly users?

  • Paint a clear picture. “I made sure to convey that givers would be contributing to something concrete. I needed money for a flight. Why did I need to fly? To be the best intern I could be for my nonprofit organization. How did I intend to be the best intern I could be? Use my training as a videographer to take footage of the incredible things that my coworkers contributed at the Mobile Lab Coalition Conference. I included some informational Youtube videos about the nonprofit organization and made sure to put a picture of my face with the BioBus in the background.”
  • Cast a large net. “I sent a total of fifteen individual emails, posted the link three times to my Facebook wall, and I sent emails to three different mailing lists from my University student organizations. I got incredible returns and had twenty donors in the span of three days. My largest donation was secured via Facebook in the final hours before I had to purchase a plane ticket, all thanks to the flood of likes from high school friends and random acquaintances alike. I believe my page got forty-three likes in forty-eight hours. This drove my post up in the newsfeed and brought it to the attention of the person, my athletic trainer, who ended up carrying me over the edge to my goal. My campaign was over in five days.”
  • Just because they gave once doesn’t mean they won’t give again. “The most important point is to send and connect to people who have backed you in the past, even just folks who gave you money for graduation. It’s a myth that the individuals who fund you once are done giving to you. In fact, it’s just the opposite, as Andrea Kihlstedt, the founder of, would say. If you connect with your donors and get them excited about what you do, they’ll be your donors for life.”
  • Say thanks ASAP. “Reach out immediately after the gifts are given using the great donor contact sheet that Fundly generates for you to thank and inform your donors about progress. This will spark uplifting correspondences with individuals who care enough about you to believe in your cause, and these positive messages will keep you trucking towards your goal. This type of fundraising with Fundly facilitates a wonderful opportunity to not only connect but to reconnect.”