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Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits Online Fundraising Panel

6 Mar


In this 5 minute presentation, Fundly’s VP, Marketing Tom Kramer explains how CrowdFunding / Social Fundraising delivers more than just money to non-profits. It delivers Awareness and New Donors.

This presentation provides a quick overview on the marketing funnel and how CrowdFunding / Social Fundraising impacts the funnel to increase donations, reach new donors, and create awareness for a cause.

Presentation was delivered March 4th at Panel Discussion co-hosted by the Silicon Valley Council of Non-Profits  and Hands on Tech Silicon Valley


Children’s Miracle Network Talks About Social Fundraising

12 Feb

Craig Sorensen from Children’s Miracle Network talks innovation in Social Fundraising talking about:

  • Who is Children’s Miracle Network (0:02 sec)
  • How has the internet changed giving (0:54 sec)
  • Working with Fundly (1:56 sec)

Is a Picture Really Worth a 1,000 Words?

29 Aug

We’ve all heard the saying “a picture is worth 1,000 words” and even on the computer screen this holds true. I am often times guilty of judging a book by its cover and a webpage by its graphics. With the fast-paced nature of the internet, it is important to ensure that visitors are drawn in to your page through visuals as well as calls to action. Here are some ideas to visually intrigue your page’s visitors to keep them from moving on to the next webpage:

1)      Infographics are eye-catching (and cool) – I found this great infographic on, which serves as a perfect example of the unique power of this type of visual. Sometimes simple bullet points can be too lengthy to hold a reader’s attention, but a stimulating graphic can support your point and pique the interest of the reader in just a few seconds. Consider generating an infographic to spice up a chart that shows an increase in the number of clients you are helping, a timeline of events that have helped you to reach your goal, or an Indiana Jones-style map plotting the route of your journey.

At Fundly, we’ve created fundraising pages that take the appeal of infographics into account, including a graphic at the top of the screen displaying the percentage of money raised, a thermometer to gauge this success, and how many donors/supporters your campaign has. Most people are highly visual and move through websites at the speed of light, the quicker you can convey your message, the better.

2)      Take advantage of your space – I’ve browsed through hundreds of nonprofit websites and blogs and the ones that catch my eye make full use of the screen. If there is a lot of empty space, minimal text, or sparse graphics, I tend to think it looks amateurish and bland. This doesn’t mean that your website needs to be flashy, gaudy, or overdone – just as every news story needs a captivating hook, so does your webpage need visual interest.

The Kentucky Rescue and Restore homepage is a great example of creative use of a space. There is something about the color scheme, haunting pictures, and simple headlines that grab the visitor’s attention. It is artistic in its photography, yet poignant in its message.

3)      Evoke emotion – I’ve mentioned this a few times before, but your website is a reflection of your nonprofit’s image and personality. It is important to keep your audience in mind and play to what will attract them to your page. When choosing images and graphics to tell your organization’s story, be sure to ask yourself, “what do I want my website’s visitors to feel?”.

On top of sharing compelling images of organizational need and impact, continue the story by showing the faces behind your organization. There is something genuine and sincere that donors find relatable about the people working to carry out a mission, which cannot be duplicated by simple bios.

4) It’s all about the content – This point may seem out of place, but your website really is all about the content. Yes, you need pictures and graphics to capture the attention of your audience and draw them in, but it’s the content that is going to hold the reader and invoke a passion. Too many bells and whistles can distract from the ease of use, and drawn out text can make it too difficult to decipher what is most important about your organization.

A great way to gain a little inspiration is to check out how top nonprofits are designing their websites and take a few tips from what they have displayed. Revisit your site with fresh eyes and see how yours measures up.

I just met you, and this is crazy, but I’m here to fundraise, so donate maybe?

31 Jul

While Carly Rae Jepsen’s catchy pop song has given hope that “Call Me Maybe” is enough to jump-start any relationship, we all know that meaningful relationships require a bit more effort. The relationship between fundraiser and donor is no different.

We’ve all been there before: walking down the street or out of the grocery store, when we come across someone hovering with a clipboard or sitting at a card table. We lower our head for fear of making eye contact, fake checking our watch for the time, or busily grab our phone to seem distracted and uninterested. However, we can feel the eyes of the solicitor stalking us like a lion to a zebra on the Serengeti.

“Hey! Let’s save the whales today! Get over here and talk to me!” they call out. We know that they are addressing us, but we pretend to be bewildered and “assume” that they are talking to the non-existent person behind us.

“Oh, you’re too good to talk to me! Whatever man!!” they taunt using guilt, the oldest manipulative trick in the book. A battle wars in our psyche that makes us want to shout back: “Seriously?!! That is how you reflect your organization? That’s not going to get me to open my wallet for you, Buster!”

Here’s the bottom line: this type of fundraising rarely works and is generally going to come off as more annoying than a sincere call to action. The 5 minutes of attempting to coerce shoppers into a relationship with your organization is hardly enough to give them information about your cause, let alone convince them to donate. Unless you’re standing by a red Salvation Army bucket ringing a bell during Christmas time, you’re not going to get more than a few dollars. The Salvation Army has established a long history and reputation in holiday giving, a random organization asking for donations the other 11 months out of the year in this manner will rarely be effective.

For less time, effort, rejection, and manpower, online fundraising can give you much better results. A busy storefront may have 50 passersby an hour, but the average Facebook account has 130 friends. Though not all Facebook users check their accounts daily, you still can reach 50 people with just a minute’s worth of time. Furthermore, you can add a link to your website, add a fundraising page, and have your donors share their donation with their social networks. It gives your organization credibility and makes the donor feel more secure about donating, while encouraging them to develop a continued and invested relationship with your cause.

Investing in and following up with donor relationships is extremely important. While you may get a dollar thrown your way through face-to-face solicitations, online fundraising allows you to retrieve information about your donor including their region and e-mail address, and encourages them to take part in promotion on social networking sites. This allows you to give a proper thank you, they can write their contribution off as a tax deductible donation, and you have the ability to send out future requests for upcoming campaigns. What started off as “donate, maybe”  has the potential to become an ongoing relationship.

One argument for making an ask on the street is that people can actually meet members of your charity in person. However, how many people actually stop and talk to the people manning the clipboard? They are few and far between. A better way could be to post a video interview or tour on your website or fundraising page for potential supporters to take in the heart of your vision, while giving a face to your cause.

So the next time you exit the grocery store and someone tries to ask you for a dollar simply smile, compliment their efforts, and offer them a little insight into the world of online fundraising.

Fundly News Roundup: Global Giving

27 Jul

This week, a social fundraising campaign that captured the attention of the world came to its conclusion, while other initiatives around the country have only just begun. New technological developments could fundamentally change the way people donate to charities and events, and one philanthropic billionaire used his social connections to bring unprecedented levels of charitable giving to global outreach organizations. Here’s a roundup of the week’s events:

Bus monitor campaign just the start

Karen Klein campaign closes – An online fundraising initiative to benefit bullied bus monitor Karen Kline came to a close this week, netting a grand total of $703,833. A video of Kline being taunted by some of the children she was hired to protect went viral, eliciting an outpouring of support from people in 84 countries and all 50 states, according to the Christian Science Monitor. The fundraiser’s organizers are planning to launch a new social fundraising project that aims to raise $7 million to support anti-bullying campaigns.

Fundraising not child’s play, but benefits sick kids

Jack’s FUNraising Page – A social fundraising campaign benefiting children with rare diseases is inching closer to its $20,000 goal. Nine-year-old Jack Pullman from Worcester, Massachusetts, who was diagnosed with a number of interstitial lung diseases, started a fundraiser on to raise money to buy video games, board games, and other toys for the kids at the UMass Pediatric Infusion Unit. With $16,623, he’s more than three-fourths of the way toward his goal.

SeriousFun Children’s Network – Halfway across the country in Michigan, the SeriousFun Children’s Network is also hard at work raising money to benefit sick youngsters. This week, the organization hosted its “Night of Serious Fun” fundraising event, with the proceeds going toward opening a new camp that will serve hundreds of sick children in the state. The site, North Star Reach, will be open year round and feature a state-of-the-art medical center, according to the Observer & Eccentric.

Food and funds

An Lac Mission – A group of Buddhist monks in Ventura, California, will be hosting a fundraising party featuring a wide variety of vegetarian Vietnamese and Sri Lankan food. The event is designed to raise money to repair and renovate the monks’ temple, according to the Ventura County Star.

Taste of Camarillo – The monks aren’t the only Southern California group using food to raise funds, according to the Star. The Meadowlark Service League on July 29 hosted its 25th annual Taste of Camarillo fundraiser to help raise $150,000 for local charities. The event featured food from local vendors in Camarillo, California, as well as music from local groups.

Fundraising to stem the tide

Hamburg, Iowa – Residents of the small farming community of Hamburg, Iowa, recently banded together in an online fundraising effort to bring in $5.6 million to fix the town’s levees in preparation for flood season. According to The Wall Street Journal, last year’s heavy snows led to record-breaking floods, which overran the town’s levees, causing serious damage to farms and businesses. Residents are reaching out to potential supporters through social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.

Raising money on the move

Twentyseven Global – Recently, mobile application development firm Twentyseven Global announced that it had created an app to help facilitate social fundraising efforts. As social fundraising gains popularity, non-profit groups may start utilizing mobile technology to help bring in funds. offers a Facebook-based app to help users recruit supporters, post messages and process contributions within Facebook.

Buffet’s buddies demonstrate power of social fundraising

The Giving Pledge – Billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffet has used his social connections to enlist the support of 81 of his billionaire friends to donate about half their wealth to charity, according to Forbes. The source pointed to statistics that show people are 200 times more likely to give to a cause if asked by a friend.

Fundraising News Roundup: Online Fundraising & the Ripple Effect

20 Jul
Fundraising campaigns engineered by kids and for kids hit the news this week, along with other individuals raising money through social fundraising.

Non-profit organizations aren’t the only groups taking advantage of the benefits of social fundraising. Individuals and communities have been finding success with this kind of fundraising as well.

This week, news emerged about a campaign to benefit kids in New York, and campaigns undertaken by children in Massachusetts and Washington. Across the pond, a new study came out showing the powerful ripple effect of big-dollar donations. Here’s a roundup of the most recent events in fundraising.

Cyril van der Haegen – The friends and colleagues of Rhode Island-based illustrator and conceptual artist Cyril van der Haegen have launched a fundraising campaign on to raise money to pay for his cancer treatments. In addition to soliciting online donations from friends and family across a variety of social media outlets, Haegen’s many artist friends donated original works to an auction that was held at Comic Con in San Diego from July 11 to 15.

The Commune Cares – After his insurance company rejected payments for end-of-life treatments, the friends of Wash Pratt-King banded together to raise money to help him and his wife, Tashi, through their difficult time. At just 23 years old, Wash was diagnosed with a deadly brain tumor. Now 25, the money raised through his friends’ Fundly campaign is going to defray the cost of his medical bills and day-to-day living expenses. Friends were so successful in their efforts, they have doubled the goal from $10,000 to $20,000.

Stepping Stones Learning Center – This organization provides care and education for children both with and without special needs in Rochester, New York, and set an ambitious fundraising goal of $350,000 to purchase a new facility and expand its space. The group has so far raised $155,000, and Stepping Stone leaders are optimistic that a Monte Carlo night and an annual 5k run/1k walk in August will bring in even more money.

The Pathway Home – Another group with an ambitious goal is well on its way to reaching it. The Pathway Home has so far raised more than $256,000 of its $600,000 target on, and with a deadline of September 30, it appears well positioned to achieve its goal. The non-profit residential treatment group is dedicated to serving veterans who received traumatic injuries, including amputations, PTSD and brain injuries.

Driving Mrs. M – Amputations aren’t limited to veterans, however. Recently, a third-grade teacher in Massachusetts, Anne Mekalian, lost both arms and legs to a blood infection contracted while in the hospital. Her students, moved by the plight of their teacher, embarked on a crowdsourcing fundraising campaign to help with her treatment and recovery. In addition to the online campaign, students set up lemonade stands across the town to raise money.

Good Cheer Food Bank – A food bank on Whidbey Island in Washington is getting a boost from a young local, according to reports from the Whidbey Examiner. JaNoah Spratt, 12, has been collecting money for the Good Cheer Food Bank in the town of Langley since the age of 7, and has so far raised more than $20,000 by soliciting matching donations from local businesses, enlisting his friends to help raise money and, in his latest venture, writing a book about community involvement.

Peer Effect Research – A new study from researchers at the University of Bristol in England has illustrated the “peer effect” of social fundraising. The researchers found that large donations tend to increase the size of subsequent donations. In their example, researchers said that a single “donation of £100 typically shifts average donations from £20 to £30,” and the effect lasts for roughly 20 subsequent donations, according to

Event Fundraising Using Social Media Part III

17 May

In this final installment of this series which focuses on utilizing social media networks to create successful fundraisers, I thought I’d include practical tips that are easily incorporated into your planning strategies. Every nonprofit that I know of seems to have more tasks to address than time, finances, and manpower can complete. Fortunately, social media and web usage can eliminate these obstacles.

Facebook is great because it connects friends of like interests. Are you coordinating a food and wine tasting event, a garden tour, or another fundraiser that is based on a specific theme? Post it on Facebook and have your donors “Like” it. This one small click of the mouse will then share your link your donor’s social network(s), therefore advertising it to many who may have a similar interest. The most important aspect of social media platforms is to get people talking and sharing how great your organization is and that your fundraiser is not to be missed. An invitation can get lost in a pile of junk mail, but encouragement from a friend can bring great results.

Many people neglect to give to organizations because they don’t know what the specific needs are. Create a tab on your website or list on your fundraising page citing different ways that supporters can contribute to your cause. You may need volunteers to usher at a concert, business owners could donate a gift basket for a raffle, or possibly a printer would be willing to donate product to your event in exchange for advertising.

Take advantage of free advertising on social media! Do you have a Facebook timeline yet? Before someone gives to your cause or takes the time to attend an event, they’ll probably check out your nonprofit online. There are hundreds of great charities vying for everyone’s time and money, why should people take the time to care about your nonprofit? A Facebook timeline is a great way to map out what accomplishments you have, what projects you are working on, what past events look like, and it can list comments of what your donors think of your organization. The cover photo is an amazing opportunity to showcase a photo to inspire, intrigue, and impress.

Events are a fun way to meet and greet donors while laying the foundation for a strong partnership. Online resources can get them there and help you organize a fantastic event. May you have future success in your event fundraising activities!