Can Collective Community Action Lead To Fundraising Success? | Beth's Blog

Can Collective Community Action Lead To Fundraising Success?


In April,  the Knight Foundation and Monitor Institute published a new report called “Connected Citizens” that looks at the impact of networks on communities, and asks, what do these emerging networks mean for community change?

The report was filled with examples, but more and more are coming to life everyday.   And, with resources like “Like Minded” that facilitate the fast sharing of best practices, we’re bound to see more.

Here’s one:

ACTion Alexandria is an online civic engagement initiative with three main goals

  • Create a vibrant online platform that inspires offline action, where challenges are posted, solutions are debated, successes and failures are archived, data is both disseminated and captured, stories are shared, and essential civic relationships developed.
  • Improve the quality of life for our most vulnerable residents in a cost-efficient manner through a platform that provides everyone a voice and the opportunity to identify problems and offer solutions.
  • Engage residents and business people in problem solving to strengthen community ties and increase each individual’s stake in creating positive outcomes for specific community problems.

But, what happens when you pair a connected citizenry with social fundraising?

ACTion Alexandria’s  social fundraising initiative, “Spring2ACTion,” raised $104,156 in donations and matching grants for 47 participating nonprofits.  The effort, held May 5-7 encouraged Alexandria citizens to donate using a variety of Razoo’s social fundraising tools from Facebook and Twitter outreach to emails and website widgets.  (Disclaimer:  Razoo is a Zoetica client)

Social fundraising is the practice of using person to person online media to solicit online donations. In all, 1265 citizens donated to the causes during Spring2ACTion, almost one percent of Alexandria City’s 150,000 person population.  The average donation was $59, and the frequency of donations increased each day of the initiative. Twenty five percent of the donations were $10 gifts.

Does a fundraising campaign simply happen by itself or are there core organizers who help with lift off?  How much collective fundraising is magic or just happens versus having a strong group of organizers behind it?   I’m also curious about the role of Free Agent fundraisers or in this context  “Militant Optimists” what does it take to be successful?

What you think?

4 Responses

  1. […] Nonrofit Blogger Beth Kanter wrote up the story earlier this morning, and said, “In April, the Knight Foundation and Monitor Institute […]

  2. After 35 years in the not-for-profit world, I see an incredible way to spread the message of our mission to many more, at virtually no cost. Thanks for inspiring me to look further into developing a sophisticated ‘social networking’ system.

  3. Tracy Viselli says:

    Thanks so much for highlighting our foray into social fundraising with Razoo! Not only was it a fun collaborative community event, it also highlighted the nonprofits doing life-changing work in Alexandria and helped many of them build online fundraising and social media capacity. But to answer your question, an event like this doesn’t happen without a lot of prep work, training, and outreach. The upside for small organizations is that this is something you can pull off at a very low cost.

  4. Sue Gertrude says:

    It sure can. If fundraising is all about numbers and awareness and enticing people to take action then social media and social fundraising hold great promise.

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