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Meeting (Potential Donors) Where They Are: Online

For its most recent campaign in June, the 1:1 Fund made the move to a new online fundraising platform called Classy. This crowdfunding tool allows its users to collaboratively raise money in peer-to-peer campaigns, during which organizations and supporters raise money for one cause using their own networks. Through a platform like Classy, individuals and organizations can create unique fundraising pages to call for donations among their own friends and colleagues. This has allowed the 1:1 Fund and its partners to reach beyond their own networks into their supporters’ networks.

While social media becomes more and more integrated into people’s lives and relationships, crowdfunding platforms have proven to be a critical tool for sharing information and gaining support. Crowdfunding through social media is a way to raise money through both the organization’s connections and their supporters’ connections. By taking advantage of the Classy platform, the 1:1 Fund is adapting the way it engages supporters online. If supporters simply want to donate, they can — but if they want to take on a more active role, individuals and groups can build their own pages and fundraise for a cause they are passionate about. By making these campaigns more participatory, we’re also making them more effective, as highly engaged donors are more likely to donate more — and more often — to the causes they care about the most.

Take crowdfunding platform MobileCause as an example. MobileCause found that individual fundraisers contributing to a campaign will raise and average of $568 in donations from an average of eight donors who might not have given in the absence of the platform. This is especially important as we work to engage millennials, a particularly important demographic in these campaigns. Because 90% of young adults (18-29) use social media, and members of this generation are especially likely to participate in nonprofit fundraisers, tapping into these donors by meeting them where they are is essential. MobileCause’s study found that 71% of Millennials have fundraised for a nonprofit. Furthermore, 62% of donors reached through crowdfunding are new, meaning online, peer-focused donor engagement platforms are incredibly important for garnering donations and expanding reach.

As an industry, crowdfunding has experienced immense growth over the last few years. In 2015, crowdfunding in North America grew by 82%, and the total global industry’s worth rose past $34 billion. Rewards and donations, including nonprofit donation campaigns, make up $5.5 billion of this worldwide total. This rapid growth is expected to continue, and nonprofits are sure to benefit from easier transactions and wider reach to generate support for their causes. By participating early on in this growing industry, efforts like the 1:1 Fund can keep up with innovations and constantly improve their campaigns.

When it comes to our quest to make kids’ college dreams a reality, we’ve already seen promising results. The 1:1 Fund experienced its second-most successful campaign after we switched to Classy, and the feedback from our children’s savings partners has been overwhelmingly positive. We will continue to use crowdfunding in our upcoming back-to-school campaign in September, with the goal of getting our supporters more engaged than ever before. Using peer-to-peer fundraising has helped the 1:1 Fund enhance public engagement, widen our networks and adapt social technology innovations to expand the reach of children’s savings. We look forward to sharing with you just how far these moves can help the children’s savings movement grow!