When you think of supporting a charity, what do you think of? A: Putting money in a collection bucket (real or virtual), B: Setting up a recurring monthly donation or C: Volunteering?
They’re all great options, but according to Jannie Smith of global non-profit crowdfunding platform GivenGain, all three of them pale in comparison to personal fundraising in terms of impact.
“To put some numbers on it, the average donor on GivenGain gives R375 to a fundraiser or charity. The average fundraiser raises R7 500. That’s 20 times the impact you can have, without being out of pocket for any more.”
The most successful fundraisers raise even more. Earlier this year, Wim de Villiers, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University, raised R34,250 to support students in financial hardship. The challenge he set himself to inspire donations was to ride in the Cape Town Cycle Tour.
What makes fundraisers so effective, and how can you use it to your favourite cause’s best advantage?
Power up your philanthropy
“The single biggest myth about fundraising is that it’s difficult,” says Smith. “People think ‘oh, I couldn’t do that, leave it to the celebrities and sports’ stars’. But it’s really very easy to leverage one’s networks and set yourself any fun challenge, and with all the fundraising and social media and communications tools out there, fundraisers quickly discover it’s easy and a lot of fun to make a difference without donating.”
There are four things that make online fundraising incredibly powerful for everyone: first off, you’re connected to tons of people on social media and in real life. Secondly, with online fundraising, they can support your campaign from wherever they are. Thirdly, you’re known and trusted by (many of) them. And finally, they like to see you succeed.
- How many family members, friends, co-workers and acquaintances have you added on social media? How many are in your e-mail autofill or on WhatsApp? These are the people you can reach out to for donations, and with an online fundraising page, it’s as simple as sharing a link.
- We live in an increasingly connected world, and many of us have friends and family abroad. When you host your fundraising project on a borderless online fundraising platform, they can donate as easily as if they lived next door. Donations in hard foreign currencies like US dollars, Euros or pounds sterling are also hugely valuable to South African charities.
- Some charities are lucky enough to be household names, but smaller non-profits find it harder without name recognition. Let’s face it, people aren’t going to respond to (or even see) their posts and ads. But when a friend shares a charity with you, you’re more likely to trust that they’re legitimate and have a personal connection with them.
- When you share a fundraising project, your friends and family may (or may not) donate themselves. But either way, they are much more likely to reshare a personal appeal from you than a mass-produced advert from a charity – and they have whole networks of their own too!
Start making a difference
So how do you set up your first fundraising project and start making a difference?
Raising thousands of rands for charity starts with creating an online fundraising project on your preferred fundraising platform. Make it yours with an appeal from the heart, add some pictures or video, and share the link with your network using every channel you have. Then, most importantly, keep sharing it regularly until you hit your goal!
Many fundraisers take part in massive fundraising events like the Cape Town Cycle Tour, where fundraisers on GivenGain raised over R860 000 in March. But for non-athletes, there’s so much more you can do to attract supporters for your favourite charity.
“During the COVID-19 lockdowns I did a fundraising project of my own to raise money for Stellenbosch Voedingsaksie,” says Smith. “I couldn’t take part in any big events because obviously they were all cancelled due to the pandemic, so instead I went for a 3km walk every single day for three months.”
And Smith’s walks are far from the wildest fundraising idea that the GivenGain team have seen. Fundraisers have supported their favourite charities by shaving their heads, making art, or even drinking beer.
If the idea of fundraising still sounds daunting, why not link up with friends as part of a fundraising team? Some of South Africa’s biggest charities have the support of dedicated fundraising groups, like The Cows, who take part in events across South Africa in cow-print sports gear to raise money for CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA. To start your free fundraising project for a charity anywhere in the world, visit https://www.givengain.com/join/