“Crowdfunding” for the Mission?

by | Aug 7, 2014 | Formation, Missions inter gentes, Social Media, Vincentian Family | 2 comments

vincent_fundriaierFundraising for the mission is a constant preoccupation of missionaries and Vincentian Family leaders. The Congregation of the Mission has its own initiatives, including the Vincentian Solidarity Office, as do many of the Vincentian Family branches. Missions like the Vincentian Bolivian Altiplano Mission have extensive fundraising efforts in place. Recently, to help restore the church in one of the parishes they serve, they mounted a crowdfunding campaign with Kickstarter. Take a look at what they’re doing.

Let’s look at the landscape, and the role of crowdfunding in an overall fundraising strategy.

Fundraising happens when an institution has a “culture of philanthropy. This list is adapted from an article by Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels of the Veritus Group.

— Every new missionary or superior is educated on the role the donor plays in the mission.
— All staff meetings have discussions about donors.
— Missionaries understand they will work to meet, interact with and ask donors for gifts.
— Leadership will work in the program to understand exactly what it is they do — This means getting your hands dirty and stepping into the shoes of those who do the work you are trying to raise money for.
— Over half of the leaders’s time is devoted to cultivating donors, either onsite or wherever the donor is.
— All team members are required to spend time working in fundraising — This allows each team member to truly understand what is going on inside the mission and how critical he or she is to its success.
— The organization creates multiple opportunities for leaders, missionaries and donors to engage together during the year, either in person or through digital means.
— Communication is open (there are not, in any mission, “my donors” and “your donors.”

So, then, what is crowdfunding about? Simply put it’s a targeted/project-based method to expand your donor base. But you need to have a sound overall fundraising strategy in place.

“Many non-profits that find out about crowd-funding websites get very excited and make the mistake of thinking that these sites are magical cures for all of their revenue woes. Crowd-funding sites can be a huge help, but they are not a fundraising panacea.” (J. Garecht). Crowdfunding can “jumpstart” a project, or fill gaps in existing projects that haven’t, for one reason or another, attracted donors. But it will never replace a developed strategy that includes individual donors, foundations and major gift components. For crowdfunding, Joe Garecht of The Fundraising Authority points to several options:

“Some of these sites, like Fundraise.com, CauseVox and Fundly were set up specifically to help non-profits raise money to support their causes. Others, like Kickstarter and indiegogo, aren’t non-profit specific but have been used by charities to raise money to support their mission.’

Take a look at his article for more info on crowdfunding for non-profits.

Think big. Think long-range. Include crowdfunding, but only as a small part of your overall efforts!

2 Comments

  1. frmilesh

    Aidan has pulled some great thinking together here. I very much support the “Culture of Philanthropy” that was adapted from the article by Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels of the Veritus Group. The focus is mission and fund raising is an invitation to get involved. People come to love what you do and then they want to support it even more. But the major dynamic is one of building trust: trust in your vision and trust in your implementation. This calls for rigorous reporting that shows the impact of the dollars spent and celebrates the changes that are made in peoples’ lives. And let me tell you, Aidan is a good example of what he writes about!!!

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