In The Networked Nonprofit, the authors discuss the need to engage networks for a cause. You can engage your network of close and not-so-close connections can be engaged for something near and dear to you. And, in turn, the organizations you support need to encourage and get comfortable with this!
For a few years in a row, I’ve fundraised for Engineers without Borders Canada using a peer-to-peer fundraising platform. In both instances, my network saw the time that I had committed to the organization and learned a bit more about what EWB does. I received donations from close family, friends, and co-workers. What really surprised me was how people I barely knew donated! My dad sent off my e-mail to family around the world, telling them that I was working in Zambia. These were close connections of his, but people who I had either never met or met as a small child. Yet, they were sending donations!
What does this mean for organizations? Whenever I’ve fundraised for EWB, I’ve pretty much had “free reign” over what I communicated to my network in order to gain their support. This can be scary for organizations! What is something is mis-quoted or inaccurate? Well, the best way to deal is to manage the risk. EWB provided volunteers with a fundraising platform as well as “canned” messages to use and some tips (e.g. personalizing your page) to enhance your campaign. Giving volunteers the freedom over their campaigns allows them to spend as much or as little time on it.
Have you fundraised for an organization? Why? What was your experience like?