Support Your Passion Project: 4 Fundraising Angles

Posted by on Mar 26, 2014 in Blog | Comments Off

Raising money for a personal project is seldom a walk in the park. But with corporate social responsibility in vogue and the Internet leveling the communications playing field, there’s never been a better time to give funding your passion project a shot. Here are four solid ways to approach the task:

Go for a grant

Grants and contests are opportunities to raise money for your project, but also to gain recognition and make more impressions.

Cora from Berkeley, California, builds community gardens where local kids can joyously plant, grow, and harvest food. Danielle from Lewiston, Maine, custom-paints canvas shoes and creates wearable artwork that can be appreciated every day. In Peoria, Illinois, Mark documents the strength, confidence, and empowerment that women gain from roller derby. All of them were winners of the 2013 American Express #PassionProject, a contest that gave away a total of $20,000 a month to ten “makers, creators and mold breakers who dream, dare and do.”

In addition to entering contests to win funding, you can host your own fundraising contest to create social awareness and solicit donations. For example, Votdo is a fundraising contest platform that incorporates a “vote by donation” feature for raising funds through voting contests. If traditional funding is more your style, Scholastic.com offers these tips for writing grant proposals:

  • Identify the needs of your project
  • Contact organizations and employers for support
  • Research winning proposals to use as a model
  • Personalize your proposal and ask for the funder’s guidelines
  • Express long-term goals and objectives
  • Be passionate!

Make your virtual home

Your fundraiser needs somewhere to live, an informative home where donors can go to learn about your story, ambitions, and, of course, make donations. Although you can build your own fundraising website or blog, you can also join an existing online fundraising platform and benefit from the site’s built-in features. Crowdrise raises money for charities by providing an online fundraising page that you personalize with photos and videos. FundRazr will engage your supporters by sharing your campaign on social networking sites, blogs, and email. Explore more online fundraising opportunities with Razoo, Fundly, CauseVox, and Fundraise.com.

Get social

Instagram and Facebook can turn friends and family into dedicated supporters and give your campaign a voice. Before you bluntly ask for money on a post, think about your sales technique. How will you express your campaign’s goals in a compelling way? Does your social media fundraising campaign speak emotionally? Can you share an impactful story that relates to your cause? Power that cause with content that authentically captures people’s attention and interest. Develop thought-provoking angles that inspire and provoke responses.

The Humane Society uses Vine to give orphaned dogs and cats a voice. Becca Meyers from the New York Humane Society posted a Vine of adorable cat Parker sauntering toward the camera. Because the sweet video made an emotional connection with an animal lover, the cat found a permanent home. For-profit, cause-based business People Water also tells stories through captivating Instagram videos and photos with messages like “action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action” (Benjamin Disraeli). One Instagram video shared clips of happy kids in Cambodia to showcase how People Water’s philanthrophic efforts affect global youth.

Use Instagram for its visual appeal and Vine to deliver a video message in a snappy and creative way. Then cross-promote your social media fundraising campaign on different sites and include hashtags to thread them together with relevant, trending conversations.

Go mobile

Simplicity and convenience can drive your fundraising initiatives, especially when collecting donations. Since people today rarely carry their checkbooks (or even cash), limiting the types of payment you accept can prevent donors from contributing to your project. Different types of mobile payment solutions can provide supporters with ways to make simple and convenient donations, whether you’re at a fundraising event or out on the town.

Razoo recommends the mobile payment option from Intuit GoPayment and touts its mobile credit card processing solution helped Girl Scouts of Northern Ohio increase their cookie sales by 13 percent. By opening up to credit card transactions, the girl scouts were able to sell about 20 more boxes each, thus joining the revolution of smartphone sales and electronic payments that started to take off in 2010. Use the iPhone card reader, and you never have to turn down an opportunity for someone to contribute to your cause no matter where you are or what you’re doing.