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Corporate Philanthropy & Volunteering Blog

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Crowdfunding + Corporate Philanthropy = New Fundraising Software

 

crowdfundingThis post was featured in Forbes.com.

Crowdfunding is generally defined as an internet-based collective effort between people who pool money to help fund an activity or an entrepreneurial endeavor. Also called crowdsourcing, crowdfunding is used to underwrite a variety of activities, including new products, artistic efforts, political campaigns or scientific research, just to name a few.  In return, if a product or project actually gets developed and produced, investors often either receive the final product, a portion of the profits or small shares of equity.  

In their May 2012 Crowdfunding Industry Report, Crowdsourcing.org reports that about $1.5 billion dollars was raised via crowdfunding in 2011.  Crowdfunding platforms (CFPs) like Kickstarter and global site Indiegogo facilitate crowdfunding efforts with big number successes;  since 2009, Kickstarter has raised over $250 million in pledges while Indiegogo has funded over 100,000 projects from more than 196 countries.  Given the rising popularity of crowdfunding, it’s not surprising that the number of CFPs is expected to increase to 530 by December 2012, up from the last count of 452 in April 2012.  

Beginning in 2013, the federal Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, (JOBS Act) will start permitting companies to trade equity in exchange of products and services for crowdfunding investments.  The hope is that crowdfunding will open up more opportunities for financial resources to jumpstart startups that in turn, will help grow new businesses and ultimately, create new jobs. 

Crowdfunding can also be also used for non-profit fundraising as supporters increase awareness and promotion for their cause by using their social networks to encourage others to donate and make a significant community impact.   A recent, highly publicized example of crowdfunding is the outpouring of public support for bus monitor and bullying victim Karen Klein.  After viewing the online video of students verbally abusing Klein, good Samaritan Max Sidorov created a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise $5,000 with the intent to give Klein a nice vacation; the campaign ultimately raised $703,000.  

That is one really nice vacation.  

Crowdfunding for good

This example is proof of the power of crowdfunding and how it can be used to do good on a massive scale.  Which is why non-profits are getting into the act and fundraising for specific projects or campaigns using CFPs.  Acting as a catalyst for giving, what these CFPs all have in common is that they give web users an easy way to contribute to specific philanthropic projects without having to donate large amounts of money.  Donors simply choose their cause and give what they can.  A variety of crowdfunding platforms such as Causecast’s Community Impact Platform, Start Some Good, and Kiva have been created to specifically service non-profit fundraising, disaster relief and/or social change causes.  Through group effort, these platforms enable teams of people to collectively contribute to a cause.  

What does crowdfunding for a cause look like in action?  

Last year, Los Angeles non-profit Do Good Bus used Start Some Good to help reach its ambitious fundraising goal of $100,000.  Do Good Bus organizes volunteers and transports them by bus to go into various communities and help local non-profits.  Because of their successful Start Some Good campaign, the bus was able to travel to 22 cities and recruit thousands of people who were interested in giving back by doing volunteer work in their local communities.  

Kiva is a micro-credit crowdfunding platform that allows individuals to make charitable, interest-free micro-loans to entrepreneurs (social and otherwise) around the world.  Kiva partly distinguishes itself by providing lenders an international opportunity to help better the lives of people in need.  Take the case of Frenchman Javier Irastorza Mediavilla, who used Kiva to contribute to a loan for a group of Peruvians in the small village of Ccorao.  A small group of residents needed money to buy farming supplies and finance businesses to attract tourism for their economically challenged town.  When Javier visited Peru in 2009, he went to Ccorao and saw firsthand the results of his loan.  Local merchant Marciano Choque Raya, who was one of the loan recipients, took Javier on a tour of the town to see the thriving handicraft and restaurant businesses that the Kiva loan funded, which ultimately helped to empower the locals to work toward achieving economic sustainability.  

Some CFPs are committed to supporting a specific group, such as Sprigster, which focuses on raising resources exclusively or military veterans.   One of the latest crowdfunding platforms to enter the field is HelpersUnite which links commercial ventures with charitable causes, requiring project creators to donate at least 5% of funds raised to a cause of their choice.  And sometimes the CFPs get into the corporate philanthropy game themselves to make the world a better place.  For example, Causecast employees used team building and a little friendly competition to create a competitive crowdfunding effort, all of which increased donor activity towards local animal rescues, as documented in their case study When Corporate Competitive Crowdfunding Goes to the Dogs.  

Although crowdfunding is clearly one of many important philanthropy fundraising ideas, fundraising experts warn that non-profits should view crowdfunding as nothing more than an added source of financial support and not the answer to all of an organization’s fundraising prayers. How CFPs can best help a charity is by providing additional funds once a campaign has already gained traction from a non-profit’s existing group of supporters.  Many sites will also allow donors to set up fundraising pages on behalf of charities they want to support or allow donors to set up tangential pages attached to a non-profit’s master page that they can use to recruit support from their social networks.

Ordinary people can do great things when they act collectively, so crowd psychology can play a big part in the success of non-profit crowdfunding efforts.  Meanwhile, I’m still wondering where retired bus monitor Karen Klein went on that $703,000 vacation.

 

Related articles:

When is Corporate Philanthropy Like a Great Game?

Consolidate Your Corporate Good Efforts

How Volunteer Grants Double The Impact of Employee Volunteer Programs

 

Comments

Good afternoon all. 
 
My name is Brian P Fromme. I live outside of Atlanta, GA. For the past 4 years I was a volunteer at The Hope Clinic in Decatur, GA where I was a volunteer for the HVTN 505 HIV vaccine was studied. As most of you know the trials ended on April 25th. According to the info I read it was deemed a failure.  
 
I have several questions that one, any or all may be able to assist me in answering. After the unblinding of the study, I was told I recieved the placebo. It is interesting to me, and probably a lot of you that I remain HIV-. During the course of the 4 years I was involved in the study I was exposed to HIV 40+ times through what I consider to be normal sexual behavior. Meaning I didn't do anything different during sex than I had previously to the study. I rarely, if ever used a condom. The big difference is I kept accurate, mental notes for the reporting process every third moth at my blood draws. info like how many partners, what positions, where fluids were exchanged, were any drugs or alcohol being used during the course of the sex. it was a chore, but i kept up with it and reported accurately. it took me 60-80 hrs a week on line screening possible partners/dates/(pardon the slang) tricks to hook up with.  
 
I know this is risky behavior and its just how I've always played. I am not, nor was I ever what is deemed a bug chaser. I knew the ramifications of possible being pozzed and so I exclusively dated and played with poz or poz friendly guys, or guys who strictly bare back. There are tens of thousands of gay men in the U.S. alone who will not use condoms. It's a fact.  
 
I have officially left the study and declined to have anymore blood work done with the Hope Clinic. I have found them to be cold, uncaring and not helpful. When I asked about being studied, as according to their blood draws and my sexual behavior, as immune, for an option to further study me, I was told no one is doing a study like that. I know this is untrue. I read an article on The Adcocates app that stated differently. It is crucial that someone who has been proven to be immune be allowed to have access to an institution who understands the value of having me involved. I know the risks involved. I know if I contracted HIV its a treatable condition, no worse than diabetes when you follow your doctors regime of meds and advice. I know that there are Microbiologists who are salivating at the opportunity to have fresh blood draws from someone immune who is in the first 72 hours is fighting seroconversion. I am willing to do this. 
 
Here are my issues thus far. During the course of the study I found the 3rd party monitors (re:DAIDS reports I found on line) to be intrusive and even downright mean. They held their own meetings at the expense of the program and countered my attempts at all contact with basically anyone or anywhere that I would have been able to hook up, date or even be friends with. There is a program called spamcop.net installed as of this moment that may or may not allow this mail to be sent. I have been focused on as a junkie, rather than the recreational user I am. Although as of late, my chemical usage has gone up trying to thwart the hate groups disguised as genuine DAIDS efforts to keep me down. There are several groups who don't want HIV stopped. It is still considered by a lot of people as the cure from God for Gays. Barbaric. 
 
I have tried for over 6 months now to apply for grants enabling me to do a private, more accurate study. I know I could effectively document my exposures. As to how much documentation would be up to whomever will work with me. I could run my own study, relatively cheaply with the right support. I could probably even get video documentation and health info of positive partners ahead of time (I asked quite a few of my partners during the study their viral loads, T cell counts and most were happy to oblige). I am lacking funding. I need to be able to be in a better physical location with a larger gay population. I need to have a legitimate clinic, possibly even the CDC itself near so I can get to them when/post HIV exposures while my body fights seroconversion. (I'm not very kind during those times, it sucks...diarrhea, vomiting, fevers...). Blood draws should be taken and studied so scientists can watch the 'action' live instead of guessing how the 2% of us are able to fight off HIV. I've found that the higher the viral load, the sicker I get. The exception being that the more times I've been exposed, the shorter the 'sickness' lasts.  
 
I know there are limitations on funding when it comes to these types of studies. A 501c3 has a board of directors to report to. The government has the people to report to. I, being an unemployed gay guy living in the countryside have my mom to report to. I need financial support. I need help getting a very small, closely knit circle together who knows exactly what's up. I need the support of the big 5 to help ensure my safety and to help regulate the usage of intoxicants. I need understanding. A small study like the one I envision would save millions of lives and millions of dollars. I just want to help. I'd be happy to volunteer if I knew of a study like the one I am proposing. I am contacting you directly in the hopes that ya'll (pardon the southern slang...it's the country boy in me) will see that I'm an educated, street smart guy who can and will effectively make a change and assist in the end of HIV.  
 
Please, someone believe in me and help steer me in the right direction. All my grant ideas, 501c3s, work ideas have all been stolen through third party monitoring. This has more importantly disrupted our great leaders (President Obama) plan to end HIV this century. It's a conundrum.  
 
I'm just a guy wanting to make it better for future generations. 
 
Thank you for your time, 
 
Brian Patrick Fromme 
3331 Hart Way, SW 
Snellville, Ga 
30039-4388 
7708641775 hm 
4046214853 cell 
7819168341 text plus on my iPad  
NIAID Vaccine program number 08177 
 
P.S. Check out my You Tube series, HIV- GUY who may be immune being bullied for more about me. I've had issues with a brother who has stolen my identity and is trying his best to make me look bad and he as a hero. He's out there for the money...or so it seems. 
Posted @ Wednesday, June 12, 2013 5:19 PM by Brian Patrick Fromme
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