The internet has revolutionised a lot of things; from the way we shop, to what we do with pictures of ourselves, grinning inanely into our camera phone. But it's not all selfies and memes, the internet has been doing a lot of positive stuff too, recently. Those who fundraise or campaign for a good cause will know exactly the power of the online community in the last few years!
I wanted to take a trip down World Wide Web lane and take a look at some of the impressive advancements that have boosted non-profit fundraising and campaigning; from a bucket full of pennies in the street, to millions of dollars being donated through the internet.
It has to be first on the list, there's no two ways about it. Crowd funding is one of the most exciting, fresh and helpful new trends on the internet and everybody wants a slice of the action. Websites such as Go Get Funding have helped thousands — if not millions — of people in the last couple of years; all with different stories, backgrounds and causes to fight for.
The community spirit on the internet is definitely not something to be sniffed at, as crowd funding websites go to prove. As an example, Minds Like Ours raised nearly £2,000 in 24 hours, for a young autistic boy whose sensory room was burned down on Christmas morning by arsonists. There were no promoted ad campaigns, just good ol' word of mouth and a heavy dollop of (online) community spirit. Charities and non-profits are using crowdfunding more and more, to help spread the word about their cause. I can only see this getting bigger and better in 2014 and beyond.
As the founder of a non-profit community that relies heavily on social media, this has got to make the list. Yes, we all know that social media is not new, but it is the way non-profits and charities are now using social media that makes it important. YouTube videos are high up the list, with many good causes using them as tools to spread the word. Heartwarming news spreads fast over Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr; meaning that charities can share their good work, their 'tug on the heartstring stories', their words of encouragement and their successful events, with thousands of people in a single click. Social media managers are springing up left, right and centre as charities strive to gain the attention and donations of kind-hearted followers.
Don't forget the traditional methods
There's plenty more going on in the technology world that I could rattle on about (apps for cancer charities, non-profit meetings being held via Google Hangouts, to name but a few), however I wanted to really bring your attention back to the traditional methods of campaigning and fundraising.
There is nothing more rewarding than meeting with supporters face-to-face and thanking them personally for the help that they give. With the internet taking over life for many of us, sometimes it is important to step away and bring back that personal touch just a little bit more. Awareness events, parties and fundraisers, meeting local business owners to ask if they will put up posters or leaflets, standing out in the cold and rain with a bucket for spare change, and rewarding every supporter with a sticker or button. These are just some of the methods that should never, ever stop when it comes to fundraising for good causes.
We can all be as technologically advanced and flash as we like now, whilst raising millions in the process. However we must not lose the sincere “thank you” that can only be achieved through the traditional method of meeting your supporters, the people who all want to make a difference.
Rebecca is 24 years old, from Kent. She became a freelance writer after being diagnosed with agoraphobia and unable to leave the safe confines of her home. She now runs mental health non-profit Minds Like Ours.
Minds Like Ours is a mental health non-profit organisation that is run BY those with mental health disorders FOR those with mental health disorders. Our aim is to eliminate stigma, raise awareness and provide support.