Thursday, 6 January 2011

The first rule of fundraising....

Still on the subject of fundraising, today's Big Think newsletter is all about Edward Norton's Guide to 21st Century Fundraising. Norton is talking not because fundraising is like punching yourself in the face (we've all seen Fight Club I hope?) but because he has just launched a crowdsourcing fundraising site Crowdrise.  This is US only right now, but his advice on fundraising is good and relvant to the UK I think. Key tips in the Norton interview and listed on the Crowdrise site include:
  • it's a relationship not a cause (I'd add or a transaction based on your cause). Think about the relationship not just what you want to make happen (eg get the donor to support you the writer, not just your fabulous collection of poetry)
  • give yourself (or maybe make obvious what you're not earning in order to make your project happen?)
  • keep it simple and compelling
  • 'say thank you and make it so nice they cry'. Your mum was right - never underestimate the power of please and thank you. (I made the same point myself some time ago here.)
Interestingly, Norton links this social media-informed fundraising to the potential for democratising political processes. This is similar to the argument a soon-to-be-launched UK arts crowdsourcing site We Did This make about democratising arts funding through crowdsourcing. I'm not sure I entirely buy that, but then I am a recovering bureaucrat. It will be interesting to see how it works when up and running.

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