Prehistoric man once carved drawings onto their cave walls to express themselves. A lot has evolved since then, to say the least. The dynamics of human expression have transformed completely. We have now moved from the Stone Age, up through the centuries, to the present-day Virtual Age. Here and now, it is technology and its offspring – the internet – that rule the roost.
The advent and evolution of the internet changed many things for us. For instance, the multifaceted social media has shaken up the very foundation of human interaction today. There are so many alternatives to face-to-face interaction. Now there’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest … the developments are mindboggling.
Technology has caused a revolution. The internet has, gradually and unsurprisingly, taken hold of every aspect of our lives. Now, we don’t just have mail, we have e-mail. We don’t just have books, we have e-books. And we don’t just have fundraising, we have crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding – or online fundraising – is a unique internet-related phenomenon. Where once we had fundraisers that were run mainly by organisations, we now have online fundraisers that can easily be run by an individual. Because the internet has empowered the individual to do more and do it easily.
Crowdfunding doesn’t require that you have a big budget. Nor does it require you to hire a media powerhouse to help you build buzz. It doesn’t require you to book tony venues. Nor do you need the pull of sponsors. Fundraising on an individual level doesn’t require any of these. In fact, it’s cost free, with the end-product much the same – a successful fundraiser.
ON YOUR MARKS: How to Start
What does an individual need to start an online fundraiser? The answer is simple – you need a desire to see your crowdfunding campaign through and an internet connection. That’s all the fuel required.
So what is the process like on a crowdfunding website? It’s simple.
- The kind of fundraiser/campaign – Will it be one you’re starting around your birthday/wedding? Maybe you want to keep festivals like Diwali or Christmas in mind? Or maybe you’re running a marathon and have decided to raise funds along with that? Or maybe you just want to start a campaign for a cause. That’s fine too. Any time is a good time to crowdfund!
- Choosing your cause – Choose the cause you want to campaign for, whether social, creative or entrepreneurial.
- Filling in the form – Subheadings with guidelines are provided to help you cover all the aspects necessary when introducing your campaign.
- Images – Choose images for your campaign
- Video – If you have a video to share, upload it. It doesn’t need to be a directorial masterpiece. You can even record yourself talking about the campaign. 30 seconds is great!
And that’s it. Your campaign content is now ready. The moment your campaign goes live, you officially transform from an ordinary citizen to a cool crowdfunder. You can now congratulate yourself on your awesomeness.
GET SET: How to Succeed
Another simple truth: The secret to a successful fundraiser/campaign is dedication. It doesn’t end at creating a campaign. Reaching out to people and following-up diligently is crucial to the success of your campaign. And don’t forget to thank supporters. Leave no stone unturned towards running a fruitful campaign.
As mentioned earlier, you’re not going to need a marketing budget. Your all-purpose marketing tool will be social media – Facebook, Twitter, email etc. You will be spreading the word about your campaign via these methods, and the fundraising will happen as a result of it.
CROWDFUND: The Advantages
- It’s cheap – You won’t require a big budget effort to get your crowdfunding campaign going. Yes, we’ve mentioned this point earlier, but it’s worth the reiteration. It just feels so darn good!
- It multiplies – Having your fundraiser online helps you spread the word about your campaign to your social network easily. It’s also easy for your network to share your campaign page link with their social network as well. This multiplies the awareness about your campaign and, of course, helps you raise funds!
- It’s quick and easy – It really doesn’t get any simpler than this! In a matter of seconds, awareness about your campaign can spread across the globe. Funds are transacted just as quickly! That’s the power of the internet for you!
- It’s safe – Money is transacted in the safest way possible. Crowdfunding websites use reliable security measures via secure payment gateways for online transactions.
- It’s thoughtful – Some sites also cater to those who prefer transacting in cash or cheques as well.
Crowdfunding has changed the dynamics of fundraising completely. It has also made fundraising cool, easier and quicker and has empowered the individual to get proactive. The future of fundraising is here. All that remains to be asked is: Are you cool enough to get with it?