WGD is a day when the crowdfunding community collaborates; a day when a number of websites committed to micro-philanthropy and micro-investing band together to promote the spirit of giving.
Oh, when crowdfunding collaborates.
Our friends at Open Books were kind enough to write TWO blog series posts for us. Please take a moment and read this post about Open Books, and how small scale donors make what they do possible.
By Stacy R. | May 3rd, 2011
“Small scale donors are the backbone of philanthropy.”
– World Give Day, 2011
In 1974, my father published a paper that would eventually cement his reputation in the now-crucial field of nanotechnology. Because I am not (and never will be) a scientist, I asked him to explain what was so important about it, and he told me: things at the small scale are fundamentally different, and because of that, they change what is possible. Stained glass looks the way it does because nanoscale impurities change the perceived color, for example, and circuits that are only a molecule wide have conductive properties that larger construction cannot duplicate. And although I am newer to my job than he is to science, I know that what is true of nanomaterials is just as true for nonprofits: things at the small scale have the unlimited power to change what is possible.
In 2006, brand-new to the world and not even yet certified as a 501(c)(3), Open Books tentatively announced our existence and that we were accepting book donations. As the collection overflowed first my house and then a storage unit and then ten more storage units and then a small warehouse space, we realized we were being given the opportunity to build self-sufficiency through earned income as soon as we could find the right place to sell them. Now, with our bookstore and online sales operations going full-speed, we know more than ever how crucial every single book is to our goal of financial independence. Small-scale book donors make Open Books possible, one book at a time.
We are excited to add a new post to our blog series by the creator of Jcrowd, a new crowdfunding site, preparing for its launch, that we are happy to welcome to the crowdfunding scene.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 4, is World Give Day and I’ve been asked to post a blog on the subject, “Small scale donors are the backbone of philanthropy.”
Many have the impression that philanthropy is all about big name donors who give millions and billions. This is particularly true after Warrent Buffett and Bill Gates announced the billionaire challenge asking billionaires to pledge half their wealth to charity. Add to this foundations that give grants to large and small projects and it’s easy to see why big name philanthropists and foundations are important to non-profit organizations.
How then do small scale donors benefit philanthropy? What is their significance? In truth, small scale donors became a significant factor in the philanthropy world since the advent of the Internet and particularly Web 2.0 – interactive Internet. Until then, it was simply more cost effective to apply for grants than to mount a fundraising campaign targeting many small scale donors.
Consider: A billion dollars has been raised through JustGiving, a UK online fundraising platform for charities during the past decade. The average donation is about $75. Clearly, there is power in numbers. Nowadays a non-profit organization can mount a fundraising campaign through crowdfunding sites like JustGiving that entails no cash outlays. These online platforms take a small percentage of the raise. All the standard trappings of an off line fundraising campaign are missing. No hard copy advertising, no mailings, no dinners etc. The word is spread through email (opt in, not spam – we hate spam!) and online social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
So, are small scale donors the backbone of philanthropy? I don’t know if they are but they most definitely are playing a larger role in philanthropy and their numbers are growing because of technology. In a recent blog I reported that online is the fastest growing fundraising channel for nonprofits. In 2010, Convio clients raised $1.3 billion online – an increase of 40% over 2009. According to Blackbaud’s 2010 Online Giving Report, as well, year-over-year growth for online giving in 2010 was 34.5% compared with 2009. Donors aged 25-44 are more than twice as likely to make a donation online than offline. Clearly small scale donors are becoming much more of a factor in the philanthropy space than they ever were.
As we ramp up for the second annual World Give Day (May 4th) we thought it might be fun to take a look back at the history of World Give Day.
It all started last year when GiveForward co-founder and President Desiree Vargas Wrigley was preparing for International Volunteer Day. She realized that while there were a few days that were set aside to encourage people to volunteer, there weren’t any that focused on giving (besides Thanksgiving of course, and World Give Day is less turkey-centric).
World Give Day was born as a day that GiveForward set aside to focus on giving, whether giving a donation, giving your time or giving a hug (check out our World Give Day hug-fest).
For the first annual World Give Day, GiveForward reached out to non-profits to partner together and spread the word. An exciting and fun event, this year we’re growing our World Give Day team.
Crowdfunding as a concept is all about giving. It harnesses the giving spirit within individuals and empowers them to make a difference by joining with like-minded people to give to a cause they care about. With a rapidly growing crowdfunding community we wanted to include them in this day of giving. This year our partners are working together to spread the culture of giving that they embody every day in their work.
We hope you’ll join us in our second annual World Give Day celebration and take some time on May 4th to give.