CEO Insights: Digital Fundraising is the New Normal

April 7, 2020
4 min
Justin is Funraise's CEO, a co-founder, and a bad-ass, experienced nonprofit fundraiser. Like a true fundraiser-turned-founder, he breaks down the concepts behind Funraise's mission everywhere he can make nonprofits' voices heard.

Do you know what we call companies in the startup world that have reached a billion-dollar valuation?

UNICORNS.

The 21st-century nonprofit shares a lot of common ground with these rocketship companies:

  • They're agile. They understand market trends and can adapt quickly and efficiently.
  • They're obsessed with iteration. They triage their go-to-market success and evolve it quickly to build on it.
  • They take risks. They're not satisfied with the status quo and are looking for the new best fundraising channel or strategy.

The 21st-century nonprofit may not be a billion-dollar organization, but it's striving to make a billion-dollar impact.

They are the unicorns of the nonprofit industry and they are pioneering a new path forward.

Can't listen to the video? Scroll down to read the transcript.

Video Transcript

One of the first things I thought and what I watched was like our own customer base. Like, what is the processing volume? It's going to for sure, decrease in like March and April and, you know, indefinitely, but it's at an all time high. And so, obviously it's like still too early to really tell what that means. But what I think it means and how I  interpret like what I'm seeing is organizations who know how to, you know, quickly pivot and leverage sort of a digital-only fundraising atmosphere are really getting it and are doing extremely well. A couple examples, really clever examples that I love from our customer base. We have this customer based out of Dallas called Cafe Momentum and they're a restaurant where like individuals who just get out like juvenile detention will come and learn how to be chefs. And the newest class, you know, basically came in and then Covid-19, happened in the restaurant, couldn't obviously stay open to the public, but they quickly transitioned their mission and  instead of serving the public, what they decided to do was to serve, provide meals for school kids who weren't  getting that lunch that they were normally used to getting, you know,  by going to school. And so they launched a whole And so they launched a whole fundraising campaign around that and in less than a few weeks, raised almost $200,000 just by explaining, hey, this is what we're doing this what we're about. We still have the ability to like make meals. And this is our new sort of like demographic during this crisis. And they leverage the opportunity in a very positive way and raised a significant amount of funds. We've also seen another organization called Project Hope Alliance, where they had a gala planned and so they changed it to the anti-gala. And essentially, you participate from your living room. You still buy tickets. And every ticket that you purchase, you get put into like a lottery to win one of four prizes. And so it's actually a four-week anti-gala where every week you have to go and buy a ticket to be entered, essentially. And there's you know, there's other kind of virtual things that happen throughout the week, but they're awesome rewards that you could win as a result that were, you know, sponsors had given and so forth. So it's like a virtual auction. And they've done extremely well with that. And then we had this college group and they basically had every March is their biggest fundraiser of the year. They raised like 90% of their revenue. And it was like a dance marathon, fundraising and. And so they had him take that online. And they, you know, taking it online did not affect their overall fundraising. So they just did like  zoom virtual dance marathons. And so, you know, there's been so many examples like that. One of the last examples I'll share that I love sharing, because it was representative of quick thinking. So an organization called Dig Deep, this is a few days after kind of like everyone basically self-quarantined and everyone  was concerned about what was happening with the economy. It was World Water Day. And this is one of their biggest online fundraisers. And so they tied their messaging into like so they provide, you know, what, clean water to this Navajo community here in the U.S. And they basically said, hey, if like if this community doesn't have clean water to wash their hands like this could become disastrous. And so they tied in just the the the relevancy of Covid-19 to World Water Day and what it meant for their community. They set their goal to $100,000. They hit that goal in about 12 hours and they ended up raising over $200,000 in 24 hours. So it's it's organizations that can think quickly that can adapt and not let that kind of current climate and circumstances affect circumstances affect their fundraising. I think those are the ones they're going to do really well throughout the rest of the year.

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