This week, I want to do something a little different. Instead on focusing on a specific nonprofit, I want to talk about an event that took over Austin this past week: Amplify Austin. This was a campaign organized by I Live Here, I Give Here, a local nonprofit which partners local charities and nonprofits so they are more accessible to Austin’s residents. There were over 300 participating nonprofits that designated an epic day of online philanthropy with the goal of raising $1 million in 24 hours.
This trending technique in the nonprofit world of fundraising is called crowdfunding. In Crowdfunding 101, Nonprofit Quarterly explains this buzzword as an operational goal of building a base of small donors in efforts to raise a large amount of money.
Beth Kanter (an expert in the nonprofit sector and also a speaker at SXSW Interactive) shared PhilanthroTech: How Nonprofits Are Using Crowdfunding, a guest post by David Neff. Neff, an Austinite and author of The Future of Nonprofits, was on the planning committee for Amplify Austin. Neff explains that crowdfunding is on the mind of every executive director and at the forefront of nonprofit fundraising projects. Neff notes that crowdfunding generally is not a new concept. However, “giving days” is a newfound approach to crowdfunding. Neff anticipates this strategy to be the buzz of nonprofits for 2013. Razzo, a crowdfunding platform and the industry’s leader in giving days, describes this new tactic as flash funding, or online fundraising competitions that unite hundreds of nonprofits over a short period of time. Giving days involve 24 hour online fundraising that brings communities together for local causes.
This was tested right here in Austin March 4-5 and was a tremendous successful. Over the past few months while I have been analyzing local nonprofits for this blog, it has been fascinating to see how these organizations engaged their audience through social media and ultimately united the community in a way that has never been seen before. Austin’s nonprofits not only used social media to get the word out but to tell their story and explain why Central Texans should participate in this day of online giving. Nonprofits used techniques such as visual storytelling and incorporated hashtag #AmplifyAustin throughout their campaign efforts. Well, Central Texans did just that and more than doubled Amplify Austin’s goal. The community came together online and raised $2,802,029! Congratulations to everyone that organized this event and to the nonprofits that participated.