[6/6] Harnessing Social Crowdfunding with Blackbaud’s everydayhero

Peer-to-peer fundraising, coupled with crowdfunding, empowers your Advancement team to reach new first-time donors and amplify your institution’s message


In our previous posts we explored:

1) The importance of online fundraising in your educational institution
2) How to utilise peer-to-peer effectively in crowdfunding
3) Key enablers around social fundraising
4) 10 things to consider before implementing your platform
5) How to position social fundraising in your advancement programme.

As with the for-profit world, the rate of online giving growth will continue to significantly outpace overall giving, echoing a clear trend over recent years. Not only that, but education institutions will remain among the fasting growing of any non-profits in the digital space, as former and current members increasingly elect to engage socially with their alma maters online.


With help from your alumni, staff and student heroes, advancement teams are perfectly positioned to reach new networks and identify high-value potential supporters. Regular giving teams can pull together social media, crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising into a platform that matches your university’s or school’s identity and showcases its unique stories. Through everydayhero, you can create new projects in minutes, carrying your branding and campaign message, and allowing you to:


– Set targets, time limits and offer rewards, and share this with your community of supporters


– Receive 100% of the donor data, so you can engage and cultivate relationships with both your volunteer fundraisers and those who give to them


– Secure all of the funds raised – even if you fall short of the target – as well as easily adding offline fundraising efforts onto your online campaign total


– Integrate seamlessly with your development and alumni relations system (including adhering to your data, financial and preference management responsibilities) and wider fundraising, meaning you can scale up effectively over time.


While matching typical crowdfunding features, it is the additional peer-to-peer capabilities like social media, scoreboards and gamification, fitness app integrations and recognising your volunteers’ broader ‘footprint’ which elevate the fundraising and engagement levels of your projects. And by tying online and offline fundraising effectively into your existing CRM through a single supplier solution, you not only minimise risk for your team, but also ensure that your development and alumni colleagues can maximise harnessing the rich data this new channel opens for you.


As Jeff Shuck puts it, peer-to-peer fundraising is “empowering others to ask on your behalf”.  This is as applicable for education institutions as it is for other non-profits, many of whom have harnessed P2P successfully for years.  After all, you have that reachable body of committed and impassioned lifelong members that most charities would dream of having!


It is to take nothing away from your existing fundraising initiatives, both offline and online, but rather add the benefits of “multi-tier” crowdfunding on top, supplementing your current fundraising with those of your volunteers and friends.  This is the essence of social fundraising, expanding your reach and achieving more through the networks of those who support you, whether as donors, fundraisers or promoters.


When next setting up a campaign page to reach out to your direct network for contributions, why not encourage others to create their own fundraising page associated with the project, and to reach out to their own networks of fellow alumni, work colleagues, families and friends? You can still select the projects, in line with your institution’s mission, and control the funds as they flow in, whilst your supporters help with the heavy-lifting of sharing your message outwards. Social fundraising means that with the right technology and approach you can do much more in less time.



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With everydayhero for example you can easily set project goals, offer rewards, predefine donation amounts and empower your supporters to donate or fundraise for your projects, and broadcast socially. The peer-to-peer functionality acts as an effective donor acquisition tool, and since you receive all of the donor data, you can choose to wealth assess supporters and target your future marketing campaigns to HNW individuals around goals that matter most to them.



With these new methods at hand you have the opportunity to better engage alumni, and your recent graduates in particular: helping you to refresh your annual fund and stay relevant to a younger audience. Increasingly millennials do want to be asked to do more than just give; whilst simultaneously you desire to find out more about who they are, what their passions may be, and how their networks crossover, in order to better serve the overall advancement mission.


Whilst unique in some respects, the experiences of the University of Oxford following the publicised death of Cecil the Lion in the summer of 2015 has parallels to most projects managed through everydayhero. They gained many new relationships, and added an overwhelmingly large proportion of first-time donors (even among the alumni who gave). As is often the case for time-bound projects, the vast majority chose to make single donations – but those setting up recurring gifts contributed an impressive total. Oxford could then screen the data to identify new major prospects, and put a targeted communication plan in place to continue engaging their new donors based around an understanding of a deeply-shared passion for wildlife conservation.


Considering the widening demographic of recent alumni, both in geography and in interests, there is tremendous upside for crowdfunding in the sector, but it can sometimes be difficult to market your priorities successfully. The best advertising for any project is word of mouth: no marketing expert can match the value of an endorsement from your closest friends and family. This is exactly why peer-to-peer fundraising can be the extra special sauce your school or university is seeking from 2016.


With online giving growing each year, investing in extra social fundraising channels is vital.  Don’t stop doing the things that already work well for your institution (and for your alumni), and do not be distracted away from your core mission. Do, however, entrust in your supporters and volunteers, and empower them to help you engage and raise more.


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