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Canadian Charities are cashing in on web 2.0 revolution

A recent article in a national Canadian newspaper, the Globe and Mail, featuring Artez client GuluWalk, examines how charities can profit from online giving with very little start up capital.

The article looks at how online tools have allowed 2 guys to raise almost $4million for the GuluWalk , mostly from their kitchen table!

Adrian Bradbury, co-founder of Athletes for Africa, talks about how his organisation provides volunteers in 75 cities around the world with online toolkits allowing them to organise a local walk, fundraise online and promote their event and cause.  For Adrian one of the biggest draws of online is how easy and inexpensive it is to get started.

Although Athletes for Africa is a small, grassroots organisation, online tools have allowed Adrian and his team access to tools that have historically been the reserve of large charities with large budgets.  In fact, small charities have been the biggest winner in the Web 2.0 revolution according to the Globe. Direct mail costs are rising, ‘do not call’ lists can hamper the success of telephone campaigns while the ROI of more traditional fundraising methods are declining every year.  In contrast, online fundraising income is increasing in North America and the UK.

The explosion of social networking tools such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter have helped fuel this increase. Artez President, Philip King, doesn’t think charities should be surprised by this.

“Social networking was going on in fundraising from the very beginning, in volunteers raising money by walking to neighbours’ doors. All we’ve done is taken that model and accelerated it through digital technology. The difference is how fast and how broad the impact.”

So what do Philip King and Adrian Bradbury think is the greatest strength of online? It’s that online tools make it really easy to turn a supporter into a fundraiser!

“You do give up control – you’re letting your supporters tell the story,” says Adrian Bradbury. “But people give to people they know, so asking a friend or colleague to give is an easier ask [than for an unknown organization].”

Philip’s message is: “Charities, don’t go searching for donors, search for fundraisers. Don’t try to blast the donors with direct mail. Try to share the message, so they’ll modify it and spin it out for you.”

Philip and Adrian are big believers in letting supporters recruit their friends and family (peer-to-peer fundraising) and the success of GuluWalk really illustrates how well it works!

In my next post, I’ll be sharing Philip & Adrian’s top tips for making your online campaigns a success.

Athletes for Africa have been using the Artez system since 2006 to help make all of this possible.
Philip King is President and CEO of Artez Interactive, a Rapidata partner since 2007.

If you would like more information on how your organisation can use Artez fundraising tools, please drop me an email at artezsupport@rapidata.co.uk

Posted by Scott Gray on 12/11/2009 within Fundraising
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