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Constitutent interaction and involvement has fundamentally shifted in recent years; with the advent of social media and the maturity of a very participatory generation, the Millennials, organizations are looking for new strategies with which to better connect with their donors. Existing fundraising methods such as crowdsourcing and crowdfunding are failing to keep pace with a rapidly changing society.

Crowdsourcing, or the practice of outsourcing tasks to a distributed group of active and willing customers, uses volunteers to accomplish goals that are in the best interest of the organization. This practice has proven only marginally effective in recent years as the number of constituents who adopt a more remote participatory approach grows. By the same logic, crowdfunding, which looks to aggregate volunteer funds towards a common goal, can alienate the population of individuals (like Millennials) who hope to have a more hand-on approach. 

A new alternative to the traditional outlook on volunteer and donor engagement, called crowd-contributing, offers constituents  a  one-stop solution for causes and projects looking to elicit volunteer engagement in a manner that is both easy for the company and the hopeful volunteer. Think of it this way; if a volunteer is willing to contribute, whether that be resources (financial or other) or time, why should an organization limit the scope in which they can do so? What crowd-contributing does is open the avenues through which a volunteer can make a contribution and support the cause. Traditional methods of volunteer outreach pigeon-hole willing volunteers in a manner that could dissuade their participation.

While that’s a great theoretical concept – how does it relate to technology? The concepts surrounding crowd-contributing are made possible and necessary by technology and the growth of social media has developed in recent years. Consider the power and influence of the Millennial generation who, in just a few years, will substantiate the bulk of the world’s consumer-base. Even now, while they might little to offer financially, Millennials are among the most civic-minded citizens. As digital natives they thrive on the use of technology and are almost exclusively accessible in an online forum (email, mobile, social media, etc.).

The Crowd-contributing solution  offers, to the volunteers, an opportunity to donate money, time, resources, and even the introduction of connections and introductions which could be important to the success of the project Crowd-contributing technology streamlines a process that might have otherwise deterred participation. It allows volunteers the opportunity to feel rooted in the cause and an active participant in creating a solution. It helps the organization to spur engagement and advertise the mission and goals of its organization through the utilization of its growing volunteer network of influencers.

For the constituent, Crowd Contributing:
  • Is tangible – they know where their contributions are going and see what they are achieving.
  • Provides leadership opportunities for people of all ages.
  • Allows groups to partner with other to accomplish something together.
  • Helps people pool their resources to accomplish something greater than any one of them could have alone.
  • Allows those who are not able to contribute financially to give in other ways.
For the Nonprofit Crowd-contributing:
  • Allows them to break down a larger goal into smaller, “bite-size” projects
  • Can be used for new projects or for specific funding goals
  • Highlights the association and its mission – advertisement of the association
  • Provides an excellent acquisition channel for new (and motivated) donors. 
Another key benefit of crowd-contributing is that it mirrors the type of social media platforms that people have become so accustomed to using in their everyday lives. Providing people n web-based platforms and a structure that is both intuitive and familiar will only encourage their active participation. To provide anything less than top-notch and user-friendly solutions will dissuade them and prevent the traffic necessary to launch a successful crowd-contributing campaign. In selecting a crowd-contributing platform to launch your project look to find something that will appeal to the social nature of technology-adept people.  Remember the following:
  • Make sure your platform is widget-based so you can drive traffic to your website and brand your organization’s look and feel.
  • The platform should be easily customizable to your company’s brand – tailor it to advertise for your company, not for the technology platform.
  • Make sure the website is mobile-friendly.  So many people (especially the Millennials) are browsing from their smartphone, it shouldn’t be a hassle to view your site on the phone.
  • Make sure the donation page is easy to use and visually pleasing.  Difficulty in donating or unprofessional aesthetics can cause someone to change their mind in a heartbeat.
  • Ensure that the platform is social media integrated – tapping into those networks can help the word spread like wildfire.  

With the opportunity to launch your cause, build your brand and acquire social influencers and new donors, why wouldn’t you choose crowd-contributing for your next project!


By John Clese, Director of Product Marketing, Not For Profit, Avectra


Last modified on Friday, 27 September 2013
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