Tapping the Power of the Crowd: Crowdfunding and Viral Philanthropy


With Redditors raising over $680,000 in a matter of days to send Karen Klein on vacation, with the take off of crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo—and their many successful projects—we’re starting to see what can happen when philanthropy goes viral.

Slava Rubin, founder and CEO of Indiegogo, told Mashable: “Social media and crowdfunding can change the way that people connect with the causes or the passions they believe in. I think we’ve moved from a world of transactions to a world of relationships.”

This is exciting news for fundraisers, for people passionate about a cause, for those looking to make a difference. It’s never been easier to get the “crowd” to pay attention and raise funds. Mostly because the crowd has never been easier to reach.

So how do you promote an online fundraising campaign, once you’ve aligned with a cause, chosen your crowdfunding platform, and created a campaign page? Here are some great tips from that Mashable article I mentioned earlier:

  • Start with email. In Rubin’s words, “As soon as you get [the] ball rolling, which is typically about 30-40% of your funding, you can get social proof, so then strangers will be willing to fund more easily. Believe it or not, though, your number-one tool to start off with is email. That’s where you have to pull in your inner circle first, and then you can go out through these other channels.”
  • Make a video. According to the Indiegogo team, campaigns with videos will raise 114% more money than those without.
  • Stay updated. Users who update campaign pages every five days or less raise significantly more money than if they update every 20 days or more.
  • Get your friends in on it. If a campaign has four or more people on its team, it will raise 70% more money than a crew of one.
  • Lastly, “You don’t harangue, harass, wheedle and provoke. You create epic shit that people want to be part of.” —Colleen Wainwright, 50 for 50 for WriteGirl! crowdfunder

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