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Supporter-Driven Fundraising: If you build it, will they come?

When I mention DonorPages, our integrated peer-to-peer fundraising application to clients, many if not most immediately associate it with event fundraising. “Oh right. That’s for walks, runs, bike races — things like that.” Though they’re absolutely right in that DonorPages is a great tool for DonorPerfect clients to engage their supporters for event fundraising, peer-to-peer fundraising has grown far beyond that limitation.

One example is supporters who “self-fund” their own mission. For example, Mercy Ships was recently featured on 60 Minutes. During that segment, their “unique” fundraising model was highlighted. Basically, ship’s crew members — doctors, nurses, missionaries, volunteers, etc — are expected to raise the money to cover their multi-month voyage. One of the tools Mercy Ships provides to help their crew members do so is their DonorPages site. Each crew member can create and edit their personal page, telling the story of why their mission means so much to them, and how much they are spiritually rewarded by serving as a crew member. It’s very inspiring to read their stories, as well as the messages their donors leave for them on their pages.

Another example of self-funding is how Flower City Habitat for Humanity provides DonorPages to their volunteer builders. Each volunteer is not only expected to give their time and physical effort to provide house for deserving but under-privileged families. They are also expected to raise the necessary funds to “pay” for the build.

The above are examples of the power of giving supporters and constituents ownership of their volunteer work and the fundraising process. But another way to expand your peer-to-peer fundraising program is to build a simple “general use” supporter driven site, such as The Brain Aneurysm Foundation’s BrainPower DonorPages site. This site can be used by supporters who simply want to do their own thing (or no thing), and have a personal fundraising page that they can use to promote and support BAF’s work.

All of these organizations promote their supporter-driven fundraising programs, to make sure their constituents are aware of the tools available to them. So it’s not simply a matter of throwing up a DonorPages site and watching the magic happen. But engaging your supporters to be self-sufficient and effective fundraisers is a terrific way to extend your fundraising reach with a volunteer army of fundraisers!

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