Learning how to fish.

The Giving USA 2009 Report on Philanthropy tells us that giving is down for the first time in more than a decade (and for only the second time since 1956) and that 82% of giving comes from individuals.  Bummer or opportunity?   At GlobalGiving we see opportunity. If we can help individual project leaders learn how to use new tools and how to fundraise from a larger pool of individuals then sustained growth is possible.  (Teaching people how to fish and all of that.)

This summer GlobalGiving held our first American Open Challenge targeted to give training and tools to US grass roots projects.  The hope was that we could help small non profits raise funds that they had not counted on, attract donors they did not know and survive another year.  Did it work?

From a macro view-it certainly was successful. 73 new organizations to GlobalGIving raised $331,000 in 3 weeks.  Terrific but was this a one hit wonder or was there learning, adoption and motivation for sustained changes in fundraising and donor expansion?

We have been digging deeper to understand how our new partners view the experience. Following is what we heard about their fishing expeditions.

  • They developed intense 3 week plans to communicate, coerce and convince their friends, relatives, acquaintances and donors to spread the word and take action.
  • They used all media available to them (GlobalGiving showed them how)Face book, Twitter, Linked In, email–although there was labor time the out of pocket costs were insignificant. And they did not worry too much about burn out–they keep the messages and touch point flowing.
  • The ask was simple–give if you canand if not—–tell your friends and colleagues–building the extended network is critical.
  • They reached out to local media outlets using GlobalGiving tools and found that the press will report on the little guys who are making a difference.
  • They were clear about what was at stake and the urgency of the request.

So, will the fishing continue? The answer has been a resounding,’ YES’!  The projects we have interviewed tell us that between 70 and 90% of the donors were new to their organization.  Whole new groups of donors to explore and engage for the future. To that end GlobalGiving is constructing a fourth quarter promotion to help our current partners maximize giving from current donors and to attract new donors and fans.

GlobalGIving will also run our second American Open in October of this year to support more new fishermen/women.  We hope to help many more project leaders enjoy the feast!


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