Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Metropolitan-scale online fundraising initiatives: DC area and Do More 24

Many community foundations and organizations like the United Way, Catalyst Miami, etc., have organized community-scale initiatives focused on raising funds online through social media, organized around a single day.

This will be on June 6th in the DC area, called Do More 24, and is organized by United Way of the National Capital Area.

They have seeded the program with a number of "leading" donations by businesses--which is a good idea.  For example, Wegman's supermarket chain is donating 100,000 pounds of food to area food banks.  There are many sponsors and many many charities participating.

Online fundraising for charitable purposes has a mixed track record

A lot of writing on millennials says that they are very much focused on the here and now, outcomes, and of course mobile media.  General fundraising initiatives by individual organizations using social media have often been unsuccessful.

Although I think the issue is the type of organization and what they do, how well the campaign is executed, and whether or not the message/cause resonates with the target audience.  See "Keeping Your Online Fundraising Campaign from Stalling Out" from Stay Classy blog.

And while I think the MC5 band was great, probably most people under 35 years of age aren't likely to know about them.  See "MC5 movie in limbo after failure of online fundraising drive" from Ann

... even if they know the song "Kick out the jams."

However, crowdfunding initiatives for both for profit and nonprofit projects have been incredibly successful.  See "Crowdfunding gives rise to projects truly in public domain" and "RocketHub, Kickstarter, other crowd-funding sites fuel creative ventures" from USA Today.

And a DC-based start up, Popularize and Fundrise, use crowdfunding techniques to generate ideas for mixed use real estate projects and to raise investment capital from residents.

Similarly, some political campaigns have also been incredibly successful in building online campaigns with a significant fundraising campaign.  Notably, the Obama Presidential campaign in both 2008 and 2012 gained volunteers, did organizing, and raised millions of dollars of campaign donations, mostly in small amounts, through social media.  

Interestingly, the University of Virginia is testing crowdfunding for research and development projects, in a fundraising campaign directed to alumni.  See "Universities explore crowdfunding, social media to raise money" from USA Today.

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