Until recently, I was not a fan of crowdsourced fundraising. Just the words “crowdsourced” and “crowdfunding” conjured up a mental image of the mindless masses, which is so contrary to what we fundraising professionals preach as ultimate truth: relationship-based fundraising. People won’t give unless they have a relationship with the organization and its people, and unless they are connected to the mission. How can they make that connection in a crowd of people patched together from all over the Internet?
What I didn’t take into account is that, in the age of social media, people relate to each other, often and effectively, online. Social media is being used more and more to organize and mobilize local movements, and the Northwest—a global hub for technology and innovation—is no exception. Two recent successes of clients right here in the Puget Sound region—Intiman Theatre and Friends of 88.5 FM—helped me think differently about crowdsourced fundraising. Done correctly, it is a natural extension of tried and true best fundraising practices.