2017 Update: I’ve researched plenty of other crowdfunding platforms and used a few others since then too. But fundraising with Crowdrise is still my go-to. (I also use Generosity.com occasionally too.)
Also, notably, below I mention Action:Little Black Dress a few times. Eventually this became a “thing” that all sorts of people participate in every March to fight human trafficking. We are now called the LBD.Project and I highly encourage you to check out our website!
Is Fundraising With Crowdrise Any Good?
If you read my post Fundraising 101, I am sure you’d have agreed with me: fundraising is no easy task. Not having the right tools to do so makes it even more difficult.
Thankfully, there are really cool organizations out there, solely created to help you fundraise money. I have been dying to try out Crowdrise, one of these fundraising platforms. Considering I am in the midst of doing Action: Little Black Dress, I had the perfect opportunity to try them out.
The first thing I noticed while making my profile and the fundraising page for Action: Little Black Dress, I gathered they have a sense of humor. For example, on their front page description you get this: “Please only read all this if you’re super bored or you’re writing a paper on ways to give back and you’re looking for something to plagiarize…” Generating laughter might not be the essence of fundraising but it just might be the pull to get people to donate and to choose Crowdrise over other orgs.
Where I really got trapped was uploading profile photos on their site. For in the disappointingly brief seconds my picture took to upload (darn those great web servers) a long paragraph would appear, revealing great brain-stretching, time-management exercises:
“On your first photo think of someone you would like to kiss. On your second photo think of someone you can beat in a race. On your third photo think of your favorite food that starts with the letter H.”
Team Peeta. Oh, wait, I mean my husband.
My grandma. (I really hope so at least).
Happy meals? Hamburgers? Honey!
Let’s just say I started uploading random pics in hopes to finish the paragraph. I am still wondering what I should meditate on when uploading photo six. Yet regardless of how many pictures you put up there, Crowdrise still thinks you look great. At least, that is what they told me.
Some things I like about Crowdrise:
- Their services are free for fundraisers to use (although they would like you to donate to them).
- You can use your platform like a social networking site, connecting with other people or fundraising together for the same project.
- You can earn points and get free stuff from them. (I now own a funny shirt from them that people either hate or love. My husband hates it.)
- They are real. They talk the way I think.
- They communicate: I have both emailed and tweeted back and forth with them.
- They are quick- I’ve gotten responses from them right away every time.
- You can pretty much donate to whatever charity you want for whatever you want.
- If you are a non-profit, you can easily make a profile for people to donate to.
- In case it isn’t obvious, donations are all tax-deductible, utilizing Network of Good.
- They don’t take too much money from the Charities–most orgs. I’ve worked with prefer to exchange the “not having to do their own tax receipts” as an exchange for the percentage Network of Good
- You can see all the fundraisers for every organization you’ve fund-raised for all in the same place.
- Super easy to use.
- You can build fundraising teams easily.
- You can fundraise however you want–Running a marathon. Giving away prizes. Just plain asking for money! Raise money as a team or alone. Whatever.
- Can make a profile through facebook/twitter so you don’t have to remember new login info.
- You can add offline donations, so even if people aren’t giving through the website, you can still use this platform to count up all donations (I liked this).
Some reasons Crowdrise might not be for you:
- As other organizations are now making fundraising platforms on their own website, theirs might be more appropriate to use.
- You can’t use paypal to pay.
- You can only give to one charity per project.
- You cannot change the charity after your project has begun.
- All funds go through a third party which might weird people out. Crowdrise is just the social front for the donations that happen through Network of Good.
- As all donations go through Network for Good, they are just given in one lump sum with whomever else on the planet raised money for that charity that month.
- As such, you can’t really distinguish what you want the donations to be used for.
- Considering, this might be a better platform to raise money for a charity than a very specific cause. Many charities don’t just do one thing in one place of the world. Hence, when donating to large organizations, who knows where your money is actually going. It will be going to something good, but not necessarily to buying yaks in Nepal.
- It might bother you to raise funds on a website that also raises funds for something you are against. Like the “Let’s Colonize Around the World Non-Profit” might be getting money alongside the “The Earth is Still Flat Foundation.” No need for any intra-Crowdrise wars.
- If you aren’t cool enough to ever do a fundraiser!
Actually, I did find away around two of these problems. I made multiple project pages on Crowdrise that each donates to a different charity on Crowdrise. Then I enter in the donations on any of the other pages as an “offline” donation on the fundraising page I use the most. That way I can keep track of what is going towards my cause- Famine in Africa- while actually allowing people to donate to the organization of their choice. The downside of this is that then my profile says I have raised more than I have, but at least my fundraiser page is accurate.
The other problem was making sure the money would actually go to what I wanted it to. At this time, Crowdrise is not able to distinguish where I want this money to go. But, after talking with a couple organizations, I found one willing to work with me. At the end of my fundraiser, I will tell them how much we specifically donated to their charity (Convoy of Hope). They will then take this amount from the lump sum given to them by Network of Good, and use it to help with the food crises in Africa. I am very excited that they are going to this trouble for me!
Summed up, use Crowdrise. They are actually a great resource tingling at our fingertips to be used. Do something good. Have a fundraiser the easy way! (Wow, did I just say that? Totally rhymed!)