by Andy Stevenson
Raising money for a charity simply used to be walking around the workplace with a sponsor form then the internet and Just Giving arrived and fundraising changed forever.
In the past few years it’s changed again.
There is still a lot to be said for the old-fashioned sponsor form. It’s difficult to say no to someone when they stand in front of you waving a pen and explaining how they’re doing some crazy challenge to raise money for something they’re passionate about. It worked well for me when I was working in a Golf Shop and had a permanent form on the desk but for most people, there was a limit to the number of people they could ask.
That changed in 2000 with the formation of Just Giving. Suddenly people could reach out to potential donors all over the world and ask for help from family members, friends and connections wherever they may be.
Just Giving was a game-changer for charities. The support they give charities is second to none, they are constantly evolving and improving the way they work and their data processing is revolutionary. It’s all this and more that has ensured that they remain the number one fundraising platform as other high-profile platforms have folded.
In the past few years, things have changed again. Social Media sites have started to allow fundraising on their platforms. Facebook has gone from being somewhere that we would inform people and appeal for support (usually sharing a Just Giving link) to being the preferred option for many people due to the simplicity of setting up a fundraiser and the ease with which supporters can donate.
It has made fundraising accessible for people who had never considered it before. Donating your birthday on Facebook has become one of the most popular and successful way of raising money. It takes a couple of minutes to set up and you can share your page with all your friends instantly. It’s amazing how many people that you’ve not seen for years will bang on the price of a drink to help you celebrate your special day.
You can also add a donate button on individual posts. There’s been a few times in the past few years when I’ve shared something personal about my children and the difficulties they face each day and added a button. When Rett Syndrome gets too much to bear it really lifts my spirits to see people donate in solidarity with their struggles.
Two years ago my 6-year-old son, Finlay climbed Mam Tor in the Peak District for his two sisters. We added a donate button alongside a few photos from the day and quickly raised £376. People can be so kind when they see something so motivating.
Recently Instagram has got in on the act. You can now set up a fundraising link that can sit permanently on your bio making it easy for people to donate at any time.
Things have certainly evolved since the day I started fundraising in 1992 though I do sometimes miss the panic on people’s faces as they saw me approaching waving my sponsor form and pen.