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Conference Participants Crowd Source for a Good Cause

Resource Center - Foundation

On Sunday afternoon of the AFP International Fundraising Conference, BJ Bischoff (consultant and AFP Master Trainer) and Nathan Hand (director of advancement at The Oaks Academy and president of the AFP Indiana Chapter) presented a session about winning crowd-sourced charity voting contests. 

As a learning tool, they launched a live contest for $1000 between 16 Baltimore charities during their session:  Strategies for Winning Crowd-Sourced Corporate and Foundation Grant Funding. Participants in the session developed and then launched their own strategies to win as many votes as possible. Session participants used social media, leveraged influence, and crafted messages to engage conference attendees.

Crowd-sourced foundation and corporate grant-making is gaining popularity as a funding source for nonprofits of all sizes. Funders such as Chase, Pepsi, Google, American Express, Toyota, Livestrong Foundation and others invite nonprofits to submit proposals, select finalists, then turn to the public to vote for the organizations with the best ideas. Then, the organizations with the most votes win.

While crowd-sourcing may sound like the fundraising profession's version of American Idol, many nonprofits want to get in on the action because the stakes are high, with some individual awards totaling $500,000.

The live case study worked! By 5pm on Monday, at the close of the contest, over 12,000 votes had been cast. Winning the contest was One More One Less, a mentoring organization for at-risk youth in Baltimore!

“It's a good reminder that many of the traditional fundraising practices are also a part of online efforts, noted Nathan Hand. “Crafting compelling content, building campaign momentum, engaging various audiences via several mediums - all work - whether you're seeking resources or votes,“ he added.

“The attendees walked in, found a cause they cared about and immediately went to work sharing their talents for a local charity,” said BJ Bischoff. “It was a very different kind of session - attendees immediately applied their learnings. Not only did they help a local charity, but they'll be better positioned to campaign for votes and/or donations in their own communities.”

Thanks to all who participated for making a difference at #afpfc and in Baltimore!

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