Razoo turns online fundraising into a social event

The concept of giving days is just one of the ways in which non-profits and charities are innovating to raise more money.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

Chances are that you are approached personally by dozens of fundraising organizations every year. You may even be solicited by different versions of the same charity; I've got three local Girl Scout troops trying to sell me cookies annually. At some point, you can't open your wallet anymore, even if you are inclined to help the greater cause. It's frustrating.

The rise of social media and social networks, of course, is turning the fundraising world upside down. Earlier this year, I wrote about Fundly, which helps fundraisers of all sorts make use of their social networks to help organize and automate giving.

Another company that is changing how organizations approach raising money is Razoo, the organization behind a 24-hour fundraising competition called Twive and Receive.

The idea behind Twive and Receive is simple. Local charities in cities around the United States will compete on June 14, 2012, to see who can raise the most money in a single day. The registered charity that raises the most money on that day will receive an additional $15,000 toward its cause; the runner-up gets $10,000 and third place earns $5,000.

Regardless of whether or not a particular organization happens to win that extra money, however, the allure of making fundraising a contest is obvious. It is hard for humans to resist the idea that if they pull together, their "team" might come out ahead.

Although Razoo's Twive and Receive only accommodates one charity per city, the concept of giving days -- in which more than one profit or charity in a given region focus on offering fundraising incentives -- are inspiring more personal generosity, according to research by Razoo and the Case Foundation. At a time when government funding for many social initiatives is drying up, that is a big deal, Risso said.

The Case Foundation's analysis of several Give to the Max events held throughout the United States over the past several years found that almost 60 percent of the participating non-profits picked up new donors, while almost the same amount said the event had increased public awareness dramatically.

For an example of the impact that Razoo is already having, consider the results of the recent Spring2Action event in Alexandria, Va. Razoo reported that nearly 3,700 people donated $319,333 for the 75 participating Alexandria nonprofits. The goal had been to raise $200,000 and attract maybe 2,000 donors.

Considering that more non-profits will be competing for a share of your wallet every year, Razoo's innovative approach is one that more cities and regions might consider embracing.

Why go it alone when unifying your fundraising with other organizations like yours might help all of you raise more money, could attract corporate sponsors and is more likely to garner attention in the media? "Everyone who participates is going to get something," Risso said. "This helps unify regional non-profits."

That's definitely an idea I support.

(Thumbnail image courtesy of Stock.xchng)

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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