Some useful sites to help you raise funds
By Kim Komando
For the first time in 23 years, Pepsi won't promote itself during the Super Bowl. Instead, it will focus on so-called cause marketing.
Pepsi wants the public to suggest projects to improve communities. It launched the Refresh Everything site to gather grant suggestions and take votes. Pepsi will give away millions each month to winning projects.
Pepsi's undertaking is just one example of how the Internet can be used to raise money.
Let's look at some ways ordinary folks and nonprofits are getting goods or cash. Links to the sites mentioned can be found at www.komando.com/news.
You can raise money through donations for reasons that aren't strictly charitable. For example, maybe you're a social worker who needs a new laptop. Or maybe you need cash for a van that will take your band touring around the country. The sites to help are as varied as the projects seeking donations.
DonorsChoose, for example, is aimed specifically at teachers. Teachers can request supplies for a specific project or extracurricular activity. Once the goal is met, the site delivers the materials directly to the teacher's school.
Requests range from computers to pencils to soccer goals. Likewise, project costs range from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. But, donors can give however much they would like to a specific project.
Kickstarter is a site that lets you post various types of personal projects. Post your project and specify how much you'd like to raise. You must also specify a time limit up to 90 days.
There's a wide range of projects on Kickstarter. Some are looking for money to write a book or publish a CD. Others are looking to fund movie projects, startup companies or fashion trends. For example, one user is seeking $14,000 to build an electric car and write a manual on it.
Project costs may range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Donors choose their donation amount.
You can offer rewards for people who invest. For example, moviemakers can promise credits to donors at a certain level. If your goal isn't met, donations are not collected.
Kickstarter takes 5 percent of donations on successful projects. Amazon, which processes Kickstarter donations, also charges up to 5 percent.
Your personal blog, Web site and social networking profile can also be used to solicit donations. ChipIn helps you raise money for anything. It creates widgets that you can place on any site where you can add HTML code.
You specify your fundraising purpose, and you can also set a goal and deadline. Viewers click the widget to donate. ChipIn does not charge fees, though money is collected through PayPal, which may charge processing fees.
Of course, you can create your own PayPal donation link, but a ChipIn widget draws more attention. And, it provides details about how you will use donations.
A growing number of sites help nonprofit organizations raise awareness and funds. Many of these services require that the nonprofit be listed with GuideStar. GuideStar provides financial and other information on nonprofits. Registration is free for nonprofits.
If you're just getting your organization started, Good2gether lets non- profits create their own Web page. Use the page to list events and fundraising efforts, or to recruit volunteers.
Nonprofits can sell up to six sponsorships on a page. The minimum price for a sponsorship is $100. Good2gether gets a 35 percent cut.
For this, Good2gether raises awareness by promoting charities across other sites. For example, a news site may feature Good2gether's widget. The widget links to Good2gether nonprofits that relate to the page's content.
JustGive is for nonprofits that already have a site. It makes it easier for visitors to donate to an organization.
You get a Donate Now button to put on your organization's site. JustGive processes transactions and provides tax receipts to donors. It even handles recurring billing. There's no charge to get going with JustGive, but it does take 3 percent of donations.
Network For Good also helps nonprofits raise money. It provides a DonateNow link for nonprofit sites. It processes donations and provides tax forms. The Basic DonateNow service is free. A 4.75 percent processing cost applies to donations.
The Custom DonateNow service adds features like a customized donation form. There's a $200 setup fee and a $30 monthly fee. Processing fees are 3 percent.
Finally, since everyone seems to be on Facebook, it's a great way to raise awareness of your cause. Use your profile to solicit donations, highlight events or create a cause. The Causes app creates special pages for causes. Others can join a cause and post to the page.
You don't need to be affiliated with a nonprofit to create a cause. But nonprofits can raise donations through Causes. Network For Good processes donations; a 4.75 percent processing charge applies.