We no longer live in a time when, if an organization needs to raise money, workers go door-to-door asking for donations. While individuals might still see nonprofit employees with clipboards asking for signups in public areas or commercials for fundraising events on television, it seems as if charities are jumping on the bandwagon and joining the rest of the world in the Digital Age.
One of the main ways to do this within a nonprofit setting is to set up an account on a crowdfunding website. On a host platform like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, leaders of such organizations, or even individual consumers who are passionate about a cause, can create their own site on which friends, family or complete strangers can donate safely. They can entice people with rewards and/or keep them updated through every step of the journey before the deadline arrives.
It should come as no surprise that Canadians are pursuing this end to raise money for subjects that matter to them. After all, according to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority's 2014 Factbook, 87 per cent of households in the nation have an Internet connection.
So what are consumers in Canada donating their hard-earned money to when they go online? And how can companies harness this power?
It's common for researchers in various fields to turn to crowdfunding to reach their monetary goals in order to take more steps forward. Take the medical sector, for instance - making new advances often means putting up a lot of money.
As such, experts may find relief in crowdfunding. Recently, for example, Canadian microbiologist Elizabeth Bent started a fundraiser on RocketHub in order to finish initial research on using bacteria found in the human body to reduce the risk of disease. She's seeking to garner $20,000.
Entrepreneurs who want to get started off right
Another emerging trend is that startup owners who are just starting out are using these types of websites to get some capital in order to create new products or invest in goods like computers or desks before they open their doors for business. According to Ottawa Business Journal, while it's generally difficult to completely fund a new company using this method, it can be very helpful for some.
This is especially true given the new plan proposed by the Ontario Securities Commission in March to sponsor equity-based crowdfunding. The source explained this would allow owners to pursue two models - the traditional setup enabling donors to give money as they please and one allowing individuals who give money to actually invest in the business.
In business terms
Company and nonprofit leaders can use this growing trend to benefit their own organizations. At its core, crowdfunding is about asking a large number of individuals to donate a small amount of money - whatever they can afford. As such, charity leaders need to make their clients feel comfortable giving money online. It might be a good idea, rather than asking for donations on the corporate website, to fundraise through one of the most notable platforms, like Kickstarter or GoFundMe. As long as the site is reputable and the organization invests in worthwhile rewards and advertising campaigns, it should see positive results.