Fundraising for sports teams

Back in the day, before the Internet was a thing that we all spent all of our time on, the door-to-door fundraiser for sports teams were a necessity. If your squad needed some new jerseys, some new equipment, or to cover travel expenses to an out-of-state tournament, you went around your community and asked your neighbors to help out. Well, with the Internet in general, and crowdfunding in particular, your neighbors are not just down your street, they’re all across the state, the country and the globe. And by using crowdfunding you can really make it fun and competitive, as each member of the team can have their own fundraising page and individual goal.

Read on to see some great examples of students and coaches leveraging technology to get them the right tools they need to succeed – on the field and off.

Row row row your boat

In March 2016, over 100 members of the Loyola Academy Rowing Association combined to raise nearly $80,000 in their first ever Ergathon. The fundraiser consisted of teams of Loyola rowers competing against each other on rowing machines (known as “Ergs”, hence the fundraiser’s name) to raise money for the club. A portion of the donations were used to maintain and purchase racing boats, oars, boat trailers and more Ergs. The rest of the donations will be used to award scholarships so that every Loyola Academy student has the opportunity to row. And to promote the Ergathon, the Association also made this awesome video. Doing sports teams everywhere proud.

Bump, set, spike your goals

Matt Sandora has been the coach of the Girls’ Varsity Volleyball team at Andrew Hill High School in San Jose, CA. for thirteen years now. As he says, “Most of my kids will be the first in their families to graduate high school, let alone go to college. I try to use volleyball to expand their horizons and teach them life skills. The girls had a dream to take a trip to play volleyball in Hawaii and I am doing my best to make it come true this fall.”

To make the trip a reality, he is crowdfunding to help enrich the lives of his student-athletes through both sports and culture. The funds he raises will be used for air travel, car rental, lodging, and admission to cultural experiences for the girls in Honolulu. They’re currently at about 20% of their $14,000 goal – and you can help get them to Hawaii.

High school volleyball sports teams

Knocking it out of the park

Grady High School is the only traditional high school within Atlanta Public Schools without an on-site or adjacent baseball or softball field or practice facility. For decades, Grady had access to a city park across the street, but in the 1990s, the school’s teams were no longer allowed to play or practice in the park. Despite years of parent and player advocacy, the teams are still excluded from the park and still don’t have a nearby place to play or practice. Instead, the players are bused to a shared field across town for practice and games – which is 16 miles roundtrip and takes precious time out of the students’ days. To combat this, the newly revitalized Grady Dugout Club is crowdfunding an on-site, indoor batting cage and bullpen. Costs are estimated at $80,000, but how it will help the baseball and softball players grow and develop individually is priceless.

How can sports teams get going?

It’s easy for your team or school group (music, theater, business, etc) to get started fundraising for any of your needs immediately. You can get set up in under a minute.

Some prompts before you get started

  • Do your team members with particular skills that can be leveraged to create a unique fundraiser experience?
  • What are some season specific fundraisers – for instance water-related things for summer, snow-related fundraisers for winter, etc?
  • Are there any mini competitions or events the team can put on that people can participate in or watch?

5 Social Tips for Nonprofits

5 Social Media Tips for Nonprofits

It’s no secret that the world has changed and that online giving is the preferred method of giving for almost every demographic out there. But what about the social media influence on these potential donors and advocates? Are you actively trying to spread awareness and raise funds via social media? If the answer is anything but yes, you’ve gotta get on board.

Here are five tips and tricks for getting your social media followers to stick with you and help you change the world.

1. Get Short and Get Visual

Being successful on social media has a lot to do with compelling content. Of course we all think we are sharing compelling content, but what does that really mean? For a nonprofit, it’s all about story telling and that comes in many different forms.

According to Abila, the content that creates more action than any other form is a short video. We’re talking under 2 minutes. It’s the perfect way for people to quickly digest your main mission and to see a visual picture of what you’re trying to accomplish. Think about creating short videos and make it a goal to post them at least 1x per month.

2. Variety Deters Boredom

We all have that Aunt who only posts pictures of her kids and that’s great, but it kind of makes us want to stop following her. Don’t be that Aunt. If you’re looking to attract the attention of a supporter, you’ve got to change it up. And often.

Showing case study after case study of various people your cause has helped and their stories is compelling, but only when it’s amidst other content such as stats, shout outs to donors, behind-the-scenes glimpses into your organization, a milestone that was hit, staff profile, etc. Changing it up will keep people interested and make them more likely to notice your posts.

3. Engage Often

Engage your followers and supporters by offering thought provoking material. For example, turn your post into a question. Something like ‘How has a companion pet changed the way you live your life?’ for an animal cause or ‘Tell us about your hero.’ after a post about a someone battling a disease.

The goal is to get your community engaged and feel a strong emotional connection to your cause. The more connected they feel, the more likely they are to support, give and fundraise.

4. Play a Little Tag

Create a game out of your social media following and encourage people to either tag or compete for a prize.

For instance, you could be a nonprofit focusing on homelessness and show someone who made it out off the streets and into a new chapter of their life along with a call out to ‘Tag a friend who has helped you in life and thank them. We’ll pick two people who post to get a {{YOUR CAUSE}} tee shirt.’

You’ll automatically get more eyes on your cause from a really trusted source, their friend.

5. Diversify

What channels are you active on? Are you on Facebook and Twitter but not Instagram? What about Snapchat?

Facebook and Twitter are great, but they are a little less visual in their storytelling. Make sure you’ve got a good mix of channels and at least also have Instagram and if you’re really feeling good about it, even Snapchat. These latter two channels are much more about the visual and if you have good content, meaning rich photography and video, you should definitely be incorporating them into your strategy.

That’s about it. Thanks for reading all the way to the end. Gold star for you.

Crowdfunding for a Crisis

When a crisis occurs, raising money online for relief efforts can be one of the best things you can do.

There are literally tens of thousands of successful fundraising campaigns happening online right now. People are raising money for everything from environmental causes to medical research and from ending homelessness to paying for college tuition. It’s amazing to see communities rally for different causes around the world and see power of grassroots fundraising making a huge impact.

This impact is most apparent, and most desperately needed, during large crisis-related events like the earthquake in Nepal, Typhoon Haiyan or Hurricane Katrina. Before the proliferation of crowdfunding, when a large disaster struck, most of us were left on the sidelines watching footage of the devastation but not knowing how to help. Now taking action to provide relief is as easy as picking up your phone and launching a fundraiser. And that’s exactly what lots of humans are doing to help provide immediate help to those in need.

Nepal Earthquake Relief Efforts

When an 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal in May of 2015, people around the world were struck by the powerful images showing the devastation. People were inspired to spring into action and raise money for the affected areas and communities. Nearly 200 different fundraisers came to life on CrowdRise, and raised everywhere from $3,200 from We Care for Nepal to over $600,000 for the Nepal Earthquake Fund. All in all, nearly $3 million was raised in the direct aftermath of the earthquake – by individual people all across the world. Amazing.

Flint Water Crisis

When reports about the water crisis in Flint started to spread across the Internet, people were shocked about the lack of safe water in the United States. But instead of sitting idly by, dozens of people took action and started raising money to help. And from big name bands like Pearl Jam (who raised nearly $400,000) to Michigan Chivers for Flint, this expertly highlighted how crowdfunding can make a real impact and fast.

How You Can Help When the Next Crisis Happens

So the next time you see a disaster that has struck, remember that you are only about 90 seconds from creating real impact for people in crisis. Here a few tips on what you can do when a natural disaster, a long-neglected water crisis or something else unexpected happens and you want to pitch in.

1) Head to CrowdRise.
2) Search for keywords around the event. For Flint this would be: Flint, Water, Michigan, etc.
3) If fundraisers already exist (many popped up quickly for Flint), check them out. See which organizations people are raising money for. See if you think the right populations or issues are being addressed.
4) If you like what they’re doing, don’t reinvent the wheel. Strongly consider fundraising for them – instead of duplicating work and starting your own. Remember, time is of the essence in these situations.
5) If no fundraisers exist, or if you don’t see the right issues being addressed, identify a worthy recipient of funds and start your own fundraiser. It will take you 1.5 minutes. Here’s a page that will help you most effectively communicate your message.
6) Spread the fundraiser to your friends and family – and post on social media. And even reach out to media using this handy guide.
7) Keep on spreading your fundraiser.
With crowdfunding, it’s easier than ever to lend a hand to relief efforts worldwide, wherever you may be. It’s powerful stuff and it can turn anyone into a hero.

Social Action Mitzvah Projects

Mitzvah Projects and Crowdfunding

Familiar with Mitzvah projects? No? Well, in Judaism, bar mitzvahs (for boys) and bat mitzvahs (for girls) are religious initiation ceremonies for children who have reached the age of 13 and are ready to observe religious precepts and become eligible to take part in public worship.  And in recent years, many synagogues and families have begun asking bar/bat mitzvah candidates to do “tzedakah (social action) projects” as part of their bar/bat mitzvah preparations. This requirement makes explicit to these teens the idea that the mitzvot (commandments) to which they will be obligated involve not only Jewish ritual but also social action.

These young men and women have been embracing creative ways to give back as part of their process by using CrowdRise and other crowdfunding platforms to exponentially increase the impact they make with their Mitzvah projects. It’s a great way of engaging your local community around your project as well as making it easy for your out of town relatives to get involved, too.

Mitzvah Projects: Tablets for Special Needs Children

Looking for some good examples of Mitzvah projects? Check out Yarden Raelbrook’s project, who is raising funds to purchase tablets for the children at Beit Issie Shapiro, a non-profit educational development center for kids with special needs in Israel. As she said on her page, “For these children, tablets are their only form of communication and essential for their education and connection to their environment. I focused my Bat Mitzvah project on helping these children obtain the necessary technology to learn and connect with others.” Along with her campaign, she recorded an exceptional rendition of “When You Believe.” Check it out.

Mitzvah Projects: The Best Barfing You’ll Ever Witness

Adam Arkin’s brother, Ross, has Mitochondrial Disease, which is a disorder that occurs when structures that produce energy for a cell malfunction. It is a terrible affliction with no known cure. But that’s not stopping Adam from doing his thing in a totally fun and innovative way: a New Food Challenge. Adam is one of those people who will never try any new foods, but because it’s for his bro, he said he’ll make some exceptions. We’ll let him tell you the rules:

“So, this is how it works: You donate on this website and it goes directly to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF). In the comment section please include what food you want me to try. For ideas of foods that my parents really want me to try, see the picture of my BARF MENU on this website. Of course, you are welcome to suggest your own, within reason! I will commit to proving that I ate your food with a video which I’ll send you of me eating it. And, If I don’t barf, my parents will throw in an extra $5 to each donation to support the cause.

He’s at about 80% of his $5,000 goal, so let’s get him barfing and getting some money to the UMDF so they can find some treatments.

Mitzvah Projects: Shoes in Africa

Another example is Yara Levin, who is raising money for Sole Hope, an amazing organization that uses many methods to prevent jiggers – small bugs that burrow into the skin of unprotected feet and cause intense pain, causing sometimes fatal infections and diseases. The org helps with the removal of jiggers and treatment of illness in Uganda, and presents each patient with a brand new pair of shoes at the end. In Yara’s words, “My role is to cut specific shapes out of old denim to be shipped to Uganda, where shoemakers and tailors are paid a fair wage to turn them into real closed-toe shoes with firm soles that protect vulnerable feet. The purpose of this fundraiser is to raise $10 for each pair of shoes we make to cover shipping, supply costs, and the wages for the wonderful employees. My goal for this part of my project is to help provide 100 kids with a pair of shoes to wear by my Bat Mitzvah date, October 15.” She’s at 105% of her goal – meaning she has already provided 105 pairs of shoes.

As an aside, one thing that we are so inspired by here at CrowdRise every single day is how folks use our platform in such innovative ways. And being that the core of Mitzvah projects to do good, we love seeing how these young adults are using our tools for social good.

Thankin’ Your Donors

At the end of the day, the most critical part of fundraising for a cause is the donors. You can have the most inspiring cause, or the most amazing campaign video or the most compelling story, but without the donors you’re not going to raise much money. So you better be thanking donors.


Thanking donors


And since donors are the keys to the castle, that’s why we place such a heavy emphasis on thanking donors and keeping them looped on progress. Everyone likes to feel appreciated and connected to the causes they support and we make it so, so easy for you to do both for your donors.

Thanking Donors

Thanking donors is not only super easy, but is also one of the best ways to get more donations later… think about it. If you feel appreciated you’re more likely to come back and give again. Here are a few tips we’ve got for ya:

1. Thank donors as quickly as possible: As soon as you get a notice that someone donated to your cause, turn around and thank ’em. They’ll be wholly impressed with your speed and it’s three easy clicks in our system.

2. Get specific in updates: Make sure to let your donor know how their dollars will be put to good use. The more specific and tangible you can get, the better. You can easily send out a campaign update to all your donors whenever you’d like. Might even want to update your donors a couple times a week when you’re in the thick of your campaign.

3. Go old school: After the dust settles from your campaign you should consider sending a formal thank you card out to your donors or maybe even pick up the phone and call them. Showing you care is a great way to earn your donors trust and have them come back to help the next time you launch a fundraiser.

Keeping Donors Looped

When you hand over money for goods or services, you know what happens to it. It powers the lights in your home, it was that awesome meal you ate, it was that killer coffee grinder you got on Amazon. Donating to a cause can be a little more vague so the more specific you can get about where the money is going and the more regular you can update your donors, the better off you’ll be as a fundraiser.

Updates don’t have to be earth shattering so don’t be afraid to celebrate the small victories. Pushing an update to all your donors with a progress update is a great small win “We just hit the $2,000 mark and are half way to…”. Sending updates with a picture of the people or animals or project they are supporting is also a great way to keep donors informed and excited about the progress of your campaign. For a great example of using the feature, check out what Sumona Bhattacharya did with her fundraiser, Stand by Baby Tai. Also, check out a recent piece written about Sumona over at Medium.

All of these updates are really easy to do on CrowdRise and the more you do them, the more engaged your donors will be.

Last but not least, we’re here to help in every way possible so please use us. If you have any questions at all about thanking donors or using the update tool, please fire away at