Crowdfunding has attracted a lot of attention in the past few years. From charity successes to independent projects, it’s a great way to raise a large amount of funds in a short time. However, some nonprofits are calling the effectiveness of crowdfunding into question because the purpose has expanded far beyond the original use. Recently, people have started using crowdfunding to pay for their weddings, and in one notable example, a man raised thousands of dollars to make potato salad.
The potato salad example has been ridiculed by many, but it actually turned out to be a great example of how a viral campaign can accomplish something good. In July, Zack Brown jokingly started a Kickstarter asking for $10 to make potato salad for the first time, CNN reported. The campaign instantly went viral and he was flooded with donations, even though the fundraising page included the warning, “It might not be that good. It’s my first potato salad.” The Kickstarter raised a grand total of $55,492 within a month. After the first day, the campaign had raised $200, which Brown thought was too much. However, he decided not to keep any of the funds for personal gain.
From potato salad to charity
This campaign was possible because Kickstarter eased up on its rule that campaigns had to be reviewed before going live, according to The Guardian. Because of the overwhelming response to the Kickstarter, Brown decided to throw a potato salad party in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, and it turned into a charity event. Brown was approached by the Idaho Potato Commission and mayonnaise company Hellmans to put on the PotatoStock event in Columbus. Both organizations donated supplies for the potato salad.
With the funds, Brown teamed up with local organization The Columbus Foundation to create an endowment of $20,000 for other local charities combating hunger in the area. More people donated at the event, and Brown plans to add these funds to the endowment. Everyone who contributed to the campaign was offered free entry to PotatoStock where Brown personally made 300 pounds of potato salad.
Implications of viral fundraising for nonprofits
Currently, approximately 44 percent of Kickstarter campaigns reach their goals, The Guardian stated. While the success of this particular campaign was largely due to the Internet’s love of the ridiculous, crowdfunding could be a valuable way for organizations to increase donations. This type of campaign can connect your charity with new donors. In addition, independent fundraisers will bring in larger donations than individual contributors would make. Because of the viral nature of crowdsourcing, organizations can also raise awareness about important causes. After donors give, they can share campaign information with their social networks to reach others who may be interested.
Mobile is fundamentally changing fundraising as a whole, and organizations need to adopt innovative solutions to succeed. New technology and fundraising channels can make a huge difference.
Empower your supporters to crowdfund like this with peer to peer fundraising!
The MobileCause peer to peer fundraising solution allows nonprofits to drive constituents to their own website to start crowdfunding campaigns. From the convenience of smartphone each fundraiser gets their own donation page with link. Mobile integrated fundraising pages are customized for the volunteer and designed to maximize donations across mobile, social and online. Additionally each fundraiser gets a donation keyword that they can use to collect donations! Best of all organizations can see who is fundraising and how much has been raised in real time. Donations also are 100% secure and go directly to organizations with full donor data. Here is what Zack Brown’s page would have looked like if he were fundraising with a MobileCause peer to peer fundraising page.