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Creative Fundraising For Your Revolution

May 4th, 2012. Filed under fundraising,Social Good

You’ve found your idea, the special core that will function as the heart and soul of your revolution. You know it’s an idea with legs, and one that will go far if given the opportunity. As we all know, however, “opportunity” more often than not means having funds.. and fundraising can be one of the most intimidating and difficult parts of launching your revolution

A lot of people usually go for traditional solutions – crowd sourcing, running races, holding social events, etc. But your revolution is one-of-a-kind– why should your fundraising be boilerplate? Here are some unique ideas for sourcing funds for your revolution.

Go Graphic – Twenty plus years ago, there was a small image that started popping up in cities throughout the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. It was a print graphic of Andre the Giant, an icon of wrestling. It was simple, but compelling… so compelling that it drove people to find out what it meant. That one image snowballed into an entire artistic and social movement.

The artist, Shepard Fairey, eventually designed Obama’s iconic Change poster, and we all know how effective that imagery was. Many of us feel we have to explain our revolution upfront with text, a narrative. You don’t. You can tease people in and make them want to hear your story. If you or someone on your team has a strong eye, consider developing a striking graphic that will spur dialogue around and interest in your movement. Once you have them hooked, you can sell stickers, shirts, bags, anything branded with your distinct, compelling image.

Throw Out the Traditional T-Shirts, Please – You know what people do with traditional charity/fundraising t-shirts? They wear them to bed or to go for a jog in the morning. If they do wear them out of the house, no one sees them– that is to say, people look right through them. We’ve been so inundated with the classic charity tee that it doesn’t really mean anything anymore.

If you haven’t achieved the kind of graphic iconography discussed above, don’t go with t-shirts. People want to wear something that is iconic, unique, and distinguishes them as part of a special movement. Remember the “Livestrong” bracelets from a few years back? Raised millions. You know what doesn’t work anymore? Knock-offs of “Livestrong” bracelets. Find a unique way to brand your followers. Give them some distinction, something that pulls them out from the crowd.

Host a Flash Event - People love to attend events that they think are only for those “in” on something. Warehouse parties, mobile movie parties, and flash mob events are a great way to get a crowd going. Make it interesting, make it a bit of a puzzle. One organization in Los Angeles sends out invites a day before for movie screenings that usually take place in the middle of nowhere, and attendees have to compile clues and follow a map to get there. Use social media to spread the word, then charge a modest door fee. Done and done.

Make it Extreme – Host a fundraising event that pushes the envelope and forces people to discuss your revolution and ideas. A few years back, a fundraiser in London ran the London marathon wearing a deep diving suit. It took him more than four days, but it made a point and it got people’s attention. Another fellow once sat in a room with hundreds of spiders… of course, these types of events aren’t for everyone, but they can be a great way to get eyes on your ideas and money in your fund.

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