Today’s fundraising camp 2.0 in Berlin was all about non-profits and the outlook on fund raising for social causes. I personally feel very strongly about social ventures–even if they don’t qualify as an investment for us. But seeing the effort, the creativity, and the passion people put into these projects to make a difference, is both fascinating and exhilirating.
Fundraising is in a transition: the internet has opened an opportunity for more projects to attract a global audience, hence increasing the chances of being realized. While a lot of people were still debating the monetization of social networks, social ventures have already proven interesting ways of receiving money from individuals. These ventures use all aspects of social media and technology to get their things off the ground. 2aid.org, a small project from Berlin, has collected €4,000 mainly from about 1,000 followers through their Twitter-account to build a fresh water well in Africa. While it is great to hear that they succeeded collecting this much in about 6 months, some of the recommendations included rather than asking for money to reach a certain sum, it would be wiser to split up the project into pieces so that people can identify themselves more with the individual parts of the project and are also able to show-off what they were actually contributing.
It is still a nascent field in Germany with less than 5% of all donations submitted online. But we are currently living in times of ever changing means of communication and these offer completely new ways spreading information and motivating people to participate. The long tail makes a difference especially in social ventures. And with ever-decreasing costs to establish and maintain technology to collect funds and put that at work at good causes, social ventures have more prospects today than ever before.
There is still a lot of innovation necessary to get successful projects from regional to international level, e.g. fraud-prevention/detection and integration of existing social networks.
My friend Jake Harriman has dedicated his life ensuring that all of the funds will be put to work at their destination and started his own startup Nuru. This, of course, is an exception as there are only a few people who are able or willing to give up their lives for such a cause. I am sure that all of the innovation we will be seeing in the next couple of years will also help him making this a better place.
These are exciting times and I am thrilled about the future and feel admiration for everyone trying to make a difference.