Crowd FUNdraising

Ever bought a raffle ticket for a fundraising project or an entry ticket for a benefit event? Or dodged professional fundraisers at the train station? Received appeal letters from an aid organisation you once donated to? Found it hard to say no to charity telemarketers or felt pressured to support your alumni group’s scholarship program?

According to Givewell—an organisation that aims to foster a better culture of giving in Australia—in 2007, 4.2 million Australians claim giving a total of $1.8 billion as gift to over 25,000 registered non-profits with a DGR (Deductible Gifts Recipient) status. That’s 3.6 out of 10 Australians having made a donation, with a great majority of them giving an average of $210 in a year.

If not money, donation of time and skills through volunteering is not to be undervalued. For example in 2002, the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated the overall economic value of volunteer services to be worth $8.9 billion.

These stats may not even include the volunteer time and money raised within our community for the many Philippine charities and causes supported by organisations and individuals (and definitely not the “donations” or “no repay loans” to family member).

As migrants from a developing and largely Christian nation, Filipinos are quick to open their wallets for a good cause, in thanksgiving for being in a better position in this Lucky Country. When it comes to giving, the Givewell survey revealed that more donors would give more money if they had more information on charity efficiency and more assurance that the money would really go to the cause. The recent campaign for support for the Philippine Australian Cultural Centre in Rouse Hill is gaining ground in this regard.

Also gaining ground through the internet is a new innovative way for fundraising. Crowdsource funding, crowdsourcing, or crowdfunding appeals to large numbers of people for small donations, often via social media such as blogging and Facebook. Donors are happy to make outright gifts to support a project they believe in.

Start Some Good, Pozible and Give Now are platforms that have a huge online community connecting social innovators, social entrepreneurs and change-makers with the financial and intellectual capital they need to transform an idea for improving the world into action, into reality, with an impact.

Isang Litrong Liwanag (One Litre of Light), as a case in point, has made a huge impact not only in the Philippines but globally, through its hugely effective media campaign, certainly boosted by social media.  On 5 November at Granville Community Youth Centre, Aussie talents and supporters—definitely a great crowd—will raise funds and have fun in a benefit night—Spring  Out of Poverty. Switching off the light in my room now helps me realise how much impact this eco-friendly sustainable lighting project will make to ONE MILLION homes in the Philippines by 2012.  Out of the darkness and into the light.

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