Stuck? Feeling hopeless? Unsure of your next step? For the almost two decades Idealist has been around, we’ve been asking you—our community—to tell us about the obstacles you face when trying to turn your good intentions into action. We’ve compiled a short list of the top-reported obstacles, and now we’re blogging about them one by one.
This week we present: money.
Trying to change the world can be expensive work! So this Money Week, we’re sharing some ideas and opportunities to help you secure the cheddar you need to turn your awesome ideas into real-world action.
Nothing attracts a crowd like crowdfunding
This buzzword has become annoying to some (check out this amusing McSweeney’s send-up), but it’s been more than a flash in the pan for a reason.
In the past five years, Kickstarter alone has been the conduit for raising $918 million to help fund 53,000 creative projects. And now they’re far from the only game in town: Indiegogo, AngelList, and Crowdfunder are just a few of the other major players on the scene.
Interested in learning more about your crowdfunding options?
- This good Forbes article breaks down what different sites offer and how to find the one that’s best for you.
- See our recent guest post by the heads at CauseVox to get ideas for a workable crowdfunding strategy.
- Get the skinny on what not to do by peeping this “5 Rookie Mistakes” webinar from Indiegogo.
Show me the money
If you want to try from the reverse angle and go for funding that’s already been allotted for specific purposes, here are a few current opportunities:
- Presidio Graduate School’s Big Idea Prize “awards a full-ride scholarship to a Presidio degree program for the best ‘Big Idea’ to move the needle in sustainability.” The deadline for admission in fall 2014 is May 15 of next year.
- You don’t necessarily have to be a 501(c)(3) to apply for grants. DoSomething.org hosts a database of grants available to entrepreneurs.
- If you’re part of a nonprofit and want to get your website in order, apply for Elevation’s $1-for-$1 match program. For every dollar you spend on design, programming, and related work, the web solution company will chip in a dollar of their own. Last year they gave about $500,000 to 150 organizations.
Pick up some knowledge
Or maybe the time is right for you to hit the (proverbial) books and read a little more about different funding options. Here are a few ideas:
- Don’t be afraid of corporate fundraising—there are dollars and non-monetary support to be found in the business community. For some tips on how to break in, read this DoSomething.org Q & A.
- Online fundraising (and fabulously-named) gurus Stay Classy have a whole section on their blog dedicated to helping you get money. Check out guides such as “Growing a Community of Fundraisers,” “The 4 Phases of an Effective Peer-to-Peer Campaign,” and “Avoid the Big Mistake.”
- If you’re in a position to make grants, we know that giving money away (or doing it well, anyway) is seldom a walk in the park either: it can be tough to decide who gets funding, especially as strategies change. “Storytelling & Social Change: A Strategy Guide for Grantmakers” is a free-to-download publication that aims to “serve grantmakers interested in so-called ‘narrative strategies’ for their funding and communications programs.”
Party with a purpose
From the “mixing business with pleasure” file, here’s With Love… The New Generation of Party People—a new book and accompanying website geared toward helping you put on great fundraising parties. Find ten complete party plans with everything from invitations to music playlists to help you show your friends a good time while bringing in some cash for your cause.
Have you had a good fundraising experience recently (or a not-so-good one)? Share your story in the comments.