60 Days

Having now left the financial security of a full time job in order to focus my energies on Oceans Project, I have set myself the target of 60days in which to raise as much money as possible, especially for our expeditions.  The time starts from the approval of our CrowdFunding page, and I estimate the deadline to be around the 6th May.  I aim to raise around £500k.

It’s a massive task, but I like a challenge, and if we succeed it will mean a lot to the young people involved and will establish us as a really significant NGO here in Georgia.  I have been researching how we can best use social media, and I’m now going to outline some of the stages in this task….not a particularly interesting topic, but I hope it might help anyone who happens to be setting up an NGO or wondering how to promote their own project.  The ideas are not in any particular order, and I will follow up with several blogs as I go through each stage. Here are today’s suggestions:

Slide Share

This facility allows you to upload powerpoint presentations so that anyone can view them.  I was looking for something like this for a while, especially for my geography teaching blog.  I also plan to upload our Oceans Project slides to here as well, as a way of showing up in search engines and perhaps attracting a few extra folk.  They have more than 74 thousand followers on facebook, and lots of businesses upload their details here: http://www.slideshare.net/

Facebook

An obvious one, but its a really good way to reach a lot of people, especially if you set up a group or ‘like’ page.  Here is our Oceans Project Group: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Oceans-Project-Georgia/233653316691866?bookmark_t=page To make the best use of facebook, you need to be active, generate interest and find similar or like minded groups to spread the word.  Fundraising is all about personalising your message, presenting it, and persistance in promoting it. I haven’t done any of this before now as I haven’t had time, but it is one of the things I really need to focus on over the next 60days, and also ahead of my my South Pacific Ocean Row.

I’ve already set up the group, and it is time now to encourage current members to add their friends and to get their friends to invite their friends.  I also need to launch our fundraising event/campaign on there once we have the CrowdFunder widget.  It’s really important to put regular updates and messages, and also to send emails to group members, but not too many that you become annoying!  If you can find a sponsor, then a great way to create interest is to say that you will donate £1 for every new member who likes the page, or something similar.  This is not an option for us, but it is worth considering for other causes, especially personal ones.  A similar idea is matched funding if you have a donor, so you encourage your members to raise x amount within a set time, and whatever they raise, the matched donor will donate too.

If there is an interesting date related to what you are raising funds for, then you can also encourage people to donate £1 on that day in memory of something, again, not something for everyone, but it can work if you are remembering a loved one or want participants to do something special.  In our case, this could be World Oceans Day, Earth Day, or something similar.  Or, instead of money, get them to donate their ‘status update’ for 24 hours as this will help generate interest in your cause.

Facebook also has a lot of different widgets and applications which can be used to promote your project, one of them is change.org (http://www.change.org/).  The idea with this is to start a petition for your cause, mobilize support, and then hopefully bring about change in the higher ranks.  Encourage others to sign your petition and to promote it.

If you have a paypal account then you can sign up for a JustGiving account (UK) or a ChipIn account (USA), spread the widget and hopefully collect donations (http://www.chipin.com/).  FirstGiving is a similar tool, with options for individuals and for non-profits (http://www.firstgiving.com/).

The facebook tool that most appeals to me and what Oceans Project is about, is the ’causes’ application.  Here you can write a bit about who you are, what you do, your aims, links to your campaign, and then you can share your page with any other facebook users.  I am hoping that this will help to bring about awareness of us, and I also plan to find out what other causes are also up and running, as we need to make some connections with others around the world who share similar goals to us.  One example, would be EarthEcho, a not for profit environmental and ocean conservation organisation set up by Philippe Cousteau and his sister Alexandre: http://www.causes.com/causes/19354-earthecho-international

There seem to be a lot more applications: ammado, crowdrise, twitpay (for twitter), fundly, and razoo…..

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About Sarah Rows Solo

British YouTuber and Founder of Environmental and STEM education charity Oceans Project, preparing for a solo row around the coast of Great Britain.
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