Is crowdfunding the same as a donation?

indiegogo-smI am hosting the last in the series of 3 salons devoted to issues facing non profits. The first looked at boards and was a valued and vibrant conversation with board members and non profit execs and staff at the table. The second examined my fav topic, volunteering. The results were a couple of key insights, and the acknowledgement that the topic was large and worthy of many focused conversations.

For the last in the series I am covering what would appear a natural 3rd topic, money. Specifically individual and corporate donations and sponsorships. And yet, the demographic of this last salon is decidedly mature. This salon caught the interest and commitment of the experienced set coming from more classically non profit segments.

And yet this is a topic that should draw the many emerging social enterprises as they need to rise above the bootstrap funding model. Is my terminology no longer relevant? Should I be specifically talking crowdfunding rather than donations? Is crowdfunding any different than passing the collection plate in church?

Of my 3 topics, this one might have the greatest need for a blending of old techniques and new methods. Positioning a pitch for a corporate sponsor, and keeping a loyal donor happy are age old concepts. Add the global reach of the internet and galvanizing power of social media and you never know where your next donor will come from.

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