Posted by Angela Swanson on May 13, 2014
For over 15 years I was a professional grant writer. I wrote grants for small start-up non-profits and large well established non-profits. Time and time again, community groups who wanted to support a great cause like raise money for a performing arts program at their school, improve their neighborhood park, or buy computers for a community center would ask me to write them a grant. They needed the money now. It was hard, but I had to turn them away. The grant writing process can take months of preparation and the selection process is long. Many of these groups probably could get their 501(c) tax exempt designation from the IRS but it requires a confusing and lengthy application process and it is expensive. Why go through that trouble for a few thousand dollars when there are other ways of raising money? Why not try a crowdfund campaign?
The truth is, even those with the proper tax designation and a perfect grant application does not guarantee the project will get the money it needs. The world of grant money is VERY competitive. Thousands may be applying for only a couple of grants. Your project may be the most deserving and your application might be perfect, but you may still be turned down. It isn't personal, there are just 20 or 200 more just like yours. What do the smaller groups that need money today and non-profits who try the grant writing route and want to try alternative ideas at the same time?
They fund-raise, fund-raise, fund-raise. It is hard and you have to organize volunteers but where there is a passion for what you believe in there is always a way.
1. Check with local businesses to see if they will donate for a raffle;
2. Think "outside of the box" and have a themed silent auction night;
3. I recently have come across a new type of fundraising called Crowd-funding. It has become very popular to grassroots organizations. The concept of a crowdfund is the collective effort of people who network and pool their money, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. Crowdfund is used in support of a variety of activities, including disaster relief, school projects, support of artists and community grassroots projects.
Teespring is a crowdfund opportunity. Create a slogan or design like One Fund Boston did to raise 85k for Boston relief!
Or when Chris and Shelly wanted to adopt they created a Teespring T-shirt to raise money to adopt a new addition to their family!
Create & sell t-shirts online the easy way. No paying thousands of dollars upfront, no guessing how many shirts or what sizes you'll need, and no passing out t-shirts one by one and chasing people down for cash. You can continue to sell shirts past your goal until your campaign ends. Once it does, Teespring handles printing & shipping and you get a check for the profit!
Teespring has helped raise over $200,000 for organizations, from large international efforts (Plan International) to nationally syndicated radio shows (This Week in Tech) to local charities (Autism Project RI). Here are a few examples of successful past campaigns from organizations:
It only takes a couple of minutes to launch a campaign and start selling your (undoubtedly awesome) t-shirts on Teespring. Here's each step broken down for you:
Use the online designer to create your perfect tee. You can upload your own art or work with our library of over 10,000 pieces of art and more than 50 fonts.
The next step is to set your sales goal, which is the least number of shirts you'll need to sell in order for the shirts to be printed!
The final step is to choose a title and description for your campaign! This is where you can describe the tee, link to your website, or explain your cause.
Spread the Word!
Use all Social Media platforms of everyone you know!
Here are some resources to get you started!
More Questions? Check out the FAQ Page
Crowdfunding is not only for social causes but can be used for any fundraising need. For instance, if you are trying to raise capital for a new business you also can use a crowdfund opportunity as well. There are many other crowdfund organizations out there easily searchable on Google. In my experience over the years, this would have been really helpful as a stop-gap during the grant writing process was taking place, especially for those small start-up nonprofits with little to no money. Check crowdfunding and Teespring out and see if it is a fit for your next community project or fundraising need. It just might be.
This post was compensated but based upon my research of crowdfunding and Teespring and my honest opinion of both based upon what information I found upon my research.