One of my 2014 goals is to try and channel some of my hyper active daydreaming into social good. My experience with both startups and endurance events (such as GORUCK challenges and Spartan races) has connected me with some of the most passionate and hard working people around. Many personality traits of those active in each realm run in parallel: Resilient, Decisive, and Fearless to name a few. With these comes great responsibility, especially when fundraising efforts are involved- one wrong move and your good intentions will be perceived as self fulfilling “wins” and not as genuine charitable help others. I am fortunate enough to have several friends who own successful 501(c)(3) organizations, and along with numerous family and friends- their feedback in all of this was crucial. Thank you!
I had three goals when creating the guidelines:
1. Outline a clear path of action for any future charity/fundraising effort that can be shared and referenced by both the requester and the donor
2. Demonstrate the difference between a direct cause campaign vs. one with self/business gain (not necessarily a bad thing)
3. Set higher standards for myself when fundraising (I discovered plenty of ways to improve my own campaigns while creating this)
What prompted this?
The launch of endless crowdsourced fundraising platforms has opened a world of near “instant gratification” when trying to help yourself or others. Even those with the best intentions can launch a campaign that loses focus on the cause at hand, and even worse- leaves them with a reputation of one simply looking for others to pay for extracurricular activities (or in some cases basic everyday expenses). Couple that with a social newsfeed of you enjoying dinners out, traveling, and/or buying yourself a new wardrobe, and “Houston, We’ve got a problem”.
Before we get to the guidelines, let’s be clear on (at least for our purposes here) the definition of “Proceeds”.
I refer to proceeds as ALL of the money or goods brought in, not the NET (money or goods brought in after product costs, salaries, or other expenses). If you have to pay for a person (designer, developer, or yourself), pay for a product (t-shirt, patch, medal) or anything else associated with your campaign before paying the cause, you must use Path 1. As mentioned above, this is not necessarily a negative path- however, the guidelines do differ slightly and donors should be aware that ALL proceeds did not go directly to the cause.
Use the boxes below to help you select a path, then go to the chart and follow the steps for that path.
If you prefer a higher resolution PDF of the guidelines, go HERE.
Every fundraising effort is not a race. Some require patience and a well thought out strategy before execution. If you really do just want help with some of the expenses associated with endurance events- be clear about it, and perhaps offer something unique in return to your donors. Follow the guidelines above when creating your campaign, and share with others who may want a reference and guide to follow when creating theirs. As a donor- check to see if the campaign you are considering helping has followed these guidelines. For further inspiration- watch the Ted Talk below, fascinating insight into walls we should be crumbling to stop the roadblocks charity organizations are faced with every day.