The definition of a ‘microdonation’ can be tricky, or at least scalable. For many of us, a $50 donation to our favorite cause is no micro-gift. To the CEO of a bank, a $1 million gift might be small price to pay for some good PR. To the nonprofits that receive these gifts, the term is mostly understood conceptually, not as a point on the chart of benefactors.
The interest nonprofits have to garner such donations is, and we at MKCREATIVE have presented thought-leaders on this issue before – such as . Nevertheless, the ongoing economic slump has put renewed interest in such donations. has stood up recently as a champion of microdonations for the work her organization does in Detroit. Why are microdonations so valuable? Especially now?
MediaShift Blog pertains to efforts by local foundations around Detroit, MI that specialize in offering microdonations of $1ooo to $5000 to help revitalize the Motor City. Some are traditional grants in that a proposal must be forwarded and a committee forwards funds to the winning proposals. But others are social through-and-through: the funds are raised by various public means, including dinners for $5 a spot. Then the dining participants vote from the pitches given them after the meal as to which local nonprofit should take the procedes. “Overall, the general attitude about grants seems to be: less money, more often, and as public and social as possible.”at PBS’s
The renewed focus on such microdonations and their facilitators over the last year or so has come from the economic straits so many find themselves caught in. Big-time grants solve numerous problems, but often only in the short term. As the large account runs ever smaller, can a nonprofit revitalize that revenue stream? Microdonations require more day-to-day maintenance to be sure, but the intake of cash is also daily, which keeps everyone focussed on the projects at hand rather than finding the next Big Donor.
For donors, microdonation encourages a more grass-roots and democratic kind of engagement, as even dozens of $20 offerings can be huge for an organization. Moreover, many can give many times at that level, so they stay connected to your organizaton’s other events, not just the annual fund drive.
A final boon that we’d call attention to is that microdonations come strings-free, whereas large donations often stipulate how and by when the funds are to be used up. Thus a signifiant amount of the gift goes into finding the next gift. If the next major infusion is not forthcoming, or is a notably smaller amount, the nonprofit has to rejigger its organization each fiscal year.
Going small and going long thus has much to commend it. How has your organization sought out such donations?