Personal Fundraising – 5 Ways to Fund Your Creative Social Project
From organizing a grassroots community improvement project to creating an eye-opening documentary to writing a nonfiction book about marginalized people, you can do a lot of good to make our world a better place! And you don’t necessarily need to use a crowdfunding platform. There are other resources for successful personal fundraising.
If you are an aspiring individual do-gooder but lack financial resources and agency affiliations to make your project a reality on your own, you can still fundraise from outside sources to make your project a reality.
Here are five ways to help with your personal fundraising for individual projects that help our world:
1. Fellowships and stipends
One of the best ways to succeed with personal-fundraising for a project that has potential to be shared or published for the greater good is through academic or independent fellowships.
- Hundreds of opportunities for students or recent graduates to study abroad or in the United States, regarding issues that have social importance, are open for application. Fulbright funds individual research projects almost anywhere in the world, with the goal to increase mutual understanding between people in the United States and those in other countries. Researchers can be students or young professionals, and you only need to be interested in a topic with a basic plan for study.
- Dozens of renowned programs, such as the Carey Institute for Global Good, will fund writers for journalism or book projects, hosting them for up to a year to write and reflect with other professionals and even help with marketing and distribution.
- If you have a project in mind that can help advocate for social justice or democracy building, or any type of international or domestic inclusion, you could be eligible for an Open Society Foundation Fellowship.
- Hundreds of grant programs fund travel for artists or investigators for social good. The Foundation for Arts Initiatives gives 15 travel grants of $7,500 annually. The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting funds writers to research and publish articles of import on hot topic problems.
- Dozens of small and large grants alike are available from the U.S. government for individuals to pursue projects of either historic preservation or environmental conservation, especially if the project has an added community benefit. Under the Farm Bill, the USDA gives millions annually to help preserve farming heritage and local food networks, to individuals and businesses alike.
- Dozens of programs are available for fledgling film producers that want to make a documentary about a social justice theme. The Ford Foundation’s JustFilms program, for example, partners with Sundance Institute and directly funds films that support “underrepresented and deserving filmmakers who highlight courageous people confronting difficult issues and actively pursuing a more just, secure and sustainable world.”
- The US government directly aids artists, writers, and film makers alike through several programs of the National Endowment for the Arts.
3. Corporate sponsorship
Corporations generally give 5% of income to charitable organizations, directly or via their foundations, for a tax break. Marketing and advertising budgets are much higher, however. Startups dedicate up to 30% of costs to spread their word, and corporations in general average 10-12%.
If you can help a corporation meet its advertising and marketing goals with your project, you could pitch a successful sponsorship appeal. The key is to match their goals with your impact or intended audience. If you want to produce an online video series, for instance, make sure you show that you are targeting the same market demographic that the corporation wants to reach, and also that you will be successful at penetrating a large portion of that market.
4. Investors for social entrepreneurship
Even if your primary goal is not to make money, if your project is successful, you might be able to show that you can generate enough revenue to attract an investor. (More about Social Enterprise.)
5. Crowdfunding or online fundraising
Crowdfunding sites have become the most popular means to raise funding for a small, independent project. You can do so by using either a donations site (direct contributions to raise capital) or an investment site (where people actually buy small shares of your project).
- Kickstarter is the most successful and popular globally for capital for creative projects, and is relatively low-cost and easy to use. Note that Kickstarter does not allow personal fundraising for purely charitable projects.
- Crowdfunder is a leading site to post a project for investment. Investors can buy shares at set amounts of your choosing to your project for established or flexible returns.
From crowdfunding for a small community project to seeking hundreds of thousands in grants and fellowships for your socially compelling documentary film, any individual can make a project for social good happen!
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>> Read more articles by Devon Reeser
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