“Habitat has land to build on, families in need and volunteers willing to work,” he said. “All we need are financial resources to accelerate our mission,” Artecona said.
Web-based formats like Give Miami Day make it easy for people to give money, and easy for nonprofits to promote the event through social media, email and other electronic means, Artecona said.
“In the past, people had to wait to get a mailing from us, then we’d make them fill out a form, then we’d ask them to mail in a check. There were a lot of hoops to jump through,” he said. “With online giving, people find a cause that pulls at their heartstrings and, with a couple of clicks, they’ve made their donation. The immediacy makes it very attractive to today’s generation.”
Emotions and immediacy are central to Weston teen Michael Stolzenberg’s drive to raise $50,000 by Dec. 15 for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.
A bacterial infection several years ago forced doctors to amputate Michael’s arms and legs. Through prosthetics and rehabilitation, he regained the use of his limbs and now plays lacrosse on his middle school team.
Michael and his older brother, Harris, set up the charity Mikey’s Run this year after the Boston attack to raise money for victims who underwent amputations. They recently set up a page on MicroGiving.com to help them reach their goal.
Launched this year, MicroGiving is the new crowdfunding arm of DonorCommunity, a Sunrise-based web company that won first place in the Miami Herald’s 2011 Business Plan Challenge.
MicroGiving donors already have given several million dollars collectively to more than 1,000 individual projects. The site doesn’t have nonprofit requirements for its projects, which range from a woman asking for $500 so her cat can have a tooth pulled to a campaign like Mikey’s Run.
“With MicroGiving, we wanted to provide a vehicle where anyone can go and put their causes out there, whether it’s a Pop Warner football team or someone with cancer who can’t afford treatment,” said David Blyer, founder and CEO of DonorCommunity.
Blyer noted that his team works to verify all hardship cases, vetting documents and putting a badge on pages that have been successfully screened.
Crowdfunding sites, most of which take a small cut from successful campaigns, allow potential donors to zero in on projects and organizations that matter to them, Blyer said. MicroGiving groups fundraisers into categories like art, technology, education and domestic violence to help donors find a good connection.
“People really want to know where their money is going, and crowdfunding lets them do just that,” he said. “Reading the story behind something like Mikey’s Run or a new initiative at a local Boys & Girls Club can trigger something that says, ‘I want to give to that.’”
Other sites cater to, or have expanded from, specific fields in need of funding.
Indiegogo started in 2008 as a platform to help fund independent film projects, but it soon expanded into other creative industries as well as entrepreneurial pursuits and nonprofit groups.