More than 90% of campaigns on GoFundMe ultimately fail. And for those that succeed, hidden fees and exorbitant processing charges put extra hurdles between nonprofits and funding their work. This paints a grim picture for crowdfunding, especially online giving for feminist campaigns.
What if there was a platform that combined the ideals of crowdfunding with versatile fundraising methods like direct donations, event sales, and donations through social media?
Givebutter, a (mostly) free giving platform for nonprofits, schools, student groups, sports teams, and companies, offers a convenient, easy-to-use, and–most important at all–transparent giving system that could transform the future of giving.
To be clear, Givebutter isn’t paying me to give them a great review. In fact, I found Givebutter by accident. Max Friedman, Givebutter’s CEO, went to the same university that I did, and he popped up as a suggested connection on LinkedIn. In all honesty, I got caught by the name–but when I investigated further, I got excited about the opportunities a platform like this presents for the world of feminist giving.
So, what is it?
“In the simplest terms, Givebutter is an online fundraising platform that powers donations, campaigns, and events of all kinds,” says Max. “We democratize access to best-in-class fundraising tools by making them completely free to use with low and transparent fees that are easy to understand. Everything we build at Givebutter is meticulously designed to be as effective and enjoyable to use as possible.”
Givebutter is a fundraising platform, offering the traditional donate-to-our-campaign structure that we find on GoFundMe or Kickstarter. However, it also offers seamless website integrations for direct, form-based donations, as well as ticket and attendee registration for events.
Founded in 2016 as a fundraising platform for student organizations at universities, Givebutter has grown into a whole suite of products for website donations, fundraising campaigns, and events — both in-person and virtual — used by an extremely diverse set of users, from traditional nonprofits to actual schools/universities and everything in between.
“It all started with a simple idea,” says Max. “Build a transparent, low-cost, all-in-one giving platform to help people raise more money for good causes.”
It’s advertised as a free platform–and for the most part, it is. Givebutter, like other platforms, charges a processing fee on credit card and debit card transactions and a general rate (between 1 and 5%) for every transaction. However, it gives donors the option to cover those fees themselves so the fundraiser doesn’t have to foot the bill. And according to Givebutter, 95% of donors are happy to throw in a few extra dollars.
Givebutter is also the first crowdfunding platform to offer a native integration for Venmo, a money-sharing app commonly used by Millennials and Gen Z, along with integrations for PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. As we look toward the future of feminist giving, reaching these younger generations will become ever more critical.
The bottom line is that Givebutter combines convenience with transparency for a better crowdfunding experience. This is critical for feminist funding, where every cent counts–and where strong storytelling can push a campaign over the finish line.
Unlike other platforms, Givebutter ramps up the storytelling process.
“Contrary to popular belief, people really do want to give in times of crisis,” says Max. “With recently launched features like Livestream, we have been incredibly inspired by the campaigns created to help those most in need. It has been amazing to watch communities rally around one another like never before.”
For example, Givebutter hosted the Stay in the Game Relief Fund, which raised more than $50,000 in corporate sponsor-matched donations. Through the Fund, these organizations were able to donate more than $100,000 to four nonprofits devoted to promoting diversity and inclusion in the games industry (the IGDA Foundation, Take This, the Global Game Jam, and the Games and Online Harassment Hotline, to be specific).
As Max puts it, “Givebutter offers fundraising pages that place a much greater focus than its competitors on empowering the actual supporters of a fundraiser, which creates a living, breathing campaign experience full of stories and inspiring messages of support.”
When someone reads up on the Stay in the Game Relief Fund, for example, they see a vibrant, image- and story-driven description of the campaign’s goals, along with an integrated feed of messages from actual donors. (What’s fun here is that donors can add a drawing or a gif to their donations — another appeal to Millennial and younger audiences.)
Why is this an opportunity for feminist giving in particular?
Most feminist-focused campaigns are all about the story: Through Givebutter, nonprofits and campaign organizers can reach women donors where they are, and right when they’re ready to give.
According to a Fidelity Charitable study of 3,254 donors that compared the giving habits of women in the “Millennial” and “Baby Boomer” populations, 75% of Millennial women are more motivated by their hearts than their heads when it comes to charitable donations. In addition, 71% of Millennial women are motivated to give in the moment (as opposed to taking a slower, more strategic approach to giving).
In comparison, the numbers are lower for Boomers (62% and 48% for the respective statistics), but the opportunity these metrics suggest remains the same: Women donors lead with their hearts, and can be counted on to make donations when the moment is right, particularly when their attention is captured by a gripping story.
The versatility of Givebutter’s integrations with social media offer an excellent opportunity to reach women donors (particularly Millennials) right when they’re most likely to give. Combined with the flexibility and ease-of-access of the platform, Givebutter offers an all-in-one service for nonprofits that need to juggle event planning, virtual symposiums, general donations, employer matching campaigns, and any number of fundraisers all at once.
I’m most excited about Givebutter because of its transparency policy. In my experience in the nonprofit arena and in the independent development world, I’ve heard so many horror stories about platforms like Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and IndieGoGo ripping off their users with exorbitant hidden fees. We can’t be sure where the platform will go in the future, but for now, Givebutter pledges to be free for life for organizations signing up now.
And for feminist giving in particular, where campaigns are often forced to produce exceptional results on table scraps, a platform that provides every cent possible to its users represents something very exciting for the future of technology, crowdfunding, and fundraising.
“Our vision is to build a world where every person makes giving a part of their lives,” Max says. “Over the years, Givebutter has seen more and more campaigns elevating the feminist movement. We only anticipate that growth to amplify as more individuals and groups are empowered to raise their voices. We see Givebutter as a safe and inclusive platform for all voices to be heard.”
About Max Friedman: Max Friedman is the CEO and Co-Founder of Givebutter, a modern fundraising platform powering online donations, campaigns, and events for more than 10,000 good causes. Max also sits on the board of Humans for Education, a nonprofit helping schools worldwide become financially independent, and is an occasional contributor to Fast Company’s Leadership section.
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