3 ways you can make a difference for free

30 October 2016
3 ways you can make a difference for free

New Methods of Fundraising

Many fundraising activities involve asking friends and family for money in exchange for performing a certain activity like a run or bike ride. However many of us would like to support but are not in a position to donate money. There are now creative new ways of fundraising which don't cost us a thing and in fact can leave us better off ourselves. Two such growing initiatives are "Crowdfunding" and "No-Cost Fundraising" 


Crowdfunding has a long history and has been used in many guises but the first recorded example of modern crowdfunding appeared in 1997, when fans of the rock group Marillion joined together to raise USD $60,000 to fund a tour. Since then, the crowdfunding craze has gone from strength to strength. Essentially, it’s a method of fundraising in which members of the public can invest in a business, fund a creative project, or donate to a charitable cause. With this approach, a little can go a long way and this was evident in the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign where his team raised over $26 million for his presidential campaign in one month with an average donation of less than $27 per person.  

Crowdfunding has experienced phenomenal growth in the last 5 years. in 2012, it was estimated that the crowdfunding industry raised $2.7million (USD). By 2015—just three years later—that has shot up to over $34billion (USD). Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Mycause, are getting more and more popular and make it easy for you to set up and market fundraising initiatives. The great aspect about crowdfunding is that you know where your money is going and you don't have to make a huge donation to make a big difference.

Of course, crowdfunding still involves some measure of asking for donations, be it from friends and family or complete strangers. But what about those people who want to help but don’t have any money to give? That’s where no-cost fundraising comes in, and it’s an initiative that is growing hugely in popularity.   

No-Cost Fundraising 

It might seem counter-intuitive to talk about fundraising without donations, but it’s actually a very clever system – and more importantly, it works! The idea behind it is steeped in the idea of social enterprises and is about people choosing to use businesses who give back to the community. Unlike cause-related marketing which uses charity to increase profits. No-Cost Fundraising puts the cause at heart of the business and is working to achieve positive outcomes for the community.  

Three Routes to No-Cost Fundraising 

It's easy to use No-Cost Fundraising to support your favourite causes. Here are just a few ways of how you can make a difference.

1. Choose Social Enterprises
Social enterprises are becoming more and more prevalent, making no-cost fundraising even easier. Take "Good Spread", for example. Every time you buy their peanut butter, they donate a packet of peanut-based MANA (a Ready to Use Therapeutic Food, or RUTF) to suffering children all over the world in order to combat malnutrition. Switch from your regular supermarket brand to Good Spread and you will have helped spread a little love in the world. 

You can also support some of the very worthy initiatives that Energy Pledge are supporting and save money while you are at it... all at no cost to you! It’s a simple and effective system in which Energy Pledge helps its customers find a cheaper, cleaner energy provider. That’s where the fundraising begins, because they receive a payment from the respective energy provider you switched to, and donates 40-50% of this to your selected cause. What is there to lose? Not only will your bank balance be a little healthier every month but your decision to use Energy Pledge will have gone a long way in helping others too. 

2. Participate in Research
There are many companies out there that make a charitable donation on your behalf, as a thank-you for the time you’ve given in participating in the research. Energy Pledge is one of those companies, and as well as saving you money on your energy bills and donating on your behalf, you can take part in research in exchange for your time, Energy Pledge will donate to your favourite cause. Donations depend on how much time you are able to contribute. To enquire, email contact@energypledge.com.au.

3. Spread the Word
One of the best ways to fundraise without spending money is by helping to spread the message. Talking about the cause with friends and family and sharing the cause on social media go a long way in raising awareness and often, a boost in awareness will mean a boost in fundraising for that cause. 

A great example of this is phenomenally successful Ice Bucket Challenge in support of the ALS Association back in 2014. The craze took social media and the world; by storm and involved people throwing buckets of iced water over the heads and nominating friends to do the same, all in the name of ALS. Interestingly, the purpose of tipping the ice bucket over your head was to avoid having to donate. However, the fact that it went viral on social media (with some very creative and funny challenges), not only improved awareness of ALS, but over the eight-week period, the association raised a massive USD $115million, USD $77million of which was dedicated solely to research . As a direct result of the campaign, a new ALS gene (NEK1) was discovered  and treatment for the disease has improved significantly. 

These are just some of the great ways that you can raise funds without having to donate money. With the above approaches, every little contribution can go a long way to make a massive difference. So the next time you are fundraising for an initiative, consider platforms that can help you to encourage people to support your cause in different ways.

One of our favourite ice bucket challenges....