What Are Your Requirements?

photo credit: quapan

Newsflash: There’s a new social fundraising platform on the horizon. Hold up—here’s comes another one. As much fun as it is to see this space evolve, change and improve—it can be a bit … well, daunting. Whether you’re an organization or a free agent fundraisier, you might be asking yourself: Where do I start?

You can try listing all your options. You might find it doesn’t take long for even an organized list to become overwhelming! There’s Mightycause, Causes, Crowdrise, SocialRaise, Chipin, FirstGiving and others—let alone deciding if you need a custom or out-of-the-box solution. Let me introduce you to what could be your saving grace: requirements.

Requirements are a part of the planning process of project management. They can be refined and narrowed as you go—but their purpose is to help focus and guide you as you develop and implement the project. So before you ask: What’s the right tool for our social fundraising efforts? Try this quick exercise:

  1. Grab a whiteboard.
  2. Write your goal in big letters across the top of the board.
  3. Underneath your goal, put together a bulleted list of things you need from your fundraising platform to accomplish that goal. Example:  A lot of my network is on Facebook. I need whatever fundraising tool I choose to be able to sync with Facebook, so I can connect with this community.

In putting together your requirements, it’s also important to do your research. This means you may want to also conduct a SWOT analysis—outlining the strengths you have for the project as well as the weaknesses you need to overcome. In addition, you’ll want to look outside your mission to the larger ecosystem and identify opportunities you can seize (i.e. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month) and threats you need to consider (i.e. there are already three local fundraising events supporting breast cancer in my community during October).

Now, with all this planning in mind, still remember: You learn by doing. For more information on where to start with social fundraising, read Justin Brady’s post where he offers up five different starter scenarios. What helpful tips can you offer to others trying to figure out the best tools to support their social fundraising effort? Bonus points to anyone that uploads a picture of their whiteboard!