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Fans with Benefits – The Power of Fan Fundraising!

Call them bundlers, fundraisers, or fans with benefits—volunteers have an important role to play in your fundraising efforts.

 Asking for money generally terrifies people. Asking supporters to become volunteer fundraisers can also be challenging. Recently, some of us at Rally attended “Supporting Volunteer Fundraisers” a presentation organized by the Foundation Center with all-star panelists Jeri Howland, Deb Stallings, Danielle Thomas, and Karen Topakian. Here are three take away strategies for recruiting, empowering and rewarding volunteer fundraisers, or as we call them here at Rally, fan fundraisers.


1. Recruit the right Fan Fundraisers

Not every volunteer is a donor, and not every donor is a volunteer.  Finding the most effective fan fundraisers, however, will be a combination of both. Donors who become fundraisers are more likely to be comfortable with ‘the ask’, and can make a far more personal appeal.

Other highly effective fan fundraisers to recruit are board members. They are already donors and volunteers, and generally have strong network and a large address book of people they are comfortable to reach out to. Empowering board members with both a platform to solicit donations and a quota to meet often leads to successful campaigns.

Alternatively, you might consider using volunteer sourcing websites like and Volunteermatch. Many people want to help but don’t know where to start. Focus these people on tactical fundraising campaigns and prioritize your volunteers with your immediate goals.

The skills you need to look for in fan fundraisers are passion and engagement. It is better to reject volunteers that are not passionate about your cause than take them on board and put your time and effort into training —only to see them walk away a month later.

2. Empower Fan Fundraisers for success

Fan fundraisers are often self-selected.  Making fan fundraising as easy for them as possible.

Give your volunteers a prep session about collecting donations for your cause so that they are as excited and as comfortable talking about your cause as they are about their favorite book or movie.  Many organizations offer regular training sessions with fundraisers and board members to stay up to date on best fundraising practices and keep everyone motivated.

Build structure around your fan fundraiser program for monitoring, reminders, and check-ins. Ask your fan fundraisers to do something specifically, and give them the option to say they don’t have time so that expectations are all understood.

Most of all, talk about fundraising CONSTANTLY. Everyone needs to realize that without fundraising, all of the other items on your agenda cannot happen. From the moment you meet a new volunteer, want them to understand that being a part of the organization is not just the fun stuff relating to your mission, but relies on fundraising. Remind people that fundraising is on the table all year—even if you are only making official asks twice a year.

3. Reward Fan Fundraisers

Volunteers support your organization for many reasons.  A good cause leader is constantly aware of motivational cues, and learns how to apply rewards and praise to bring out the best in their team. Sincere appreciation is important.  Appreciation from your leadership is desirable.

Even better is appreciation from those who benefit from your cause’s existence. Personal thank you notes can bring meaning to a sometimes thankless task.

Nominate your fundraisers for internal or external rewards, and recognize progress constantly. Many fundraisers respond well to leaderboards and other public displays of effectiveness.

Always communicate regularly what is happening over the course of a campaign, and let fan fundraisers know how they personally have contributed to theprogress.

Effective fan fundraising can mean the difference between success and failure to your cause.  Empower your fan fundraisers to align their motivations, capabilities, and networks of people with your cause, and when it all comes together, great things will happen!


Did you know you can Fan Fundraise on Rally? Anyone can click “Help Fundraise” on any Rally Page and in minutes be fundraising for your cause.


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Fans with Benefits – The Power of Fan Fundraising!

At Rally, we’ve developed ways to identify how successful fundraising and storytelling happens. Today we’re rolling out a set of tools to help cause owners monitor and optimize their storytelling campaigns.

Your Dashboard Data is a Powerhouse!

The new tools on your Dashboard help answer these questions:

  • How many new donations occurred last week? How many occurred in the past month?
  • How successful is your fundraising?
  • What types of updates do your supporters view? What inspires them to donate? Text? Video? Photos?
  • How many new supporters did you get or add over time?

Rally Dashboard showing content

Rally Dashboard Donations

Track your progress with each update you post
Every time you post news on your Rally Home Page—reaching your supporter list through email updates and sharing to Facebook and Twitter—you want to understand your impact. Learn who is listening to you and what drives donations. With these new analytic tools, your Rally Home Page now displays data about each update posted on Rally. Discover what happens after sharing your story:

  • How many people viewed this post (by email update and online)?
  • What was donated as a result of this post?
  • How many people donated after viewing this post?

Rally inline analytics

FYI: All these great analytics are visible to cause owners, when signed in to your Rally account. They do not appear on your public Rally Page (and are at this time are not visible to Fan Fundraisers).

We welcome feedback and look forward to sharing more improvements in the coming weeks. Happy Fundraising! Go out there and share your story!
—Team Rally

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Fans with Benefits – The Power of Fan Fundraising!

Raise the Future Contest for VIP Pass to Netroots Nation

Rally’s Raise the Future contest ended earlier this week and we are please to announced the 10 finalists who each won a VIP Pass and hotel accommodations to Netroots Nation in Providence RI.

Each of these contestants, as well as all the contestants who participated, deserve a hearty congratulations for spreading the word about the organizations they care about, trying out Rally’s fundraising tools, and hustling the last day of the contest to recruit as many donors as possible!

Rally Fundraising Page
Julian Gaspay Washington United for Marriage 70
Janet Frishberg FemSexComm Workshop 53
Nik Swiatek Los Angeles County Democratic Party 39
Denise Heitzenroder New Leaders Council 34
Justin Bradley New Leaders Council 33
Jared Polivka National Wildlife Federation Action Fund 33
Max Kamin-Cross Washington United for Marriage 29
Kevin Bard Kevin Bard for San Francisco DCCC, AD 19, 2012 26
Kate Maedeer New Leaders Council 24
Benjamin Goldsmith America’s Impact 22


In addition to the individual causes people chose to fundraise for, we at Rally would like to thank the progressive causes who partnered with us for this experience:

Elizabeth Warren for Senate 
National Wildlife Action Fund
NARAL Pro-Choice America
Washington United for Marriage
Truman National Security Project
New Leaders Council

What do you Rally for?

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Fans with Benefits – The Power of Fan Fundraising!

A warm welcome to Clay Woolam and Tarik Ansari to the Rally team!

Clay joins us as our in-house data scientist. He is an accomplished researcher and computer programmer with a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering and Masters degree in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Dallas.Clay moved from Dallas to the Bay Area to join the fast paced world of Silicon Valley startups. When Clay’s not working his magic at Rally, you’ll find him enjoying San Francisco wearing a Member’s Only jacket with Charlie by his side.

Tarik joins us as a Rails Developer. Tarik grew up in France and has studied in London, Mexico and China. A world traveller, he decided to make San Francisco his home (and we’re glad he did!). With dreams of changing the world one keystroke at a time, Tarik is passionate about startups, renewable energy and individual civil liberties. With a love for the outdoors and a sweet-tooth, Tarik can’t live without his bicycle and the local bakery’s semi-sweet cookies!

We’re very happy to have both Clay and Tarik (and Charlie) at Rally! Welcome guys!

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Fans with Benefits – The Power of Fan Fundraising!

Are you new to Rally ? If you’re wondering how easy it is to customize your Rally Page and Donation form, watch this short video tutorial for a quick overview. It’s simple, easy and it just two short minutes you’ll be on your way to fundraising success!

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Fans with Benefits – The Power of Fan Fundraising!

Rally is excited to be the fundraising platform of choice right in it’s own backyard in San Francisco. In a city where you can’t walk a block without running into someone starting a company or sharing their idea to change the world, a number of startups are participating in some unique competitive fundraising events. We recently caught up with Dan Murphy a team member at Udemy and one of the co-founders of along with Max Altschuler and Holly Mac. 

Rally: What is PushUpCharity.Org?

Dan: It all began about a month ago—we started doing pushups in the office as a way to keep fit and re-energize at work. We loved what we started and had this brilliant idea to get more companies involved and have a pushup challenge for charity! We told a few of our startup friends about our cool idea and everyone was pumped to do it. Thus, PushUpCharity.Org was born! Rally.Org is the online fundraising platform for this event and each participating startup also has Fan Fundraising page on Rally.  Don’t forget to show us some love at

We’ve got some badass DJ’s, free drinks and promise you an event that will keep you begging for more! Bring your friends, grab some tickets and come on over to cheer for your favorite startup! We want this event to kick-start a series of similar fun-filled evenings that benefit charitable organizations. So you never know, you could be up on stage the next time showing off some of your cool skills!

Rally: Who’s participating and how can I attend?

At this inaugural event GitHub, Udemy, 99designs, HotelTonight and Zaarly will get up on stage IN COSTUMES and compete in this push up challenge – the first team to finish 100 push ups wins!

Our goal is to raise $12,500 in donations for organizations like and We want to build a community of people who have fun and support charitable organizations in the Bay Area.

Get your spectator tickets at PushUp Charity. See you there!

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Fans with Benefits – The Power of Fan Fundraising!

A Spring Release: Simplicity & Storytelling

Since launching Rally we’ve listened to your feedback and observed how you use Rally to share your cause and raise money. Together, we’ve learned a lot. Today we begin rolling out a number of improvements in response to what you’ve shared, and what we’ve observed.

We’re dedicated to making fundraising and storytelling on Rally a simple, yet rewarding experience.

Taking it from the Top
To start, we’ve redesigned the top navigation to reflect what you do most often on Rally: sharing stories and updates about your cause, monitoring your fundraising progress/managing donation details, and customizing your Cause and Donation Pages. Accordingly, Rally now has three top level navigational elements: Home, Dashboard and Settings.

Rally fundraising sample Home Page

Share your story on the Home Page

Home is now where you tell your story—whether you are posting a message, sharing a photo, or linking to a video about your cause. Your Home page gives you a sense of what your supporters see when they visit your Cause Page and also an easy way to edit and monitor what is posted there.

A note about Donation Pages
In response to many requests, and to keep things simple, the design of your Cause Page will carry over to the design of Donation Page. Whatever colors, images, logos, or fonts you selected for your Cause Page will also apply to your Donation page. Visit the the Settings section to customize this design.

One cause. One donation page. We found that causes were more effective when they concentrated their efforts fundraising with just one donation page. Now, when you create a cause on Rally, you have one dedicated donation page ready to go. (For the few causes who in the past who had multiple donation pages for their one cause, those pages will remain active, but you will not be able to make additional donation pages).

Your dashboard continues to be where you manage supporters, donors, and financial transactions.

Since launching Rally, our team has been developing ways to identify how successful fundraising and storytelling happens. In the coming weeks we’ll begin rolling out a new set of tools for cause owners. They’ll help you understand what raises the most money and engages the most supporters. We’ll let you know when that happens.

Customizing the look and feel of your Cause and Donation Pages is an important part of fundraising. To simplify this, we’ve moved the Cause and Donation Page settings to a new Settings section and improved the customization.

The new Settings section is also where you link your Facebook and Twitter accounts to your Home Page. When posting updates on Rally, in addition to the email updates that are sent to the people in your Supporter List, you can also select whether to post to Facebook and Twitter—reaching even more people.

Rally fundraising sample settings page

All your settings are in one place.

What next?
Keep up the good work! Keep sharing your story. Keep reaching out to your old networks and reaching new ones. Keep letting us know what works and what doesn’t. We love to hear from you.

-Team Rally

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Fans with Benefits – The Power of Fan Fundraising!

Raise the Future Contest for VIP Pass to Netroots NationFor those progressives out there who want to attended Netroots Nation this year and care about supporting the causes you care about, “Raise the Future” has just extended the contest deadline to May15th!

Get started today by spending just a few weeks reaching out to your friends to raise money for any of the 6 causes that have partnered with Raise the Future or choose your own cause. Use’s fundraising tools to collect donations.

The really interesting part? The 10 scholarship winners with be decided on by how many donors you engage, not how much raised. Creative online fundraising techniques earn bonus points.

Get Started
Follow the contest on Twitter
Stay updated with daily posts on Facebook

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Fans with Benefits – The Power of Fan Fundraising!

Rally Recap of NTC took part in this years 2012 Nonprofit Technology Conference and interviewed the speakers from the most prominent and innovative sessions. Hear about the latest trends in nonprofit technologies as some of NTC’s keynote speakers answer some of our questions and recap different conference sessions.


Shoutout to the North Pacific String Band for their wonderful music, as well as Ian Micklewright for editing.


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Fans with Benefits – The Power of Fan Fundraising!

Svetha JanumpalliGuest blogger Svetha Janumpalli is the Founder & CEO of New Incentives, an organization that enables people to directly invest in individuals and households in the developing world, and then sustain those investments for free over time. Prior to founding New Incentives, Svetha spent time with the Grameen Bank and the Center of Evaluation for Global Action. 

From Text2Give to mobile apps, there are multiple ways non-profits can become involved with mobile technology. As Clam Lorenz of PayPal noted, people are expected to spend over $7 billion from their mobile phones this year alone. What does this mean for non-profits? We have a lot to gain if we approach mobile giving strategically.

Unfortunately, thinking about going mobile is a dwelling task. Thanks to a scholarship from Rally to attend the Innogive mobile giving conference, I found an easy place to start. Most online donations come from clicks through emails. Today, many emails are read on mobile devices. Before diving into mobile apps and text campaigns, non-profits can:

  1. Optimize emails for readability on mobile devices
  2. Ensure emails contain easily visible links to your website
  3. Increase page load speed because mobile users get bored easily
  4. Utilize responsive web design

For great resources on responsive web design, check out the following post by Beth Kanter: In this post, Kanter also discusses Goodwill, which is a wonderful example of an integrated mobile strategy.