by Elad Nehorai
One of the interesting developments of the Internet is that people often are unaware of the ways in which it has truly, drastically change the way our reality works. Sometimes, it can take years before companies and people fully identify the way it has changed our way of life.
As a small example, when instant messaging was first invented people had to learn not to be offended when someone would leave a discussion abruptly. Sitting there, drumming their fingers, they wondered why their partner had left.
It took time for people to understand that an instant message was not the same as a phone conversation. That instant messaging is casual, allowing people to flow in and out of it. This is a big reason that chats have only recently begun to be fully utilized by businesses.
A far deeper, far more ingrained way in which the Internet has changed our lives is in regards to time: the rapidity of the Internet is something we’re only beginning to truly understand how to take advantage of.
We’re obviously all aware that emails can be sent from one part of the world to another in a matter of seconds. This exponential difference is something we’ve gotten used to… in a way. But it hasn’t been fully comprehended or accepted in all its forms yet.
For example, although Facebook has existed for over a decade now, it is only fairly recently that the term “viral” has become well-known. Although certain things have been spread rapidly on the Internet even before the inception of social media (think dancing baby), it took almost fifteen years for companies and nonprofits to fully understand the potential of virality for marketing, or that virality was something that could be more than just chance.
As CMO of Charidy, the first crowdfunding and fundraising site to require 24 hour campaigns (not 30 to 60 days like most crowdfunding sites), I’ve seen this “old world” bias play out in front of my eyes almost daily.
Although we have one other major difference between us and other fundraising sites (we require every campaign to have three ‘matchers’, or people that give the same as the small donors give during a campaign), our 24 hour rule is what always seems to raise the most eyebrows.
Although emails can be sent across the world in seconds as opposed to letters taking days, although a video can be spread in minutes as opposed to word of mouth taking days or weeks, although so much has changed in regards to the internet, it is still impossible for people to believe that a nonprofit could raise $200,000 in a matter of hours.
It is our experience, however, that 24 hour fundraising campaigns on the Internet are far more effective than 30 day campaigns. Especially when it comes to nonprofits who have built in userbases.
Why are they more effective? There are two main reasons:
- The rapidity in which people use the Internet has created an environment in which people make much quicker decisions than they used to. People may browse Amazon in the way they browse a store, but their decisions, due to the information at their fingertips, are made much faster than they ever would be in person. The same principle applies to online fundraising. If a person doesn’t give now, they are much less likely to give in the future.
- A 24 hour campaign essentially uses the same principles as viral marketing: something that is shared by many people now is far more likely to be spread exponentially further than something that is shared by many people over time. Virality isn’t just about high numbers of shares: it is also about a small time in which the item is being shared. The reasons for this have much to do with both our nature on the Internet and the way social media itself is built. Facebook, for example, shoves items that are shared by many people at once to the top of their friend’s newsfeeds. Thus, a fundraising campaign that lasts 30 days is much less likely to use Facebook’s algorithm to its advantage than a campaign that lasts 24 hours.
In essence, Charidy forces a nonprofit’s campaign to go viral. And the higher the fundraising goal, the more viral it goes. This is why we are confident we will one day be doing campaigns worth millions of dollars while still maintaining our 24 hour system. In our minds, the only reason nonprofits haven’t used our system to raise that amount is because they simply haven’t seen it done yet.
And, of course, that is the reason so many things on the web are not as transformative as they could be: we are used to a different, slower, more distant world. And so it’s hard for us to imagine a world that is truly as fast as electricity traveling over wires.
But it is. And, appropriately, it will be time itself that will prove just how fast we can all go.
[eJP note: This post is brought to our reader community to encourage thinking about new ideas – in this case, a 24 hour fundraising campaign. As our standard practice, it should not be considered an endorsement of the platform.]