An African-American toddler with his hand reaching out

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Elz Cuya Jones profile pictureElz Cuya Jones, Deputy Director

I always knew social media was a good place to waste time, get depressed and/or connect with loved ones. I recently learned that social media is a great place to fundraise for social justice.

This summer I created an online fundraiser for North Star Fund in honor of my son Bolden’s third birthday. I used Facebook, but there are lots of options available! In just minutes (while I was hovering over him in his bath, in fact) I drafted and posted a fundraiser that raised over $3,500 from my friends and family in two weeks. I could not believe how quickly I hit, then exceeded my fundraising goal.

But don’t just take it from me. In just one year, Facebook fundraisers have raised over $300 million for non-profit organizations. And in 2017, Giving Tuesday allowed thousands of nonprofits to use social media to raise $300 million dollars online, in part thanks to 1 million+ social media posts.

Social media allows any person to tap into their network and build power for a movement they believe in. But also, let’s be realistic: this capability exists right alongside the damage that social platforms have done to, you know, democracy.

I talked to Katie Lindsay, a North Star Fund donor who also posted a fundraiser for us earlier this year and she said, “Facebook made it easy to share my passion for North Star Fund’s work on a larger platform. People donated to North Star who had never heard of it before. It increased my reach with little additional effort on my part.”

Another donor, Johnny Sanchez, has said, “I was shy to ask people for donations. But when donations started trickling in to my Facebook fundraiser, I was emboldened to ask for gifts in person. Not only did I raise money for organizing, I grew as a person.”

Adam Liebowitz, my colleague here at work, used social media when he recruited new monthly donors for North Star Fund last year. He figured out it was a great way for folks to do something concrete—joining North Star for just a small monthly contribution—in a time when we’re often stressed out about how to be useful to social justice movements.

Okay, now that we’ve established that social media fundraising is easy and effective, we now come to the all important question of why? WHY should you fundraise for social justice?

  1. Because you should. I’m normally against using the word “should.” But in this case, unless you’re on the ground every day organizing people, canvassing or participating in an action, your (my) social media posts and hashtag bandwagons do little to move the needle on social justice.
  2. Because it works. Think of all of the reasons you DON’T fundraise for social justice. Because it’s hard, you have to have hard conversations, you don’t know any rich people, you are not an expert on the topic and don’t want to look dumb, etc.. NONE of that exists when you fundraise on social media. In fact, you’re in full control of the conversation by posting the photos, articles and quotes relevant to your cause.
  3. It democratizes our movement. Lots of folks are left out of the movement because people don’t know how to get involved and no one asks them to join. By creating a fundraiser on social media, you are providing an opportunity for more people to be a part of something important.
  4. Because you can. No need to expound on this one.

If you’ve ever thought about wanting to do an online fundraiser for causes you care about for a better New York, think about doing one for North Star Fund. The money you raise can support hundreds of groups at once. If you want learn more, drop me an email at elz@northstarfund.org.

And remember, the best way to introduce someone to North Star Fund is to bring them to one of our great events like People Power Lab (November 14, 2018) or the gala (April 16, 2019) so they can meet our community in action.

See you on social!

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