As any nonprofit has learned in the past few years, funds are tight. As a result, many charities and nonprofits have found themselves struggling to raise funds through new and innovative means.
In the American Muslim philanthropy world, this couldn't be more true. In the larger communities, people have become used to large-scale banquet fundraisers. This has been the case for many years in communities such as Chicago, Los Angeles or in the San Francisco Bay Area.
But with donors spent out and nonprofit funds drying up, many have turned to new methods of raising funds.
In recent months, the success of micro-giving has been huge. And with the lighter and more relaxed laws on corporate funding, micro-funding and crowdfunding websites such as IndieGoGo and Kickstarter have flourished, consequently allowing the door to open for nonprofit campaigns.
Crowdfunding campaigns are simple -- a nonprofit sets up a campaign on a crowdfunding platform and indicates a fundraising goal. The campaign is then blast across social media portals, calling for people to donate small amounts.
It's power through numbers. The campaign attempts to go viral over social media while generating numerous small contributions. But the small contributions add up, as does the hype around the campaign, sometimes with amazing results.
Take, for example, the September campaign to raise money for the mosque in Joplin, Missouri.
The mosque, which suffered as a result of an arson attack, raised over double the funds in its original goal set on IndieGoGo. The campaign, which was launched by members of the Joplin Muslim community in collaboration with Shahed Amanullah, raised $410,662 through online donations.
A more recent attempt at IndieGoGo as a platform for funding is the scholarship drive from the Silicon Valley college preparatory academy, Averroes Institute, to raise funds for one full academic scholarship for the year 2014. While the Averroes campaign is only in its infancy, it's only one example of inspiration from the success of the Joplin Mosque campaign.
With the recent popularity, new Muslim crowdfunding websites have launched, too. The site Halalfunder aims to serve the same purpose as IndieGoGo, but within the Muslim community.
Is crowdfunding the way of the future, as far as fundraising goes?
It's hard to say as of yet, but if the Joplin Mosque story is any indication, crowdfunding could replace the fundraising banquets in the coming years.