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How to Fundraise Money for Computer Labs and Internet Cafes in 3 Easy Steps

By Wayan Vota on April 12, 2010

Do you want to deploy a computer lab as part of your organization’s programs? Yet, are you lacking the cash to pay for the technology yourself? Here is a quick guide on how to raise money for an Internet Cafe from individual donors in 3 steps:

1. Have a clear pitch for your computer lab

The world is a busy place. You want to capture your potential donor’s attention quick and hook them on your idea fast. Here’s a great example of using YouTube to do just that – ProjectFOCUS’ Bringing Solar Internet To Rural Uganda:

Note how ProjectFOCUS shows just the long-term benefits of the computer lab – health, education, economic development. They don’t dwell on the features – number of computers, type of software, etc – but give donors the big, uplifting picture.

2. Have a clear fundraising goal

Individual donors want to feel like they are contributing to an achievable goal. Show them what the goal is, and better yet, show them how you came up with the goal. Again, ProjectFOCUS does that really well with their project goals:

Short Term
Project Focus is partnering with local organizations in rural Southwest Uganda to launch an Internet Café, providing access to information and communication previously unavailable to residents of the region. The Café will also provide technology skills training, a revenue source for a local community-run primary school, and allocate space and tools for the production of creative multi-media projects.

Mid Term
The next stage may include the establishment of additional art-therapy/creative media projects, water and sanitation projects, an earth-brick income generation project, and other ideas coming from community members.

Long Term
The long-term vision embodies continual support of holistic, sustainable, community-driven initiatives in the areas of education, health care, economic development, and psychosocial needs in the community.

Even better, they also give donors and understanding of the detailed costs of the computer lab (PDF). This way, donors feel confident that their donation will cover all the needs of the Internet cafe.

3. Have an easy way to donate

It may seem common sense to make it easy for people to send you money, but too often I see donation requests leading to an email address or requests for checks(!). So let’s look one last time at ProjectFOCUS – this time at their website header, and note the call to action right at the top:

The “Invest Now” is a great way to make donors feel engaged in a beneficial, long-term project (vs. “donate now”) and it links directly to a PayPal donation page. You can also use Google Checkout or even Global Giving. The point is to make it easy to give.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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