Think crowdsourcing is a small, trendy gimmick? Think again — as of last year the crowdsourcing market generated an estimated $34 billion, much of it for non-profits and fundraising. Crowdsourcing isn’t just for generating cash. It’s also an excellent resource for getting good ideas and developing good ideas into excellent ones. How can crowdsourcing serve as one of your non-profit’s go-to brainstorming tools?
1. Get Input From a Variety of Groups
A homogeneous group of people will usually produce lots of similar ideas. Crowdsourcing offers diversity of people, which in turn produces diversity in ideas.
Crowdsourcing is an ideal way to connect with a variety of demographic groups. In addition to ordinary citizens — each with a variety of ages, languages, backgrounds, educational levels, and abilities — you can reach specialized groups of experts, researchers, businesses, and activists. This diversity assures you a wide range of ideas, plus input on your developing ideas from all sorts of viewpoints.
2. Begin with Strong Brainstorming
Brainstorming tools like crowdsourcing should allow people to enter any and every idea they have, including the most bizarre or outrageous ones. Often, it’s the nuttiest ideas that bake into the best cookies. Some of the ideas come from industry outsiders who naturally think ‘outside the box’ because they haven’t been taught to work inside the box. Other ideas derive from experts of various strengths, educational backgrounds, and skill levels, assuring that some of the ideas are quite well thought-out and relevant to your needs.
3. Evaluate Ideas for Viability
The trouble with all great brainstorming tools is that you end up with so many ideas. It’s time-consuming and tedious to wade through all of the ideas to determine which are worth developing. Plus, sometimes it’s those easiest to bypass that end up being the best of the bunch. Crowdsourcing is an excellent way to see how the general public, as well as those industry insiders, receive the ideas.
4. Refine Good Ideas to Make Those Great Ideas
Sometimes the best ideas come wrapped in craziness. Only after thrashing it about for awhile does it become an excellent innovation.
After ideas are generated and sorted through many diversified perspectives, it’s time to take the best of those ideas and develop them into viable solutions. Again, crowdsourcing is ideal for this purpose. Crowdsourcing can help determine what types of marketing are most effective, what kinds of fundraisers are slated to generate the most revenue, where new sources of funding might be discovered, and much more. Non-profits can utilize crowdsourcing to add to existing ideas, hone and refine rough ideas, and fine-tune good ideas.
5. Spread the Word About Your Non-profit & Your Cause
Another quite natural benefit of crowdsourcing as a brainstorming tool and innovation refinery is that it spreads the word about your organization and the causes you stand for. Choose a platform that offers multiple languages, so that you can reach out to those outside your home country and into other world cultures. Have employees participate in your crowdsourcing efforts to help promote, encourage, and inspire others to become a part of the project and contribute to the innovation process.
Interested in learning more about how crowdsourcing can help you broaden your non-profit’s impact? Download our whitepaper, Crowdsourcing For Non-profits, now!