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Cause Momentum Is Making A Difference Where You Live


For Making a Difference Where You Live, I’m Mike Smith. 

On this edition of our series, a double entendre.  The Community Foundation of the Ozarks fundraising platform known as “Cause Momentum”, an innovative approach to initiate support for nonprofit agencies partnering with the CFO on the project.  Basically, to cause momentum for a cause.

Louise Knauer is  Senior Vice President for Communications and Marketing with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks:  “Cause Momentum is designed to use the power of the internet, and the power of social media and the way you can share through communities of social media to raise money.  Over the summer we did what we call the Alpha Launch which was a very small scale launch, we had seven projects on there with CFO partners.  There was a wide range of projects there across our region.”  Including the acquisition of new E-books for the Nixa School Library, dental hygiene kits for kids in Fordland, and a device to make root canals easier for at the Smile Center for children in Christian and Stone County.

Louise Knauer says one goal of Cause Momentum is to provide CFO partners with new tools with which to reach new audiences, new donors:  “There’s a lot of people that don’t have check books anymore, they’re not used to traditional ways of donating or supporting organizations.  They’re growing up with a new way of doing that, and the internet and social media is a very powerful tool in that relationship they have with charity and philanthropy.”

Scott Bratcher is Digital Director at Marlin, a national advertising firm based in Springfield.  Starbucks, Unilever and Splenda are counted among it clients:  “I want digital technology to make my life better, and I think that’s something Cause Momentum is doing.  It’s a maturation of getting that technology into our lives to make a difference.”  Marlin is partnering with the CFO in both awareness and operational components of Cause Momentum.  “We first looked at what features we wanted to include, we researched a bunch of the existing platforms to see what they were doing right, and then we did an initial development that allowed us to test the ability of this platform to take a donation from an individual who wanted to donate to a project, and get that money to the nonprofit, and get that project into reality.”

Through the Alpha Phase of Cause Momentum, The Children’s Smile Center in Ozark Mo. Quickly acquired the funds needed to purchase an Apex Locater, a tool to make root canals easier and less stressful for young patients.  The Children’s Smile Center is a nonprofit dental clinic serving Medicaid eligible kids in Christian and Stone County, and Jackie Barger is its Executive Director:  “Cause Momentum provides an excellent opportunity for a nonprofit to get their message out about a fundraising need that would be smaller in nature, without having the major expenses of printing and postage of a traditional direct mail fundraising piece.  Those costs can run into the hundreds and  thousands of dollars before even one dollar comes in to the project.  The Apex Locater costs about $850.00 and we were approached by CFO to see if we wanted to be a part of the Alpha Launch of the project.  We said yes.  It was a learning process for them, a learning process for us, but we raised the money and now we’re doing state of the art work in root canals and with more accuracy, and the process goes a lot easier to get that that procedure done because of this piece of equipment we were able to purchase through the Cause Momentum program.  Through the program and social media with the costs next to zero, I can reach a lot of people to reach a total, and here’s the thing, even if they make a five dollar gift, all of that comes to us with practically no cost at all to us.”

Mike Stevens is Executive Director of the Moxie Cinema, located in downtown Springfield:  “In the big scheme of things, we used Cause Momentum to launch our overall campaign and get the word out.  It was absolutely effective.”  The Moxie’s Cause Momentum donations are directed to its CFO account, the Downtown Springfield Community Cinema Fund, in support of Moxie’s mandated conversion to digital equipment.  “We knew this was coming down the pike, that the studios were no longer going to send us 35mm film prints, and that we needed to get these new fancy digital projectors, but it happened a little sooner than we thought.  Originally we were going to ask for new seats, but we felt we couldn’t ask for anything but money for the projectors.  We ended up raising $15,000 through the Alpha phase, and quietly continued to use Cause Momentum because it was so effective a tool for taking online donations, and we raised an additional $8,000.  So we’ve raised over $22,000 using Cause Momentum.”

The Beta Phase of Cause Momentum has just become active with a new list of CFO partners participating.  is its own platform, its own URL, but we are reminded that it is “Powered by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks”.  Again CFO’s Louise Knauer:  “ We think most people will be referred through specific projects so that if you’re an agency and you post a project, you’ll have a link, and that will go to your project.  So there’s  a lot of ways for people to get into it.  The idea is the power of the internet that once you get enthused and interested in a project that hopefully you’ll be willing to share that with key people who might be interested or friends in general on Facebook or Twitter, or in real life too certainly.  So if you’re curious about it just go to and you can see the array of projects that are posted at any given time.”

For more information on the initiatives, programs and partners of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks,

For Making a Difference Where You Live on KSMU and, I’m Mike Smith.