Crowdfunding Tips for Nonprofits
Crowdfunding. You’ve probably heard of it. As a fundraising technique, it’s really taken off in the past ten years. Loosely defined, crowdfunding is any effort to raise funds from a large number of people. Numerous projects, products, services, and even companies would not have come into existence if it weren’t for online crowdfunding.
Nonprofit Directors of Fund Development are always looking for new ways to raise money. Crowdfunding is reinventing fundraising and it’s a great tool for nonprofit organizations to utilize.
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First seen in 1997, modern crowdfunding has quickly gained traction as a viable way to get projects funded. Even though it has been around for 20 years, the word “crowdfunding” didn’t get used until 2006, when Michael Sullivan launched fundavlog. And it’s really been in the last decade where things get interesting. According to Wikipedia, as of 2012, there were over 450 crowdfunding platforms. Other sources quote the number in 2012 as closer to 700, globally, with a predicted 2000 crowdfunding sources to choose from by 2016. Clearly, crowdfunding is becoming increasingly popular,
Things to Consider:
Crowdfunding is best suited for specific campaigns or a particular project. You won’t find much success if you set up a crowdfunding page for your annual holiday drive or create a general request for donations. Make your page an ask for support for a specified thing.
Crowdfunding can be a humongous help but it’s not a cure-all. Don’t expect that once you set up a crowdfunding page you will be able to walk away, saying ,”There, now we’re all set and we’re going to bring in all the revenue we need with this one thing.” Crowdfunding is meant to be supplemental to – not replace – your everyday fundraising activities.
Shop around and explore the crowdfunding landscape! As discussed above, there are so many sites available now that you really want to take the time to sort through the options and choose the one that best suited to your organization. Some crowdfunding sites are set up specifically to help nonprofits fundraise for their causes but others aren’t nonprofit-specific. The latter (including big names like Kickstarter and Indiegogo) are still designed in a way that nonprofits can use them to get money to support their mission.
- Start with where you want to create a rewards-based campaign, an ‘all or nothing’ campaign (where minimum goals are set and if they’re not met then no money is collected), or a ‘keep it all’ campaign (in which you set goals and regardless of the total received, you collect it all). Some sites support all types, some only offer one option.
- Keep you donor personas in mind – what will appeal to them? Which ones are easy to use?
- Look into the platform’s fees. Typically there is a 5% charge of fees collected plus a 3-5% processing fee on each donation.
- Check out the site’s marketing capabilities. Will you be able to easily market your crowdfunding page across email and social media?
Top Crowdfunding Platforms to Check Out Today:
Here are a handful of popular sites.