Kickstarter boasts the largest crowdfunded campaigns on the internet, and the platform attracts about $1,000 per minute in donations. Consider tapping into that potential for your nonprofit organization. You just need to understand the basics of setting up and marketing a campaign.
Nonprofits and Kickstarter
Kickstarter encourages nonprofit organizations to use its crowdfunding site. However, you can’t just solicit for random donations. You need to use the site to fund a specific project. Kickstarter is designed to kick-start something into being. For example, you could create a Kickstarter campaign to set up an after-school program for troubled kids, to move into a new space, to fund new equipment or for other creative endeavours.
Kickstarter campaigns should have a snappy title and a picture that entices viewers right away. Most potential donors will see the campaign for the first time on social media, and if the title and photo aren’t alluring, they may just keep scrolling. To maximize your campaign, consider making a video. Interview people who will be helped if the project is successful, or create a relatable story potential donors will want to share. You may also want to include incentives for different levels of giving. For example, anyone who donates over $500 to your building fund receives an engraved brick in the lobby.
To get the ball rolling, share your campaign on all of your social media accounts, and even consider a paid post to promote your Kickstarter efforts. If possible, reach out to donors who don’t follow you on social media. Send out emails and snail mails, put a link to the campaign on your website, and run ads on traditional media.
If you run a registered Canadian charity, you can set up your Kickstarter campaign so that the pledges are tax-deductible for your donors. From a tax perspective, all the donations you receive through a Kickstarter campaign must be treated the same way as any other revenue that flows into your organization.
In addition to the time you spend shooting a video and setting up your campaign, you should also consider the direct costs involved. Kickstarter runs an all-or-nothing platform. You set a financial goal, and you only cash out if you meet or exceed that target. If your campaign doesn’t meet its goal, all of the money is returned to the donors, and you pay nothing for the service. If you meet or exceed your goal, you pay a percentage of each donation to Kickstarter. As of 2017, Kickstarter keeps 5% of the funds collected and charges a processing fee of 3% plus 20 cents per transaction. For donations under $10, the company charges a micro-pledge rate of 5% plus 5 cents per pledge. Ultimately, you need to decide if those costs are worth the exposure. Otherwise, you may want to stick with your tried and true fundraising methods.