Fundraising techniques that mobilize your supporters have the power to expand both your budget and your nonprofit’s donor base. Crowdfunding, which uses the power of many to boost your nonprofit’s finances, is one such type of fundraising. Many nonprofits that try crowdfunding find that it’s a great way to inspire all types of donors to get involved with your organization and also help you meet your financial goals.
What is Crowdfunding?
When multiple people come together and collectively give to a single cause, this is considered crowdfunding. You may have heard about for-profit businesses setting up crowdfunding campaigns to assist with seed money for the latest product innovation or service. Well, nonprofit crowdfunding is no different.
Small gifts make up the vast majority of a nonprofit crowdfunding campaign revenue. In traditional fundraising campaigns, a gift of $10 or even $50 may not draw the same reaction as a major gift of $1,000 or more. However, in a crowdfunded campaign, that $10 is just as important as the $1,000 gift. It all boils down to the collective impact of every gift, small and large, combined.
Where do You Host a Crowdfunding Campaign?
To begin your journey into crowdfunding, start by deciding where you’re going to manage your campaign. In most cases, nonprofits in Canada choose to host the campaign and collect donations online through a third-party platform like Kickstarter and CauseVox.
Weigh the functionality of each platform against the cost of using it to determine which one is right for your organization. Consider features like donor tracking, impact meters, and donor options to ensure you have every tool you need to run a clean and transparent campaign.
Some nonprofits like to combine a crowdfunding campaign with an in-person event such as a 5K walk or a marathon. If this sounds like something you want to do, consider supplementing your online crowdfunding platform with physical pledge cards or peer-to-peer fundraising webpages so you collect every possible donation.
Creating a Crowdfunding Campaign
Once you know where your campaign hub will be, create a campaign theme and goal. Crowdfunded campaigns work best when they’re related to impact. So instead of setting a goal of $50,000 for operational expenses, sit down and determine the impact you want to have with the money you collect.
Having a solid grasp on what you want to do with the funds can help you shape your goals and create a campaign theme around them. For example, your nonprofit may want to raise $20,000 to fund a new program that provides at-risk youth additional after-school activities.
Next, set up your crowdfunding website. Whenever possible, include stories and images that inspire and call your audience of current and prospective supporters into action. Then, ask your donors, board members, volunteers, staff, and other stakeholders to share the campaign with others.
During campaign kickoff and also throughout the drive, pay close attention to your progress. If you’re not close to your goal by mid-campaign, ramp up your marketing efforts and create a sense of urgency to encourage your supporters to push forward and reach the goal.
After you close the campaign, don’t forget to thank all your supporters who helped make the campaign possible. Then, report the campaign totals on your website and through social media.
3 Ways to Expand Your Crowdfunding Audience
One of the biggest benefits of using crowdfunding to raise money for your nonprofit is that it opens up your audience of potential donors. Naturally, the more people who share your campaign online, the more exposure it gets, increasing the likelihood of others donating.
Here are three different ways to expand your crowdfunding audience:
- Make the campaign shareable. Add social sharing buttons so people can easily share your campaign website on social media platforms and through email.
- Always ask. Don’t just assume people will share your campaign.
- Offer perks. Encourage people to donate by offering perks such as gift matches and specialized content.
Above all, remember the power of your current supporters. Use their voices and influence to empower their own friends and family to join the campaign.
Elevate Your Crowdfunding Campaign With Best Practices
To maximize the success of your nonprofit’s crowdfunding campaign, try these best practices.
For starters, spend time carefully crafting your nonprofit story. Consider sharing a combination of client success stories and donor testimonials to emotionally connect your donor to the specific impact of their campaign gift, and explain how it combines with others to make a substantial difference. Images and videos also work wonders in putting a face to your work.
Another way nonprofits like yours are running successful crowdfunding campaigns is by providing donors options like donation tiers. Donation tiers are a straightforward way to control the average donation amount. Try creating donation tiers that align with different types of impact, and share these with your donors on the donation form. Along the same lines, adding the option for the donor to give monthly is an easy way to turn your one-time donor into a recurring donor.
Finally, always follow up with your donor after they give. Aside from the donation receipt, send a personalized email or mail a handwritten note thanking the donor and sharing news about upcoming events at your nonprofit. This helps with retention efforts down the road.
By rallying your supporters to give to your next crowdfunding campaign, you’ll mobilize them into action and possibly acquire some additional donors in the process. If you’re looking to raise money and friends for your organization, crowdfunding is a good technique to try.