As I noted recently in a recent article about social media, Nonprofit Tech for Good reported last year that nonprofits that use crowdfunding raise $9,237 per campaign. That’s a very good amount of money coming from social media platforms.

If your organization is interested in getting into the crowdfunding space to raise money, here are some tips and strategies to keep in mind:

  • There are various crowdfunding sites to choose from, but some you might want to check out are: Indiegogo, Kickstarter, FirstGiving and CrowdRise. When considering which of these or other platforms to use, make it a point to carefully review how a campaign would work within a respective site, especially with regard to fees, transaction costs and whether or not you must reach your financial goals in order to receive any funds raised.
  • Think of crowdfunding as a microfundraiser. Therefore, the best campaigns that succeed are the ones that are for a special project, initiative or activity, where you have a finite period of time to raise money. Crowdfunding should not be used to raise general operating dollars as a matter of practice.
  • A good rule of thumb to use once you have embarked on a crowdfunding campaign is to seek to raise the first 30% within the first 48 hours.
  • Make sure you promote your campaign within your own donor base first. Nonprofits sometimes seem to have the mistaken notion that a successful crowdfunding campaign will occur because the money will come from new supporters. Yes, new donors play a part in a successful campaign, but it always begins with who you know and asking them to not only support your efforts but help spread the word. Always remember that your supporters are also your best advocates and ambassadors to the cause.
  • Always think of crowdfunding within the context of your own overall fundraising efforts. In order for this type of fundraising to be successful, it should be incorporated as one revenue stream, which is meant to augment other streams of income for a specific project or campaign. Keeping this in mind when planning your fundraiser will help your organization tell a consistent narrative.
  • Make sure to make it personal. For decades, the best marketers know that the best way to “sell” something is to tell a story. When you are promoting your crowdfunding campaign, people need to understand not only the facts, but in order for them to want to become involved, there has to be an appeal to their emotion. Telling personal stories about how this campaign will impact someone’s life will go a long way to helping you make the connection with donors and prospective donors.
  • When you are in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign, momentum is everything. Make it a point to share your success and progress with your supporters using a variety of communication techniques (e.g. email, newsletters, social media, etc).

Nonprofits are increasingly using crowdfunding campaigns. If your organization is new to this type of fundraising, reach out to other charities that have been successful and ask them to provide you with their tips and advice with regard to what worked. Also, ask them what they learned and what may not have worked as well as they hoped or they will be improving upon in future campaigns. Peer to peer conversations are a wonderful way for nonprofits to get information from those who are in the trenches.


© 2015 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.