If there’s one thing that’s certain in the world of online fundraising, it’s that nonprofit organizations of all shapes and sizes can’t get enough of crowdfunding.
Whether you’re a traditional philanthropic organization, a faith-based association, or a school, crowdfunding is one of the fastest, simplest, and most rewarding ways to connect with supporters online and leverage their excitement into fundraising success.
You probably already know the basics of how crowdfunding works. Organizations create campaigns with fixed, often short-term timelines that are designed to raise funds for a specific project.
The organization then spreads the campaign across social media and calls on its supporters to share the giving page with their friends, family, and coworkers. This allows institutions to reach far more potential donors than they would have using a more traditional fundraising method.
Crowdfunding has never been more popular, but even though it’s a favorite fundraising strategy for organizations of all kinds, your nonprofit may not be making the most of your campaigns.
Ready to learn how to make your next crowdfunder stand out? Check out some of our favorite crowdfunding tips, including:
- Choose the right crowdfunding platform
- Tie it in with a crowdfunding campaign event
- Maximize how you crowdfund via social media
- Offer multiple channels of giving to supporters
- Embrace peer-to-peer fundraising and team crowdfunding
Can’t wait to get started on your next crowdfunding campaign? Let’s dive into these awesome crowdfunding strategies!
1. Choose the right crowdfunding platform
Not all crowdfunding platforms are created equally, and to make your next campaign a success, your team should be confident that you’ve chosen the right crowdfunding platform to get the job done.
Above all, your nonprofit can ensure that your crowdfunding campaign stands out by choosing a platform that puts customizability first.
Not only does this mean that your team will have ultimate control over your campaigns, but it also means that you’ll be able to tailor the giving experience to your community.
When selecting a crowdfunding platform, choose a partner that allows your nonprofit to:
- Brand giving pages. This means your pages can feature your organization's colors, logos, photos, and videos. The closer your crowdfunding page aligns with your nonprofit, the more likely viewers will be to donate.
- Track fundraising progress. Look for features like fundraising thermometers that allow you to broadcast fundraising progress to supporters. When people can see how much their gift will impact your goal, they’ll be more motivated to give.
- Customize giving forms. Your crowdfunding platform should allow your team to customize donation forms with gift suggestion buttons, easy recurring gift opt-ins, and personalized fields to collect important donor data.
The more flexibility your nonprofit has behind the scenes of your crowdfunding campaign, the more effective your fundraising efforts will be.
Need some more help choosing a crowdfunding partner? Check out MobileCause’s guide to fundraising software for an in-depth look into your options.
2. Tie it in with a crowdfunding campaign event
While crowdfunding thrives on social media, that doesn’t mean that your crowdfunding campaigns should exclusively exist online.
In fact, the more your nonprofit is able to connect your crowdfunding campaign to the “real world,” the more likely it is that your supporters will be excited to share your campaign.
One of the best ways to excite supporters about your crowdfunder? Tie it in with an on-site fundraising event.
Fundraising events make excellent crowdfunding campaign anchors because they offer supporters multiple points of engagement with your charity, church, or university.
Let’s take a walkathon for a common example. Your nonprofit can promote involvement with the walkathon in a number of ways: through donating, through volunteering, through participating as a walker, or through sharing the campaign online.
Making your crowdfunding campaign a success isn’t just about collecting the most donations—it’s also about helping the campaign reach as many eyes as possible.
The more people who are involved with the campaign and fundraising event at every level, the more likely it is that your crowdfunder will spread far and wide.
Another way that your crowdfunding campaign can benefit from being anchored by a fundraising event? If your nonprofit collects on-site donations using a payment swiper, you can accept even more gifts from supporters who are inspired on the day of the event.
3. Maximize how you crowdfund via social media
Crowdfunding isn’t simply an online fundraising strategy. Rather, crowdfunding is a social media fundraising tool at heart.
This means that it isn’t enough to send out links to your campaign in messages to supporters you already know. To really spread the reach of your campaign, you’ll need to fully embrace social media engagement strategies.
Consider some of these strategies that nonprofits can use to boost the impact of their crowdfunding campaigns on social media. Your team should make use of:
- Embedded donation forms. The fact is, the more times a person needs to click to reach your giving form, the less likely it is they’ll complete their gift. Embed your giving form on your social media pages to reach donors where they already are!
- Donation buttons. Did you know sites like Facebook allow nonprofits to add donation buttons to their content? In just a few clicks, donors will be able to complete their gift through Facebook itself.
- Visual content. On most social media sites, visual content is more likely to appear at the top of people’s timelines. For this reason, be sure to share lots of interesting photos and videos to help promote your crowdfunding campaign.
In addition to these tools, your team can create a branded hashtag that’s perfectly designed to get your crowdfunding campaign trending.
Once supporters make a donation, prompt them to post about their gift and share the hashtag with their friends. After the conversation gets started, your campaign will have the momentum it needs to get noticed by potential givers outside of your core community.
That means more donors for this crowdfunding campaign as well as more supporters joining your community in the long run.
Bonus! Want to learn how to better plan your next crowdfunding campaign? Check out Aly Sterling Philanthropy’s fundraising planning template to start outlining your plan of action.
4. Offer multiple channels of giving to supporters
Although social media is where your crowdfunding campaign will get noticed, not all of your supporters will want to donate directly through a site like Facebook.
To really make your campaign count, you’ll need to offer supporters the option to donate on whichever channel of giving they prefer. This starts by creating an easy to use, easy to share giving page that you can access on your nonprofit’s website.
In addition, consider some of these other giving channels your team should use to collect gifts for your crowdfunder:
- Text-to-donate. By enabling text-to-donate giving your team can reach donors wherever they are, even if they just have their phone on them. All they need to do is text a branded keyword to a designated number and they’ll be sent a link to your mobile giving form.
- Email. Your nonprofit can collect crowdfunding donations via email by adding donation buttons at the bottom of messages to your supporters. These buttons will link them directly your giving form, allowing them to seamlessly make their donation.
- On site. If donors want to give to your campaign in person at a fundraising event, your team can quickly and easily collect gifts with a tool like a payment swiper app. This way, those who are inspired to give on site simply need to swipe their card to make their gift.
Even though these gifts will all be processed through different channels, they can still be counted toward the progress of your crowdfunder.
By opening up giving to supporters across multiple channels, your nonprofit sidesteps the risk of losing out on key gifts simply because a donor can’t give using the method most convenient to them.
5. Embrace peer-to-peer fundraising and team crowdfunding
What makes crowdfunding so unique among other fundraising methods is that it promotes engagement in your nonprofit’s community of supporters.
Not only do crowdfunding campaigns call on your supporters to make donations, but they also rely on these supporters to share your campaign with their networks.
Want to take this tactic to the next level? Try peer-to-peer fundraising and team crowdfunding.
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a style of crowdfunding that puts the reins in your supporters’ hands. Individuals set up fundraising pages under their own names and call on friends to make donations to your nonprofit on their behalf.
Team crowdfunding is just like peer-to-peer fundraising, but on a larger scale. Instead of individuals running fundraising pages for your organization, groups of people affiliated with your nonprofit run fundraising pages of their own.
In both peer-to-peer fundraising and team crowdfunding, campaigns can “face off” against one another in good-natured contests to see who can raise the most money.
For supporters who can’t afford to give to your organization, or who have already donated but still want to stay involved, setting up a peer-to-peer fundraising page or joining a crowdfunding page are a great way to show their support.
Not only do these alternatives keep individuals engaged with your nonprofit, but by giving supporters more opportunities to fundraise for your organization it’s more likely that they’ll spread the reach of your nonprofit online.
Crowdfunding is popular among nonprofits, and it’s not hard to see why! If your organization wants to really stand out, keep these strategies in mind to make a splash with your next campaign.
Christy Noel is a digital fundraising expert, marketer, and the VP of Digital Marketing Services at MobileCause—mobile and online fundraising platform. When she's not working at MobileCause, Christy can be found helping animal rescue organizations or volunteering on a nonprofit board.