This one’s for all the little guys. The underdogs with big ideas. The nonprofits that consist of two people in an office on a shoestring budget. You can make a big difference with small resources… but sometimes you need to think outside the box. More and more people are turning to crowdfunding sites as a solution for fundraising and finding the platform incredibly useful. But what exactly is crowdfunding, and how can it help your nonprofit? Here are a few tips for crowdfunding your next endeavor.
What is a crowdfunding website?
Generally, a crowdfunding website is one that hosts many different projects that can be funded online by anyone willing to contribute. These sites allow a project’s creators to make a fundraising page dedicated to promoting the project. Often, project creators provide tangible incentives for certain levels of funding. Donations are usually processed via the crowdfunding website’s funding processor.
What are my crowdfunding options?
There are lots of options for nonprofits that want to go the crowdfunding route. Here are three of the most popular.
- Kickstarter is arguably the most well-known project crowdfunding site. Its popularity gives projects a greater chance of being discovered and funded, but the “all-or-nothing” funding model may be a drawback for some organizations.
- Indiegogo is also popular, though with a significantly smaller following. It caters more specifically to creative projects, charity projects, and nonprofit organizations. Indiegogo gives creators the option of “all-or-nothing” (like Kickstarter) or “flexible funding” (in which a project can keep its earnings if the project’s goal is not met).
- CauseVox is specifically geared toward small and medium-sized nonprofits. It allows nonprofits to create a customized fundraising site. CauseVox charges a monthly fee.
Is crowdfunding right for my nonprofit?
Whether your organization should opt for crowdfunding depends on the type of goal you are trying to achieve. Crowdfunding sites tend to cater to specific projects rather than annual fundraisers or general donation campaigns. If you think crowdfunding is right for you, consider also whether you have the resources to promote your campaign, follow through with the project, and reward funders. You should also evaluate the site’s ease of use, payment processing method, required fees, and overall popularity for your type of project.
Crowdfunding Success Tips for Nonprofits
Before you start your crowdfunding campaign, get organized. Many crowdfunding projects experience success during the funding process, only to fail on the project’s follow through. To prepare for the execution of your project, as well as rewarding your funders, put a system in place before you begin your crowdfunding journey.
- Check your chances.
Before choosing a crowdfunding site and establishing a campaign, look around the site first. See what kinds of projects are doing well, what their funding goals are, and what kinds of rewards they are offering. If a particular site, fundraising goal, or reward system looks like it is experiencing the kind of success you are looking for, take before crafting your own campaign.
- Set measurable goals.
Once you have chosen a site, decide exactly what you want to achieve with your project and how much you can expect to raise for it. Use information from your nonprofit database to figure out how much you would need to raise from a crowdfunded project, and whether you have the resources to see it through once the money is raised.
- Show potential donors what you can do.
Next, use the data you can gather from your nonprofit software to show potential funders the the success you’ve had in the past and exactly how you plan to use the money you raise. This kind of information lends your project credibility, making users more likely to contribute. Use your nonprofit software to aggregate information related to your capabilities and past performance, then feature that information prominently on your crowdfunding project page, your website, and your social media channels.
- Promote your campaign.
It’s not enough to set up a project page and hope for full funding before your project’s deadline. Promote your project via every available channel. Reach out to your target demographic via your blog, your website, social media, and any newsletters or email blasts you send out. Remember, when you draw funders into your project, they are also likely to spread the word online, thus increasing your reach.
- Plan for success.
Most importantly, you need to plan ahead to make sure you can achieve your goals once you are fully-funded. If you are offering incentives to donors, create a plan to distribute those in a timely manner. When you receive your funding, make sure you have a solid plan in place for completing the project.
- Show your work.
Follow up after your project by showing its results on your blog, your website, social media, and newsletters. By keeping funders aware of the work your nonprofit is doing, you can help create a community dedicated to your cause and your organization long after your crowdfunding project is over.
Share Your Crowdfunding Success Stories
Have you had crowdfunding success as a nonprofit? What advice do you have for organizations considering crowdfunding? Click here and let us know by submitting your stories to the Mission Accomplished blog.