Webinar Recap: How nonprofits can raise more money through crowdfunding

on April 24, 2019

Crowdfunding is an incredible way to raise money for your cause and to get your network of supporters involved in your mission. That’s why we recently teamed up with Nonprofit Tech for Good to host a webinar all about the basics of crowdfunding.

We walked through why you should adopt crowdfunding as a fundraising method for your cause, the basics and best practices for setting up your own crowdfunding campaign, and even the difference between peer-to-peer and crowdfunding.

Missed out on all the fun? No worries at all. We’ve got the webinar recap below. It’s a super fun read during your lunch break. Enjoy.

What is crowdfunding anyway?

Crowdfunding is the act of funding a campaign, initiative, or program by reaching out to your network (donors, board members, volunteers) to ask for donations.

Think of Kickstarter or GoFundMe campaigns.

How is crowdfunding different than peer-to-peer fundraising?

Crowdfunding is reaching out to your network and asking them to give to your cause.

Peer-to-peer takes crowdfunding to the next level by reaching out to your network and asking them to reach out to their own network of friends and family on your nonprofit’s behalf.

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And, when your supporter shares with their network of family and friends, it brings in more money and awareness for your cause. In fact, each post-donation social share brings in, on average, $15 in new donations to a campaign. Pretty incredible return.

Best practices for raising money through crowdfunding

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Best practice #1 - Leverage the internet

Take advantage of the speed and connectivity of the internet and reach out to small, grassroots donors through email and your social channels.

Your supporters are always online, so meet them where they’re at. Make sure you have an online presence that’s also mobile responsive so that supporters can easily give to your cause in a way that is convenient to them.

When you create an online crowdfunding campaign, you’re giving supporters a hub where they can band together and accomplish something as a group on your behalf.

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Best practice #2 - Storytelling

Your message is the most powerful marketing tool in your arsenal. The way you craft your story should draw your donor in so that they can see themselves in your communication. Share with them in detail what their contribution will do for your nonprofit and paint a picture that allows them to feel good about giving to your cause.

Also, encourage your fundraisers to take your story and make it their own. Have they been helped by your cause? Have they seen first-hand how your nonprofit works? Allow them to share, in their own words, their connection with your cause so that their personal story enhances your brand.

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Best practice #3 - Create an achievable goal

Launch your crowdfunding campaign with a small, achievable goal and grow your campaign from there. For example, let’s say you want to raise $50,000. Consider starting your campaign with a goal of $40,000 and then making $50,000 your ‘stretch’ goal.

Supporters will love to see the momentum and will want to help you raise that last little bit to hit your new goal.

Pro tip: Show tangible impact attached to donation amounts. For example: A $50 donation provides clean water for a year for a family of four.

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Best practice #4 - Use teams to help bring a sense of gamification to your campaign

Adding teams to the mix helps to bring a little healthy competition into your campaign, as well as more donations. In fact, team fundraising works so well, that GoFundMe recently built team fundraising into their individual-to-individual giving platform, as well.

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Best practice #5 - Leverage incentives

Perks and incentives are another way to incite donations. They provide that extra boost for certain people who might need a little something to get them to convert.

Think of the Kickstarter model - you’re donating different dollar amounts to reach various perk levels within the crowdfunding campaign.

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Best practice #6 - Allow recurring donations

Offering recurring funds versus a one-time donation is a game changer. It’s like a subscription plan with your nonprofit that goes throughout the entire year.

Share with your supporters the impact of a year’s worth of donations versus a one-time donation and make sure it is compelling. Break down the ‘cost’ of the donation into manageable chunks so that your supporter can really envision making the jump to becoming a recurring donor.

For example, you can remind your supporters that for the price of one latte a week, they can support a shelter animal for an entire year.

Also, don’t forget to talk to recurring donors differently in order to curate a relationship that gives them more reason to renew the following year.

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Best practice #7 - Encourage social fundraising

When you encourage and understand the value of social fundraising, you really put the ‘crowd’ in crowdfunding. Ensure you have the ability to activate sharing within your community of supporters by hosting your campaign on a platform designed to do just that.

Then, get started by reaching out to your most passionate supporters (those looking to do more) and asking them to share with the world their love for your cause.

Pro Tip: You can use crowdfunding plus social fundraising at the same time. In fact, when you use both, you double your reach. And, you give people the option to do what makes the most sense to them at the time, either fundraise, donate, or do both.

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Best practice #8 - Share updates

Show that you’re invested in the success of your campaign and that you appreciate all of the support so far. Give ‘urgency’ updates all the way throughout the end to leverage momentum and the power of the crowd:

  • $X more until we hit our goal!
  • X more days left in our campaign!
  • We hit our goal, but let’s do $X more!

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Crowdfunding is such an easy and impactful way to bring in more funds and raise more awareness with your supporters. Coupled with peer-to-peer and social fundraising, it has the ability to really make a huge impact on your cause.

Want to create your own crowdfunding campaign? Let us help. We’ll create a custom guidebook specific for your event to get the ball rolling.fundraising-guidebook-v1

Gary Wohlfeill

Gary Wohlfeill is the Director of Marketing at CrowdRise. He works with partners to develop highly engaging fundraising campaigns, and leads the marketing team in developing the CrowdRise brand. Gary has been named as having the “3rd best haircut of people under 6 feet tall at CrowdRise" and hopes one day to slip to 4th.

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