Crowdfunding 101 — How to Crowdfund Like a Boss


Every now and then we feature content from outside contributing authors who help bring new insights into the world of nonprofits and fundraising. This article comes to us from Abigail Schulz, Managing Partner at Continue to Give. Continue to Give provides online, mobile, kiosk, crowdfunding, and Facebook giving options to churches, missionaries, nonprofits, and individuals.

As individuals, we come across situations, events, and personal experiences every day that inspire us and many times drive or compel us to help. Crowdfunding is a means by which individuals have the ability to help and more specifically, financially help by raising funds through an online giving platform. Crowdfunding and online fundraising websites have grown in popularity in recent years, and you see them in use, sometimes without consciously recognizing them. Have you seen a Donate button on a Facebook page? It is most likely linked to an online fundraising website.

Crowdfunding – Call to Action

The name Crowdfunding is derived from the act of having a “crowd” “fund” a project, capital campaign, personal fundraiser, etc., and when used with social media, it can be extremely effective. Facebook and Twitter are most popular because of the link building, ease of distribution, and reach to friends or followers. Crowdfunding starts with a call to action, which is a declaration such as, “Help Flood Victims in Need”. The cause would typically have a fundraising goal and timeline to reach the goal. Once established, it is important to make an announcement on social media where the post includes a click-to-donate option and a request to share.

Why Should You Use Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding allows you to reach an audience you would not necessarily reach through face-to-face interaction. Facebook and Twitter have millions of users, and if a small percentage of all those users gave $5.00 to a fundraising campaign, you’d hit your goal in an instant. Tapping into crowdfunding is considered a spider-web effect which progresses like this… Let’s say you have 100 friends on Facebook. They donate, or acknowledge your cause and each of them shares with their 100 friends; those 10,000 are now aware of your cause! Then those 10,000 share with 100 of their friends… it goes on and on. You can visualize the web and understand the impact of that reach. If each person touches the hearts of just a few friends who donate, and they, in turn, follow suit sharing and donating, then you’ve created a crowd of donors. However, the two most important pieces of crowdfunding are, 1) having a compelling call to action and 2) having a software application with crowdfunding capabilities to manage the donations–no, we do not recommend GoFundMe, because you want the best rates directing MORE funds to your cause!

How Do I Setup and Use Crowdfunding?

You can start today. Right now, in fact, by creating a profile on a site like Continue to Give. Continue to Give offers all crowdfunding functionality at a fraction of the cost of GoFundMe. Once you have signed up for a crowdfunding profile, you can immediately start fundraising! Then, optimize your efforts using social media, so that donors will want to donate to and share your cause.

Crowdfunding can be used by anyone: churches, nonprofits, or individuals who need to fundraise.

Be a Crowdfunding Pro

There are two components of your fundraising profile that will make you stand out; your call to action and a visual attention grabber. The call to action draws in potential donors. Make it compelling and brief because it serves as the main title. A poor example would be listing the recipient’s first and last name. This is NOT a good call to action because it leaves potential donors wondering…Why should I donate to that person? A good example is, “Donate to Texas Flood Victims”. This call to action is compelling and the donor understands the fundraiser without any further explanation. Next, make sure to have a picture that would complement your call to action. Users of social media have a tendency to scroll through posts quickly. Including a compelling visual can help grab their attention, so they stop scrolling and read the post.

Myths about Crowdfunding

Most people think that simply creating a crowdfunding profile on a fundraising website means that random people will find your fundraiser and share your campaign. This is not true. You always need to market your fundraiser, so it is seen by potential donors. Be sure to include social media in your marketing plan and link to your fundraising page. It is important to understand that posts to your fundraising page on Facebook are pushed to those who have liked your page. Additionally, there is an algorithm that decides how many people’s feeds your post shows up in. Likes, comments, and shares of the post helps Facebook notice that your post is relevant to your followers, so the more people who react to your post, the more Facebook will naturally promote the post in more news feeds! If your post needs a little boost, Facebook offers simple ways to pay to get your post in more of your followers’ news feeds. You can boost posts for as little as $5.00. Facebook wants to make sure your content is desired by your followers, so the more they react, the more relevant your content is!

Another way to announce your call to action is to create an appealing marketing email to send to your donor list announcing that the fundraiser is now live and accepting donations. It is a great way to jumpstart your fundraiser because not everyone is on social media. In general, you must take charge of your fundraiser and market it effectively, so that crowds will start funding your cause.

So to recap, crowdfunding is an amazing tool where you can reach a larger audience over the World Wide Web. Boost your donor reach, meet new potential donors, and expand your reach beyond any geographical boundaries. Stand out and market your cause, but first, setup your Crowdfunding profile through a site like continuetogive.com.

Abigail Schulz is currently the Managing Partner at Continue to Give and has been active with church and nonprofit's professional fundraising and donor relations since 2012. Abigail has personally fundraised for mission trips, charity and community fundraisers, and also traditional church online tithing. At Continue to Give Abigail has helped churches, nonprofits, missionaries, and crowdfunders reach their fundraising and donation goals through e-giving strategies and best practices. Because Abigail has been on the front line for years, talking directly to churches and nonprofits just like you, she has come to learn great insights in collecting donations! Abigail Schulz's has been featured on CrowdCrux Crowdfunding, Vericheck, and Clearent LLC!

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