Crowdfunding refers to a method of fundraising in which you use the internet to ask members of the public to donate money to a particular cause or project. Online crowdfunding campaigns can be shared through social media and supported through links provided on a personal website, among other places. Funds are typically raised via crowdsourcing—the process of obtaining money from a large number of people who each contribute a small amount.
Can Nonprofits Use Crowdfunding?
Nonprofits of all types can look to crowdfunding as a new way to raise awareness and cash. There are many options for doing this, and new platforms continue to emerge. Nonprofit organizations should determine the type of campaign they would like to conduct, as well as the best platform for their needs. Some platforms may be more useful than others based on the type of campaign or cause being funded.
Being registered with the state is an important first step for a charitable nonprofit. In the majority of states, there are laws that require charitable nonprofits to register with the state before they can begin soliciting donations from within that state.
Live crowdfunding can be a very effective way of raising money for a nonprofit organization. It often consists of a series of live events featuring spokespeople for the nonprofit organization that pitch their cause to those who gather live or virtually to support the organization and enjoy a fun time in the process. Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have live crowdfunding campaigns.
Tips for Your Crowdfunding Campaign
Set Clear Goals
With a well-defined goal, your audience will know exactly how much money your nonprofit needs to achieve the goal you set and why you need that money. They will be able to understand quickly what is needed and where their donations will go. A well-defined goal will help you keep your supporters updated on how much money you’ve already raised and how much money you still need to raise.
Plan for Fees
When choosing a platform, make sure you’re aware of the various fees that the platform will charge you. Some platforms charge a subscription fee for their service. Some collect a percentage of the funds you raise while others charge a flat fee per donation. In many cases, your donors may choose to cover the cost of the credit card processing fee, but that probably won’t be the case for every donor. You may also want to consider choosing a platform that won’t charge you too much if your nonprofit crowdfunding campaign doesn’t reach its funding goal.
Don’t Forget to Say Thank You
Don’t forget to thank donors when they make a donation to your organization. Sometimes people in nonprofit management assume that a receipt counts as a thank you, but most donors don’t see it that way. A quick thank you note, email, or phone call doesn’t take much time and can go a long way. It shows donors you care and want them to continue to participate in your cause.
Best Crowdfunding Platforms for Nonprofits
Once you’ve decided on your campaign, the next step is to find a funding platform. Each platform has its own fee structure, but generally they’ll charge you a baseline processing fee. You’re probably familiar with popular platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but we’re going to cover other options when crowdfunding for nonprofits and their unique needs.
When looking into crowdfunding sites for your nonprofit, research the capabilities of various platforms to figure out which one is the best fit based on your specific needs. Different platforms have different requirements for nonprofits to use their services while others allow you to fundraise for causes outside of the nonprofit realm.
Mightycause is a crowdfunding platform that allows fundraising for personal causes, teams and events, giving days, and 501(c)(3) organizations. You pay a monthly platform fee for the use of their fundraising tools, and you can upgrade to their advanced level for additional features.
If your organization doesn’t already have the 501(c)(3) status, you can apply for the status by filling out the appropriate application with the IRS and then waiting for the approval. After you are approved, you can create your own fundraising webpage on Mightycause. They offer competitive payment processing fees and provide the option for donors to cover the fees for their donations.
OneCause is great for nonprofits that want to make it easier for people to donate. It’s a platform that empowers people to do good and makes it really easy for them to donate whatever they want, whenever they want.
OneCause is an excellent crowdfunding and peer fundraising tool for nonprofits because it allows you to brand your donation forms and embed them on your website so donors can give directly from your website fundraising page. You can also share the forms on your Facebook page or in an email.
OneCause offers reporting tools that allow you to track the progress of your fundraiser and create custom reports. You can track donations and create reports to see how much money you’ve raised over time.
DonorDrive is a fundraising software solution that helps nonprofits grow their donor base, improve fundraising results, and save money by streamlining processes. This includes collecting donor data, creating donation campaigns, and utilizing donor engagement tools to keep people connected to your cause.
Organizations need to be aware of the importance of accepting donations online. DonorDrive’s virtual fundraising tools are designed to make it easy for organizations to accept donations online from anywhere in the world.
Free Recorded Webinar: Virtual Fundraising Tactics
Virtual events are less expensive to produce than in-person events, so you don’t need to budget as much for them. You can remove many barriers that allow more people to get involved with your cause. You can create access for people to participate from anywhere. They are an excellent way to tell stories about what your nonprofit is doing and build a community around your mission. Creating a larger online presence can foster more awareness about your organization, which can lead to you meeting or even exceeding your revenue goals. Not only that, but trends suggest virtual fundraisers could be standard moving forward.
During this webinar, you will learn:
- The keys to virtual fundraising
- Pros and cons of virtual fundraisers
- How to use the right tools and technology for successful events