Online crowdfunding has become a common strategy in nonprofit fundraising. When crowdfunding campaigns are developed and executed properly, there can be great success.  However, like anything that has great potential, if it’s worth doing… it’s worth doing right!

So, what is online crowdfunding?

Online crowdfunding happens via websites that allow sponsors to post descriptions, pictures and videos to attract donations. Online crowdfunding can reach a much more diverse audience than a nonprofit’s regular audience. A crowdfunded project’s online presence can be shared easily via Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform.

Where to begin…

Do your homework first! Find the right platform for your unique organization and budget.  Here is a list of 11 reputable crowdfunding platforms to evaluate. 

Avoid these 3 common mistakes:

Starting off too slow.  Have momentum going in, before you go public.  Aim for up to 30% of your total goal before you go online.  How to do this?  Ask your closest supporters and fans for “seed” money, money to kick start the campaign.  Show these early donors how their money will be doubled as people see that the cause already has traction, with a potential matching gift.   Give these donors reasons to invest early—ability to provide resources to the clients who are waiting in line help now, ability to hire a person that will help fulfill your ministry’s mission.

Thinking everything happens online.  A huge no-no.  Use the crowdfunding platform as your base, but add in-person events to support it.  Host a party, mixer, back yard BBQ with testimonials of how your cause actually helped a real person.  Meet with potential donors for coffee, lunch, pointing them to the success of your crowdfunding campaign with, again, real stories of real impact.  These donors will like to see that others are getting on board, and having a personal ask from you will be huge in getting them to give.  Think about it—your spouse asked you in person to marry them……they did not ask online.

You are not distinctive.  What sets you apart from the competition?  What niche does your campaign/ministry speak to that is very different from the others out there? Why should people invest in your cause?  Think of three key benefits that your ministry offers (to the donor) and drip those benefits throughout the campaign.   There is much value in engaging and connecting with donors as they become increasingly aware of how good it feels to help a cause they really care about.  Tap into a donor’s need to feel needed, useful, part of something bigger than themselves.  Make giving more about them than about your cause.

For more nonprofit resources, visit