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Nonprofit Crowdfunding: All-in-One Guru Guide

Updated: Jul 26, 2021

What is Crowdfunding for Nonprofits?

Crowdfunding for nonprofits is an online, socially-driven fundraising technique that collects donations from a large number of supporters. The reason crowdfunding is so well-suited to charities and nonprofits is that it allows them to grow a community. Crowdfunding connects fundraisers with people that care about their mission, and easily keeps them in touch using the internet and social media.

“But crowdfunding is bigger than that – it’s now regularly used by charities, nonprofit organizations and other funding-driven bodies. At this level, crowdfunding is very different"

If you’ve been on the Internet, you’ve heard of crowdfunding. In this digital age, it’s everywhere – but to lots of us, it looks like a friend and family members’ Facebook post asking for help with surgery. But crowdfunding is bigger than that – it’s now regularly used by charities, nonprofit organizations and other funding-driven bodies. At this level, crowdfunding is very different – it’s sophisticated, yet affordable, accessible, and incredibly effective.

Crowdfunding for nonprofits not only incentivizes people to give, but to spread the word on our behalf and drum up greater support and awareness. Driven by social media, crowdfunding for nonprofits encourages smaller, repeated donations that supporters can share to their own accounts – thereby combining fundraising and awareness efforts into one. Furthermore, crowdfunding has risen in prominence as it becomes increasingly apparent that the future of philanthropy is online, where the next generation of donors are spending more and more of their time.

For nonprofits, crowdfunding is one of the most effective fundraising strategies available, especially as more and more donor communication takes place in the digital sphere. Crowdfunding for nonprofits offers lower overhead costs, a high level of control, and a quick and easy setup process.

Why Try Crowdfunding for Nonprofit Organizations?

There are so many reasons for nonprofits and charities to try out crowdfunding, but here are a few of the most compelling:

Crowdfunding is the best way for nonprofits to engage with Millennials and Generation Z

Millennials and Gen Z aren’t just kids anymore – soon, they will make up the majority of Earth’s population. As the Baby Boomers age and retire, so too will old fashioned methods of fundraising like mailouts and phone campaigns die out. The next generations are living online, and that’s where their charitable activities will happen. What’s more, online fundraising is more environmentally friendly, something that’s more important than ever to the younger generation, and the smaller donations that it encourages are more accessible to those who may just be starting out with charitable giving. Crowdfunding is a win-win: you’re meeting donors where they’re at, while also showing them you share their values.

Nonprofit crowdfunding campaigns are easy to set up and manage using free platforms like Safe Sponsors and FundRazr

Platforms like FundRazr make crowdfunding easy and accessible, even for large or complex projects. Depending on your nonprofit’s needs, you can make one large, ongoing campaign that is updated frequently (think “Help Our Animal Shelter Stay Open”), or smaller, targeted campaigns that support projects within your mission (like “Save Daisy the Bulldog”). You can even open one umbrella campaign under which several volunteers can start their own crowdfunding projects to support your cause.

Social sharing is integral to nonprofit crowdfunding, so you’ll reach a much wider audience

Crowdfunding is the fundraising strategy of the social media generation. It’s only through the internet’s capability for wide reach and viral sharing that crowdfunding has become the must-try technique it is today. Driven by the power of storytelling, your campaign will not only resonate with those who already support you, but reach legions of new supporters who have the potential to become passionate advocates for your cause.

Low overhead costs and no expenses

Some platforms are funded by a new revenue model: rather than taking a percentage of the money you raise, donors have the option to add an additional tip onto their donation that goes towards sustaining the crowdfunding platform. In the competitive online philanthropy sector, this model has emerged as the new standard to help platforms attract and retain fundraisers by providing maximum value and return on their efforts.

Constantly evolving campaign models and features keep you on top of digital fundraising trends

Change is constant in the digital fundraising landscape. To make sure your campaigns are producing the best possible results, you need fundraising technology that not only keeps up with, but drives development in the online fundraising space. Innovation is at the core of FundRazr’s business model – you can count on us to distill the latest trends into accessible, easy-to-use new campaign types, options and features.

How to Make the Most of Nonprofit Crowdfunding

It doesn’t matter how active your nonprofit is online or what your funding strategy looked like before – dipping your toes into nonprofit crowdfunding is realistic, achievable, and fast. Here’s a few clear, actionable steps to getting started:

Step 1: define your campaign’s project, timeframe, and financial goal.

Get down to basics: what are you trying to achieve, how much time do you have to do it, and how much money will it take? These three questions will guide your campaign’s story, marketing strategy, and execution.

Step 2: brainstorm your campaign story.

A compelling, authentic story is what will drive your campaign’s performance and make sure people connect to your mission. Focus on the 5 W’s: Who, What, Where, When, and Why.

Who are you trying to help, or what problem are you trying to solve? Where is this all happening? When do you need to reach your goal? And most importantly, Why does it matter – what’s at stake?

Make sure donation is an integral part of your campaign story. How are donors helping you solve a problem by donating? Exactly how and where will their donations be used? Clarity here will build trust and help your audience feel like they’re part of something important.

In addition to telling your campaign story through words, use visuals like pictures, video and infographics to help your audience visualize and connect to what’s happening.

Step 3: work on your promotion and marketing plan.

Obviously, ‘crowd’ is crucial to success with crowdfunding – and that’s why it’s so important to reach yours by announcing your campaign through all available channels. Make use of social media, email, private chats like Messenger or WhatsApp. Encourage all your sponsors or partners to amplify your message by activating their networks, too.

Step 4: launch your campaign and start encouraging people to donate or share.

The beauty of crowdfunding is that even if someone can’t donate, they can still support your cause by sharing the campaign with their friends and family. Easy social sharing buttons are built into every FundRazr campaign, so supporters can share instantly – whether they donated or not.

Step 5: as the campaign progresses, keep your donors and followers engaged.

Crowdfunding is a great way to build your community, so don’t forget about your crowd after they’ve donated. Keep them informed about your mission, sharing updates and milestones along the way. By making your supporters feel like they’re part of the team, you’ll achieve the best possible outcomes and hit your goals.

Does Crowdfunding for Nonprofits Really Work?

Yes. Simply put, crowdfunding is an effective and proven fundraising technique for thousands of nonprofits all over the world. In fact, it’s likely to become a core pillar of your funding strategy, especially post COVID-19 as in-person events and galas are on hold for the foreseeable future.

Crowdfunding can help you deepen connections with your supporters, increase awareness, and build a sustainable, year-over-year funding strategy – all while saving you time and money and helping you reach the next generation of donors more effectively. Check out just a few of the many great reasons to try out crowdfunding for nonprofits in this recent article.

The Best Nonprofits Crowdfunding Platforms

Online crowdfunding is a competitive sector, and there are many different platforms that nonprofits can take advantage of. This can feel like an overwhelming choice, so we’ve outlined the most important factors for you to take into consideration.

Your own priorities

Every organization’s needs will be slightly different, so going into your search with a clear idea of what matters to you will guide your search and keep things simple. Here’s some examples of common features fundraisers look for:

  • Great campaign page appearance

  • Easy setup your team can handle, no coding or developer required

  • Mobile and SEO optimization

  • Engaging features like wish-lists or perks

  • Platform cost

You don’t have to pay hefty fees or give up a portion of what you raise to try out nonprofit crowdfunding. There are affordable, powerful crowdfunding solutions out there – like Safe Sponsors– that offer enterprise-level crowdfunding technology for a very low fee.

Versatility and adaptability

If you’re looking at the best option for your very first crowdfunding campaign, don’t forget to consider how else you could use the platform in the future. Even if you don’t need extended features and capability yet, choosing a platform with room to grow will give you the option to make crowdfunding a greater part of your funding strategy in the future. You’ll want to be able to try out different types of campaigns in the future to keep your donors engaged and interested in your projects.

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