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Guide to Crowdfunding

What is crowdfunding? 

Crowdfunding is reaching out to a large amount of people, generally through online platforms, encouraging many gifts.  The technique is used both by entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and even individual people who need financial support. 

What does a typical campaign look like? 

According to fundly (a crowdfund platform), a typical crowdsourced fundraiser for nonprofits lasts about 9 weeks and raises around $7,000-.  The average donation is about $66. The age range of the average donor is 25-35 years old.   

What makes a successful crowdfunding campaign? 

The most successful campaigns focus on small, defined projects that are tangible.  This could include registration drives in area high schools, legal fees for a court case, fees associated with vote411.org or other voter guides.   

What elements do we need before we launch? 

It will take time and effort to run a successful crowdfund campaign.  First, you will need to get buy-in from current members and donors. Then, because donors like to give to successful projects, it is helpful to build-in early wins by securing commitments BEFORE the campaign goes live.  Finally, successful campaigns will leverage email and social media connections.  The more email addresses or social media followers you can reach, the better.   

What is a crowdfunding platform? 

Platforms provide a template for presenting a campaign including description of the project, its goals, the amount of money needed, and any incentives to give.  Some well-known platforms for nonprofits include:  

  • Crowdrise: Donation-based funding for causes and charities.  

  • GoFundMe: Uses donations without incentives for personal causes or life events (medical bills, trips, community projects). 

  • Community Funded: Focuses on nonprofit campaigns for specific amounts or general fundraising. 

  • Classy: Supports peer to peer fundraising. 

  • GlobalGiving: Many projects are internationally focused.  

  • WeDidIt: Integrates crowdfunding projects into a general fundraising campaign. Offers development support.  

What are some of the things I should consider when choosing a platform? 

  • Was it designed for nonprofits? 

  • What are the fees? 

  • Are they an “all or nothing” or “keep as you go” model?  (Note: if you choose all or nothing, you will not get any money if you don’t reach your goal) 

  • Do you want to use peer to peer fundraising? 

  • Does it allow for social media integration? 

  • How much can you customize your campaign? 

  • What is the donation disbursement process? 

  • How many people does the platform reach? 

Once my campaign is set up, how do I make it successful? 

Communicating with your universe of potential donors is key to a successful campaign.  Frequent and interesting updates will keep people engaged and talking about your work with friends.  Videos are great way of sharing updates.  Leverage email and social media connections to reach potential donors and ask them to share with their friends.   

Is there an example I could look at? 

One example is this 2018 campaign for Voter’s Edge in California that raised over $15,000.