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Crowdfunding for Nonprofits

Find out how to raise more money with an army of fundraisers and collect donations and donor data in real-time with 0% transaction fees

This guide will provide you best practices, expert advice and examples of how your nonprofit organization can raise more money and expand your donor base. It will also teach you how to set up your campaign, which method is right for you, cool ways to use crowdfunding or peer-to-peer fundraising and much more.

Bottom line? Whatever it takes, if you want more donations, crowdfunding is a must.

So, let’s dive right in!

If you are ready to see how the MobileCause crowdfunding platform works click the request demo button below.

text to donate or text to give

Click here or text MYREDKETTLE to 71777 see how the crowdfunding platform works

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Contents

Chapter 1

Crowdfunding 101

Chapter 2

Traditional Crowdfunding vs Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Chapter 3

When To Use Traditional Crowdfunding?

Chapter 4

When To Use Peer-to-Peer Fundraising?

Chapter 5

How To Set Up Crowdfunding

Chapter 6

5 Ways to Activate a Crowdfunding Movement

Chapter 7

Important Crowdfunding Statistics

Chapter 8

Successful Crowdfunding Examples

Chapter 9

Difficulties or Issues

CHAPTER 1:
Crowdfunding 101

This guide is your source for everything you need to know about nonprofit crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising. In it you will find best practices, expert advice and examples of how your nonprofit organization can raise more money and expand your donor base. It will also teach you how to set up your campaign, which method is right for you, cool ways to use crowdfunding or peer-to-peer fundraising and much more.

%

of those that give to a crowdfunding campaign are new donors

%

of those new donors will give again

%

of all online donations are a result of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Stats courtesy of fundraising.co.uk and mobilecause.

On average, 56% of crowdfunding page views come from a mobile device and videos increase giving 400% since the majority of the participants is from younger donors.

Stats courtesy of mobilecause ebook and mobilecause infographic.

What is Crowdfunding

A very common question is, “What is crowdfunding for nonprofits?” Crowdfunding is a fundraising strategy used by nonprofit organizations to rally an army of fundraisers around a cause. In 2008, this idea to raise money through personal social networks of individuals was born. It rose to prominence through platforms like Kick Starter and GoFundMe. Crowdfunding is exactly what it sounds like—it is raising money from a crowd of people who you may or may not know. But how do you engage someone you don’t know?

The answer is through a mutual connection, or friend. Crowdfunding allows you to enable your biggest supporters to raise money for your cause through their personal network. After all, who is more trustworthy than your friend?

MobileCause is much more than a Kickstarter for nonprofits but we do realize how valuable peer to peer fundraising and crowdfunding can be! This leads us to strive to be the best at crowdfunding and peer to peer methods.

How Does Crowdfunding Work

How does crowdfunding work

Crowdfunding utilizes the social networks of a nonprofit organization’s supporters in conjunction with technology to reach those networks.

Throughout a person’s life, they make many connections. The idea of crowdfunding is centered around engaging the connections that have been made by your supporters to gain more donors and drive giving.

A Crowdfunding page is just like a donation page but with a more personalized touch! It often involves pictures and videos to illustrate the impact of an organization or to showcase the problem that needs to be solved.

What is Text to Donate

Why does my organization need to start using Crowdfunding right now?

Crowdfunding is the best way to expand your donor base. When engaging in crowdfunding, 62% of those who donate are new and 28% of those new donors will give again.

Thinking realistically, a $1 donation will not help a nonprofit organization very much; however, one million donations of $1 can help a nonprofit mobilize their cause. This is where crowdfunding comes in because donors can see that many people, some of whom they know and some they do not, are donating in many different quantities. Crowdfunding pages stress the importance of donating money whether it be small or large–they utilize a group model instead of a singular model. When you donate to a crowdfunding campaign you become part of a group that is supporting that cause no matter how much you donate. On the other side, when you donate to a text to donate or text to give campaign, you are simply one person supporting an organization. Mobilizing donors to give gifts of all sizes can result in a massive fundraising effort.

Why you need to start Crowdfunding

Most importantly, 71% of millennials have fundraised for a nonprofit organization! It is incredibly difficult to engage the millennial generation; however, we have found a way. Millennials respond to crowdfunding for many reasons; they can learn about a cause through short videos, they can see their peers donating and supporting the cause, they can access the page through their mobile devices, they can donate with few steps and they can communicate with your nonprofit through text.

Start Crowdfunding today

Need help creating a crowdfunding campaign? Request a consultation with one of our experts who can provide you with custom strategies, best practices and tips, including sample recruiting and crowdfunding communications.

How can crowdfunding expand your donor base and increase giving?

The power of crowdfunding lies in the hands of the crowdfunders themselves. Crowdfunding calls upon the power of a supporter’s social network to reach out to those who are unaware and would not normally be exposed to the message put out by the nonprofit.

Engaging these new people is a great thing, but they still need to receive the message to understand the impact of an organization. This is where the owner of the crowdfunding page, the crowdfunder or crowdfunding captain, comes in to advertise and speak about the cause.

This tool possesses great power because it can engage people who would have normally not received the message. Gaining new donors through an advocate’s social network is great; but, the most beneficial thing is finding a fan that can leverage his or her social network, thus expanding donor reach even further.

What is Text to Donate

CHAPTER 2:
Crowdfunding vs Peer-to-Peer

Traditional crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising, both types of crowdfunding, are often mistaken for each other because they share many characteristics, but they are still uniquely different.

Both methods are types of crowdfunding but have different approaches.

Depending on your organization and your donor base will determine which method will perform better.

how text to donate works

Traditional Crowdfunding

Traditional crowdfunding campaigns begin with a cause and then a fundraising goal and duration are agreed upon. This type of crowdfunding puts the organization behind the wheel of their campaign.

The nonprofit organization will prepare for the event by dealing with event advertising and marketing to increase awareness. Soon the crowdfunding campaign goes live and people from anywhere in the world can log on and see donation amounts and how close the nonprofit is to the goal.

They can also share the page within their social network to expand reach.

Traditional Crowdfunding

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

If it isn’t crowdfunding, what is peer to peer fundraising? Peer-to-peer fundraising begins the same, campaigns begin with a cause but often do not have a fundraising goal. This type of crowdfunding campaign puts the supporters who run a page in the driver’s seat. These campaigns can be year-round or one-time. Check out the peer to peer fundraising definition.

The difference between crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising lies with the promoter. For a peer-to-peer campaign, the promoters of the crowdfunding pages are the supporters, usually the most active and passionate, instead of the nonprofit organization. When a supporter advertises for the nonprofit, they can reach a much broader audience and engage that audience through a trusted member of their community. Peer to peer fundraising statistics highlight its usefulness to nonprofits.

Peer-to-Peer Stats:

  • Team members raise 17% more donations than individual crowdfunders
  • 1/3 of all online donations are generally a result of peer-to-peer fundraising
How Does Text to Donate Work
Stats courtesy of thirdsectortoday.com, and mobilecause.

CHAPTER 3:
When To Use Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding puts a nonprofit organization at the center of control of their campaign, as opposed to peer-to-peer which puts the donor at the center.

These methods are both used more and more; however, may people do not realize that they are distinctly different. Crowdfunding requires a commitment across your nonprofit to ensure the best campaign possible. Crowdfunding can be individual or you can engage in team crowdfunding. No matter how you decide to crowdfund, you must make sure your communications are central to the cause that you support!

Text to Donate and Text to Give

Using Crowdfunding for your Organization

Crowdfunding campaigns are meant for organizations who have a large donor base and want to enable them to actively participate in fundraising drives. These campaigns highlight a cause and explain how a donation will go towards supporting the affected. Constant updates help remind the committed supporters about the cause that they hold so dear.

This campaign requires nonprofits to share stories, educate people and explain the importance of the cause. A great time to use traditional crowdfunding is when you have a supporter with a large network who does not have the time or resource to run a campaign on their own. Traditional crowdfunding allows an organization to engage networks of their supporters while maintaining total control of their organization’s image.

  • Tip #1: One should use traditional crowdfunding when designing landing pages that cater specifically to unique segments of donors.
  • Tip #2: One should use traditional crowdfunding when they have supporters with large networks that either cannot or will not engage in peer-to-peer fundraising.
  • Tip #3: One should use traditional crowdfunding when they need to have total control over the branding of the campaign.
the best text to give service

CHAPTER 4:
When To Use Peer-to-Peer

It’s no secret that peer to peer fundraising is one of the most powerful forms of fundraising for nonprofits. A successful peer to peer fundraising campaign can engage your supporters and transform them into fundraising champions right before your eyes.

However, it will require a fusion of several different skills to ensure success – you’ll need to educate, lead, inspire, communicate, and provide the right tools to make it easy for supporters to ask for donations. For these reasons, following peer to peer fundraising best practices can make your campaign a success.

How to Setup Text to Donate

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising (P2P)

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising (P2P) can be a very powerful and diversified fundraising strategy. It puts the supporters in control of fundraising for the cause through their own campaign. This type of crowdfunding requires a strong advocate, someone who is passionate about the cause and has a large social network to access.

These “star” supporters can be board members, brand ambassadors, celebrities or just someone who deeply cares about the cause. The biggest difference between peer-to-peer fundraising and crowdfunding is that P2P requires the advocate to market for them and involves the creation of a personal fundraising page.

  • Tip #1: Only ask someone to help with peer-to-peer fundraising for your organization if they are committed and passionate about the cause.
  • Tip #2: By keeping the campaign live year-round, the nonprofit organization continuously connects with new donors and cultivates, hopefully lasting, relationships.
direct mail text to give campaign promotion

CHAPTER 5:
How To Set Up Crowdfunding?

It’s a simple equation: the more people who know about your crowdfunding campaign, the more funds your organization can raise to help further your mission and fund your project.

Crowdfunding can be strategically promoted across every channel your organization uses, from direct mail to email to social media, and of course, text messaging. Using your organization’s verified mobile numbers you are guaranteed to reach almost every single recipient of your crowdfunding campaign with your fundraising message and call to action.

text to donate campaign promotion

How to set up crowdfunding for your organization

  1. You must begin your Crowdfunding campaign by picking a specific project that has a clear goal that the fundraiser will support.
  2. Decide on a fundraiser deadline for your campaign to create a sense of urgency. When an organization needs to raise a certain amount of money by a deadline, supporters tend to step up by donating more to the organization they would have otherwise.
  3. Decide on a fundraising goal and establish a budget! When deciding on a goal, an organization must consider how much they need to support their initiatives as well as how much they will need to cover event costs and overhead.
direct mail text to give campaign promotion

How to select a Crowdfunding platform for your nonprofit

Next comes finding a technology platform that can help mobilize your cause. Many things must be considered, but most important are:

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Transaction Fees:

Most platforms charge a fee for each transaction that usually varies from 3-5%. At MobileCause, we believe every donation should go to your cause, so we do not charge transaction fees.

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Processing Fees:

A standard industry processing fee is about 3% but can go as high as 7%. MobileCause does not profit off transactions and charges only a 2.5% credit card processing fee that covers processing, fraud protection and operational costs.

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All-or-Nothing:

Is it an All-or-Nothing platform? If it is and the goal is not met, the funds will not be received, so all the effort that went into the crowdfunding campaign is wasted.

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Engagement:

Consider whether the platform has engagement capabilities (text, email or etc.). Staying in touch with donors and keeping them updated regarding fundraising progress drives multiple donations from people who normally would only give once.

Z

Tax Receipts:

Finding a platform that automates the sending of tax receipts is critical to your campaign. Many companies and individuals plan giving around tax breaks which makes the ability to send receipts with organizational and transactional information a necessity. (Especially because most organizations that give partially for tax reasons give large amounts)

Create compelling content to ensure an engaging campaign

Now that the campaign outline has been laid, it is time to develop content. Develop content that directly relates to your cause and has a strong emotional appeal. Crowdfunding pages normally include:

  • A brief video that is usually 2 to 4 minutes long. It explains what the cause is, why the cause matters, and a short overview of the team members who are on the frontlines dealing with the issue. Individuals raise 4 times as much when crowdfunding campaigns are promoted by video
  • Include pictures of your impact, the beneficiaries, volunteers, and even the board members. The more people that you can involve, the more people it will resonate with. It is helpful to show people smiling and facing the camera in action so that the impact can be tangibly illustrated to the donors.
  • Text that describes the campaign and gives prospective donors a compelling reason to give. It should explain how funds will be used, how the funds directly impact the organization and, most importantly, why the cause is so important. Word count in the fundraiser description should be 300-500 words. Also be sure to remind them how every little bit can help and what they would do with that money otherwise. Ex, for the price of a coffee ($5) you can help someone that has a significant need.
  • Testimonials that illustrate the positive work done by your organization whether it be from a donor, volunteer, board member or beneficiary. These can be quotes, short videos or anything helping to illustrate impact.
  • A gift or reward is also often associated with a crowdfunding campaign. If you choose to give gifts, you can give them in tiers. For example, someone who donates $20 can get a letter while someone who donates $100 can get a hat or other form of memorabilia. This not only shows donors your gratitude but also helps to get the organization’s name out.
crowdfunding for nonprofits examples

Other things to add to your crowdfunding campaign:

  • A comments section where supporters can provide feedback, ask questions, and interact with others.
  • An updates section keeps supporters updated as to project progress and acts as a storytelling device.
  • A link to a home page. Linking to a nonprofit organization’s homepage or Facebook page allows for further research and for the donor to engage with the organization.
  • A donor spotlight, a small section devoted to celebrating a specific donor. This encourages donors to share the page with their social network as well as increases engagement by giving the donor a sense of belonging.
  • Keep up to date with the latest crowdfunding ideas to best further your campaign
direct mail text to give campaign promotion

Use Crowdfunding for your next campaign

Need help creating a crowdfunding campaign? Request a consultation with one of our experts who can provide you with custom strategies, best practices, and tips, including sample recruiting and crowdfunding communications.

Tips for effective crowdfunding:

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Educate:

Teach volunteers how to effectively ask for donations from their personal networks of friends, family, and colleagues on behalf of your nonprofit organization.

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Lead:

Create a sense of fundraising confidence and community with ongoing in-person and recorded digital training sessions led by a fundraising leader from your organization.

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Provide Resources:

Provide compelling content and templates including short videos, photos, testimonials, social posts, text messages, emails, and letters that make it easy for volunteers to ask for donations.

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Show Impact:

Reinforce what every dollar donated will accomplish and how each fundraiser is making an impact to advance your mission. You can do this by posting updates, responding through comments and engaging through text or email messaging; however, a best practice is to include a breakdown of donation spending. A breakdown of donation spending should detail where all donations are being distributed either by percentage or exact dollar amount.

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Inspire:

Set frequent updates and encouragements to your volunteers like personal videos, photos, and messages from program recipients and your leadership team that reinforce the importance of reaching your goals.

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Urgency:

Create a sense of urgency like a call to help immediately or by using a fundraising deadline.

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Convey Your Reputation:

Recently, many fake causes have been illuminated in the news, especially in regards to crowdfunding. Illustrating an organization’s 501(c)(3) status and past work helps alleviate the worry of the donor. Showing trustworthiness of the crowdfunder is also vital. Donors aren’t just donating a cause, they are also donating to a person so they need to know that the person has a legitimate passion for the cause and will use their donation to best fulfill the nonprofit’s mission.

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Support Local Crowdfunding:

If there is a local organization that is also crowdfunding, consider donating to their cause and/or promoting their cause via social channels. When one nonprofit donates to another, the other often feels obliged to do the same. Just like donations, when one nonprofit shares another’s crowdfunding page, the other is likely to do the same. This will help foster a community of giving and will expand your donor base if the other nonprofit does share another organization’s crowdfunding page.

CHAPTER 6:
Activate a Crowdfunding Movement

Once you have finished strategizing and have implemented your campaign, the work is not yet over. Keeping in touch is the most important thing an organization can do. Let your supporters know the progress that you are making and the impact that their donation has made.

Find brand ambassadors. Find the most passionate and dedicated supporters and have them set-up crowdfunding pages they will use to engage their social network.

Make sure your brand ambassadors are properly educated and know how to set up and promote their Peer-to-Peer Fundraising page.

Here are the 5 ways to kick off a successful crowdfunding campaign…

activate your crowdfunding campaign

1. Start Strong

Make sure you give your best effort to attract donors in the early stages of the campaign. If donors can see the progress from start to finish, they are more likely to get engaged which will increase giving of both funds and time. Organizations that ramp up their efforts to attract donors later in their campaign often fall short of their goal. This also gives donors more time to share your message with their personal social networks.

launch crowdfunding for nonprofits

2. Make it easy for donors to do more than just give

Traditional Crowdfunding revolves around the community that an organization engages. When dealing with the whole community, the process of signing-up/registering, in the case of an event like a run/walk, needs to be easy and fast otherwise they won’t finish their sign-up. They also need the donation process to be quick and simple so that they do not abandon the page, after all “Half of donations to a peer-to-peer fundraising page are not made the first visit. But 85% of them are made the same day.”

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising revolves around the crowdfunder, for this reason you need to make the process of creating a crowdfunding page as easy as possible. Someone helping your organization out should get all the assistance they need, even if it seems to be an intuitive process. If the crowdfunder is not properly instructed, they can end up creating a page that causes donors confusion and could result in lost donations!

Quick Tips

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Tip #1

Make changing and editing profile pictures both quick and simple.

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Tip #2

Make writing a description easy for crowdfunders (For example, Give them a template with information they can use as reference to create a compelling cause description).

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Tip #3

Make posting updates very easy so that they can do it at any time and from anywhere.

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Tip #4

Make crowdfunding pages mobile responsive.

3. Enable your Board to reach fundraising goals with crowdfunding

Your Board is often comprised of very influential and community-involved individuals, so enabling them to fundraise using technology is incredibly important. Also, getting your Board to buy in to the campaign is directly linked to its success.

“My board members don’t want to make a crowdfunding page or make calls!” This is often a point of contention; however, giving the board member a script to go off for calls and an easy set-up guide for crowdfunding pages can ease their nerves. Board members care very much about the organization that they serve, if the importance of crowdfunding is properly relayed to them, they often are excited to start.

Quick Tips

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Tip #1

Offer a prize, or some other kind of recognition, to the board member who raises the most for the campaign (This is sure to increase the fundraising activity).

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Tip #2

Organize a time where board members can make the call or set-up crowdfunding pages together (This makes the members feel more comfortable and makes the experience much more fun).

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Tip #3

Encourage social media postings to engage their networks.

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Tip #4

Encourage email and text message communications.

board crowdfunding guide for nonprofits

Download this guide for nonprofit board members that shows how digital fundraising and Crowdfunding can advance your nonprofit’s mission and drive additional revenue.

4. Build an army of fundraising champions

Not everyone wants to help with crowdfunding and not everyone is the best choice for a crowdfunding campaign. It is very important to enlist the correct people to help! When looking for people to captain these crowdfunding pages, one must look for:

  • Celebrities: People who have very large networks can help expand the reach of your marketing efforts to reach people who normally wouldn’t have heard about the cause.
  • Passionate supporters: Anyone who is truly passionate about the cause will do a great job promoting it.
dabo sweeney fundraising campaign
  • People with a connection to the cause: A person with a connection to the cause both has credibility and is generally passionate about the cause. For example, Dabo Sweeny, coach of the Clemson Tigers football team, is very passionate about breast cancer because his sister-in-law passed away from the disease. He uses crowdfunding to enlist support from his team and the Clemson community.
  • People directly affected: Those who are in the middle of the cause are a great resource. People that the cause is supporting are great at crowdfunding because not only does it directly help their lives, but also the donors can see the actual person or people that their money will support.

Finding the right people to mobilize a movement is not the only way to build a strong army of fundraising champions, one also needs to give all necessary resources to the crowdfunders so that they are armed to best share your message. The best ways to do this are:

  • Give them sample text for their Crowdfunding page description.
  • Give them sample text for social media postings: tweets, Facebook posts, Linkedin posts, and whatever other social media websites are in use.
  • Give them sample text for email and text message communication.
  • Teach them how to “ask” for money.
  • Make sure they really know the cause!
mobilize crowdfunding supporters

5. Focus on frequent communications

Crowdfunder communication:
Organizations that simply give campaign toolboxes to their crowdfunding captains and expect them to execute often fall short of expectations. An open line of communication between the captains and the organization should exist, as a matter of fact they should be connecting on a weekly-basis at a minimum. One thing organizations can do to eliminate complacency is create milestones to help the captains have a short-term goal to strive for.

donor communication

Donor communication:
Donors want to know where their money goes and the impact that it makes. Keeping this in mind, updating them to what is going on is a necessity. Giving donors’ updates makes them feel like they are an active part of the cause and assures them that their money is going directly to the cause which they support. Updates can also remind donors that the cause is unsolved and encourage them to give further. An organization should update fundraising info on donation pages, information regarding progress, pictures/videos to make sure they are current and any other information that they wish to share.

Organizational communication:
Communicating with crowdfunding captains and donors is very important; however, step one is communicating with the members of your nonprofit organization! Make sure everyone from board members to employees and volunteers understand what will go into the campaign and are on board with it. As checkpoints or milestones arise, social media postings should be made by all organizational members so that their social networks are engaged.

Ideas For Your Next Peer-To-Peer Fundraising Campaign

Runs, walks, swims, rides

Historically, walkathon and runathons have been some of the most popular fundraising events and crowdfunding is a great way to make these events even better! These events often have very large attendance but have potential for more. By using crowdfunding or peer-to-peer fundraising, an organization can not only further engage the supporters who would normally walk/run, but also can engage the networks of the supporters to reach people who normally wouldn’t walk/run at the event. This very powerful tool can help increase the attendance of your walkathon and runathons significantly!.

No Shave November

‘No Shave November’ was created to raise awareness for cancer but is now a mainstay in fundraising that is used for many different causes. An organization can use crowdfunding or peer-to-peer fundraising to maximize the effect of their ‘No Shave November’ campaign. Updates about statuses of beards can be posted on crowdfunding or peer-to-peer fundraising pages so that supporters can check in and see how much the crowdfunding captain is suffering by not being able to shave, a fun experience for everyone! Updates regarding fundraising goals can be posted as well so that when the supporters log in to see who has the longest, best or ugliest beard, they are also told the status of the campaign. This is a fun and easy way to rally support around an important cause!

Golf Event

Golf fundraising events are very popular but often not used because of cost. One thing to consider when holding a golf fundraiser is that it truly is “cheaper by the dozen”, meaning that the more people that come, the less costly the event will be. Using Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising can help organizations that fear they will not get enough turnout for the event by ensuring enough people come. Also sign up forms can be set up so that event registration and ticketing are an easy and stress-free process. Crowdfunding makes big events like golf fundraisers possible for nonprofit organizations of all sizes.

Anniversary Events

A great event to use crowdfunding for is an anniversary event. Anniversary events can celebrate being open for a defined period like a 10-year anniversary, they can be to celebrate the anniversary of a facility like a wing of a hospital that has been open for 5 years. Running crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns for these types of events is advantageous because it allows for the crowdfunders to explain the importance of the event before it occurs, and it does so on a crowdfunding page that can be accessed from anywhere.

CHAPTER 7:
Important Crowdfunding Statistics

Use the data below to help your leadership team set campaign goals, encourage volunteers, and follow up with donors in a way that will drive long-term fundraising success.

These handy nonprofit crowdfunding statistics will allow you to estimate all the crucial details that will make or break your crowdfunding campaign and allow you to reach your goals and grow your mission.

crowdfunding campaign plan

Crowdfunding Benchmarks

Team members raise
more donations than
individual crowdfunders

17%

Online donations
are a result of
Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

33%

Average amount
donated by an
individual donor

$66

Average amount
raised by an
individual fundraiser

$568

People give to
individual fundraisers,
on average

8

Crowdfunding
happens on a
mobile device

67%

Raised from crowdfunding globally

$5.5 billion

Donors are new

62%

Will give again

28%

Millennials have
fundraised for a
nonprofit organization

71%

Raised when crowdfunding
campaigns are
promoted by video

400%

Age range of
the average crowdfunding
campaign donor

24-35

CHAPTER 8:
Successful Crowdfunding Examples

Fundraising success—and how your organization achieves it using crowdfunding—may look a little different for every nonprofit, but there are certain elements to planning and executing winning campaigns that are common to all types of nonprofits.

These nonprofit crowdfunding examples will give you insights of all the crucial details that will make or break your crowdfunding campaign and allow you to raise more money then you ever thought possible.

successful crowdfunding campaign

Success Story #1

How United Way Central Maryland used Crowdfunding to raise over $500,000

After the death of Freddie Gray, riots sprung up in Baltimore, MD and resulted in the city sustaining massive losses. At least twenty police officers were injured, at least 250 people were arrested, 285 to 350 businesses were damaged, 150 vehicle fires occurred, 60 structure fires occurred, 27 drugstores were looted, thousands of police were deployed as well as Maryland National Guard troops and a state of emergency was declared in the city limits of Baltimore.

For the United Way Central Maryland, responding to the chaos that ensued following the Baltimore riots with the “Restore Baltimore” fund was quite the challenge because they needed a large amount of donations to come in as soon as possible to help restore the city. They knew of crowdfunding but not how to do it, so they contacted MobileCause.

This MobileCause crowdfunding campaign took on a life of its own and within weeks, we had raised more than a half of million dollars.

Molly Boncaro

Vice President, United Way of Central Maryland

united way crowdfunding

Take a look at our webinar below to listen to Molly talk about her successful crowdfunding campaign.

By using the MobileCause platform, they were able to quickly set up a crowdfunding campaign that people could use to easily make donations, become fundraisers and help promote the campaign. UWCM “Restore Baltimore” crowdfunding was kicked off with a press release, email blasts, text messages and social media announcements. People were encouraged to ‘give quickly’ by using the keyword ‘MDUNITES’ to submit their donations. All donors and fundraisers were recognized publicly on social media and on the “Restore Baltimore” donor wall. Multi-channel campaign content was kept cohesive and meaningful, with a consistent and simple call-to-action.

crowdfunding campaign

United Way Central Maryland Crowdfunding was a gigantic success with 100% of all donations going directly to the cause, restoring Baltimore, MD after the riots. It began with a goal of $20,000, and they were able to surpass that goal and ended up raising more than $570,000 to help those in need quickly through this crowdfunding campaign initiative.

United Way Central Maryland Campaign Results

$570,000 raised using crowdfunding

786 individual donors

$117 average gift size

100% of donations to the cause

Success Story #2

Northwood University Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Northwood University develops future leaders of a global, free-enterprise society through degree programs in business, finance and management. The Northwood Fund supports students, emergency fund scholarships, intramural athletics and academic programs.

Struggling to increase the number of donors and size of donation, Northwood University faced uncertainty. In order to get more donors and donations, they needed to increase participation. Researching the best way to engage donors and increase participation led them to the idea of crowdfunding. With this in mind, they contacted MobileCause for a solution.

MobileCause crowdfunding made it fun for alumni to raise donations and easy for them to make a difference… which was a big win for us!

Justin Marshall

Director of Advancement, Northwood University

Northwood Peer to peer campaign

Take a look at our webinar below to listen to Justin Marshall talk about his successful peer-to-per campaign.

The Northwood University crowdfunding campaign began as a 3-day pilot called “The Power of One”. It was made to test the effectiveness of reaching alumni and supporters with crowdfunding. 8 individuals were cold-called and all agreed to be captains, crowd-fundraisers. During a short meeting, alumni captains setup crowdfunding pages from the convenience of their smartphones. Alumni began sharing pages with personal networks by email, text and social media. These pages allowed for donations to Northwood University by texting IDEA to 71777.

crowdfunding campaign

Totaling 160 donors, this campaign was a huge success. Within 72-hours they exceeded their pilot goal of $2,500. Many donors expressed excitement about being able to make a difference on campus and one large donor offered a $10,000 matching grant for the campaign. The overall campaign generated $4,480 in online gifts and $8,890 in offline gifts plus the matching gift, a $13,370 total. Further, social media participation was at an all-time high.

Northwood University Campaign Results

$13,370 collected through donations

160 donors

$10,000 was donated through a matching grant program

Exceeded their goal of $2,500 in 72-hours

CHAPTER 9:
Where problems typically arise

Many nonprofits struggle with storytelling.

It is easy to think, “Why would anyone care what I have to say online? Why would they care about my story? Why would someone take 2 seconds of their day to actually read a story?”

But this line of thinking is incorrect. Storytelling allows people to put themselves in the shoes of someone else and feel their plight. This is a very powerful tool because it makes them feel both important and connected to the cause.

best text to donate service

Here are the difficulties or issues people run into when crowdfunding

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Problems getting donations

Certain crowdfunding platforms have experienced many issues with receiving pledged donations. Funds are often “lost” for undefined time periods and some organizations have even reported not getting any of their donations!

Finding a trustworthy provider that is reliable with the financial side of Crowdfunding makes life for a nonprofit organization much easier. Some crowdfunding platforms cannot deliver the funds within a week; however, MobileCause can have donations delivered directly into a nonprofit’s bank account.

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Information Security

The safety and security of your payment information is our highest priority at MobileCause. Information security is a growing concern for nearly every company in the tech industry and MobileCause is no exception.

What sets MobileCause apart is how seriously we take our information security. At MobileCause we don’t only value an organization, we also value its donors and their information that we ensure is safe at all times. If donors have to worry about getting their credit card information stolen, their bank account broken into or their phone number taken for solicitation, they are much less likely to give again. MobileCause is PCI DSS Level 1 Certified, the highest standard for credit-debit card security on the web.

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Fake Causes

Sites like GoFundMe and Kick Starter use a quick review so the organization is not vetted. MobileCause ONLY works with government 501(c)(3) organizations, nonprofit organizations.

Minimal curation has been a huge issue in recent history as campaigns with real causes made by people who are not related and keep the money for themselves. When looking for a crowdfunding platform, many organizations steer clear of software provided by companies that have lax curation regarding the cause that their technology will support.

Supporters that have dealt with problems like these in the past often steer clear of these providers due to their poor experiences in the past.

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High Fees

Many crowdfunding sites not only have a platform fee but also have a processor fee and on top of that a per transaction fee.

GoFundMe for example has a 5% of funds raised fee plus 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction (varies slightly by country), or 4.25% for charities.

MobileCause offers a flat rate 2.5% credit card processing fee with zero transaction fees.

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