Crowdfunding is one of the fastest growing and most impactful fundraising methods that nonprofits turn to every day, and it’s not difficult to see why.
With nonprofit crowdfunding, your organization gets to leverage the power of your supporters’ personal networks to help you reach your fundraising goals while also spreading the word about your mission.
Not only that, but with an ever-growing arsenal of powerful online fundraising tools at your disposal, nonprofit crowdfunding has never been easier.
Is your nonprofit ready to rock your next crowdfunding campaign? Let’s check out some of the ten best nonprofit crowdfunding ideas your team can use to take your fundraiser to the next level:
- Take the guesswork out of nonprofit crowdfunding
- Hold a wacky wager
- Auction off your supporters’ services
- Promote matching gifts for your campaign
- Host a run/walk for your nonprofit crowdfunding campaign
- Stage a crowdfunder bailout
- Film crowdfunder challenge videos
- Put on a talent competition for supporters
- Offer branded crowdfunding rewards
- Launch a clash of the crowdfunders
With any one of these ideas, your crowdfunding campaign is sure to be a success (but we suggest pairing your favorites together). Keep reading for an in-depth breakdown of each of these awesome strategies!
FREE BONUS: Download our free crowdfunding e-book. Easily save it on your computer for quick reference or print it for your nonprofit organization’s next event meeting. Learn more about starting a peer-to-peer crowdfunding movement!
1. Take the guesswork out of nonprofit crowdfunding
It might seem a little on the nose, but it’s worth emphasizing: What’s the simplest way to ensure your nonprofit reaches its crowdfunding goals? Be clear with supporters about what kinds of gifts you need to succeed.
Your team can steer supporters in the right direction by:
- Incorporating your gift range chart into marketing materials
- Highlighting the impact of gifts at every level throughout your marketing
- Providing giving suggestions as buttons on your online donation forms
Check out how United Way seamlessly incorporates gift suggestion buttons into their online donation forms. During your nonprofit’s next crowdfunding campaign, make sure your online giving pages feature these useful tools!
With MobileCause, your organization can easily customize your online donation forms to feature giving buttons like these, as well as your branded logo, colors, and more.
Sometimes, all that’s standing between donors and making a donation is not realizing their potential impact or being unaware of the kind of support your organization is looking for. Make your needs clear to them and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want!
2. Hold a wacky wager
When you’re crowdfunding, it never hurts to get a little silly. Consider holding a wacky wager with donors as a fun way to engage supporters. For this strategy, representatives of your org will partake in goofy challenges or “punishments” decided on by your supporters.
When carrying out your wacky wager, follow these guidelines:
- Hold a vote. Allow supporters to vote on ideas for your wacky wager by donating. The more votes an idea gets, the more money your nonprofit raises.
- Tip the scales. Let donors vote more than once and count every dollar as one vote. This encourages donors to give larger gifts as well as to continue giving over time.
- Mobilize your team. Have your staff, volunteers, and even board members commit to carrying out the challenges chosen by your donors.
Silly activities like these are a great way to bring some fun into the crowdfunding process as well as foster camaraderie among your supporters. The funnier the challenges, the better! If you strike comedy gold, your crowdfunding campaign is even more likely to go viral and reach new donors.
3. Auction off your supporters’ services
One simple way to involve your existing base of supporters in your crowdfunding campaign is to have them offer their services to the highest bidding donors. They might pledge their professional services or offer a sought-after talent to the public.
Not only does a charity auction like this empower your supporters to step outside of the box to raise money for your cause, but it also is an extremely low-cost way to reward donors for their gifts.
Your nonprofit can hold an in-person auction for a fundraising event, or you may hold a rolling auction on your website and social media platforms to engage with potential donors at their convenience.
Additionally, by associating an auction with your nonprofit’s crowdfunding campaign, supporters have the option of giving money directly to your fundraiser helping you reach your goals by donating their time as an auction prize.
With multiple ways to participate, your organization is sure to see more supporters getting in on your crowdfunding efforts!
Interested in holding an auction as part of your crowdfunder? Check out some of these ideas for charity auction items for additional ways your team can raise money during your campaign.
4. Promote matching gifts
Not all supporters know about matching gift programs to begin with, let alone whether or not their employer matches donations.
Your nonprofit could be missing out on additional fundraising dollars simply by not taking the time to help donors get their gifts matched by their company.
Use these tips to make the matching gift process simpler for your nonprofit’s crowdfunding campaign supporters:
- Embed a matching gift tool in your nonprofit’s donation forms
- Brand the matching gift tool to your nonprofit
- Prominently endorse matching gifts across your social media platforms and website
Don’t leave money on the table! Employer matched gifts are basically free money for your crowdfunding campaign. Make the process of getting a gift matched as simple as possible for your supporters.
Want to learn more about matching gifts? Visit DonorSearch for an in-depth look at how your nonprofit can leverage the power of employer matching gift programs to maximize your donors’ giving potential.
5. Host a run/walk for your nonprofit crowdfunding campaign
Many crowdfunding campaigns are anchored around a motivating on-site event that rallies supporters for your cause. Fundraising runs and walks are some of the most common events that get tied in with crowdfunding campaigns, and for good reason!
To make the most of your crowdfunding campaign’s run or walk, your nonprofit should:
- Sell tickets. In addition to accepting pledges to participants in your run or walk, your nonprofit can bolster donations by selling tickets to the event itself.
- Broadcast your event online. Don’t lose out on supporters who can’t participate in the run/walk or who aren’t able to make the event as spectators. Broadcast your event on your website and social media pages accompanied by clear directions to donation forms!
- Enable giving at the event. While at the event, be sure supporters can continue to donate to your cause using mobile giving options such as text donation tools or on-site giving tools like card swipers.
What makes runs and walks such dynamic fundraising events for your crowdfunding campaign is that they offer many points of access to supporters. If they choose not to participate in the event itself, they can still pledge money to a runner or walker, attend the event in person, or cheer everyone on from the comfort of their computer.
6. Stage a crowdfunder bailout
Another fun way to drum up fundraising buzz is to hold a crowdfunder bailout. Not only does an event like this one motivate your existing base of supporters to give, but it also is a great way to spread your crowdfunding campaign far and wide.
A crowdfunder bailout typically plays out like this:
- First, your nonprofit places a number of supporters in a virtual jail.
- Then, these jailed supporters call on their social networks to bail them out by giving to your crowdfunding campaign.
- Once they’re freed, they get to nominate other supporters to be thrown in jail.
Just like a chain letter, crowdfunder bailouts are an easy way to “pass the buck” from supporter to supporter that enables your base to boost donations for your cause.
7. Film crowdfunder challenge videos
Crowdfunding challenge videos are one of the most popular ways to bring new supporters to your fundraiser and are likely one of the first things you think of when you think of crowdfunding for nonprofits.
To get started, your team will film videos of your staff, volunteers, or board participating in a challenge of your choice.
Choose a challenge that’s memorable and has something to do with your mission. If you’re an animal advocacy organization, for instance, you might challenge supporters to wear dog ears in public for the day.
Challenge videos are a great brand building technique and once the public gets in on the challenge, your campaign can spread like wildfire.
8. Put on a talent competition for supporters
Talent competitions are another type of fun event your team can put on to get your supporters excited about your crowdfunding campaign.
These events are a great asset to your fundraising efforts because they both entertain supporters as well as serve as a way to bring new eyes to your nonprofit’s crowdfunding pages.
Consider these guidelines when planning your talent competition:
- Enlist a celebrity host. All the best talent shows have fun celebrity hosts! Recruit a celebrity (even just a local one) to help drum up buzz for your competition and campaign.
- Hold a video competition. Your talent competition doesn’t need to be in person, or even all on the same day. A long-term video series showcasing the talents of your supporters can help bring in new online donors when people share these videos among their social networks.
- Enable mobile donation. Like with a wacky wager, have supporters vote for their favorite competitors by donating. Even if your event is on site, your audience can cast their “ballots” using text-to-donate tools from the comfort of their seats.
As much as your supporters love donating to your cause, it never hurts to share your spotlight for a little while! Hosting a talent competition is a great way to motivate gifted supporters to raise money for your cause while providing them a platform to show their stuff.
9. Offer branded crowdfunding rewards
Sometimes, donors need a little push before making their gift to your nonprofit. During your nonprofit crowdfunding campaign, a simple way to motivate supporters is by offering small rewards to them after they donate.
When offering donation rewards, keep a few things in mind:
- Have your corporate partners provide the rewards in exchange for branded advertising on the items
- Offer small rewards (stickers, buttons, totes) to supporters who share your campaign on their social media pages
- Incentivize donors by varying rewards at different gift ranges and only offering a set number of each reward item
Even if the rewards are nominal, having that extra motivating factor can be the push your supporters are looking for. Even better, when their friends see these items in person, their interest in your nonprofit will be piqued.
10. Launch a clash of the crowdfunders
Nothing helps supporters get in on your nonprofit crowdfunding campaign more than adding a little competition into the mix. During your crowdfunding campaign, you can challenge two high-impact crowdfunders to compete to raise the most money for your cause.
Your team can incentivize these challengers by offering the winner a prize once they reach the finish line or by naming a “punishment” for the loser.
You might even hold a March Madness style competition where multiple supporters face off against one another, eliminating competitors until the two highest-earning fundraisers compete for a grand prize.
Even more fun? Organize your crowdfunders into teams. Your nonprofit can enable team crowdfunding pages and watch as different factions of your supporters go head-to-head. The more competitive they are, the more money your nonprofit raises!
See? There are so many ways your nonprofit can make your next crowdfunding campaign a huge success. Now get out there and start spreading your campaign!
- Online Fundraising: The Beginner’s Guide. Crowdfunding is just one of many ways your nonprofit can reach its fundraising goals online. Want to learn more about digital fundraising strategies? Take a look at our helpful guide for answers to everything you’ve ever wanted to know about this evolving subject.
- Fundraising Software: The Buyer’s Guide for Nonprofits. If your organization is ready to embark on a crowdfunding campaign, you should know that this will require investing in software that is up to the task. Not sure what software solutions you need? Consult our buyer’s guide before you make your purchase.
- 5 University Fundraising Strategies for Standout Campaigns. Traditional nonprofit organizations aren’t the only ones who can benefit greatly from crowdfunding: it’s also a great fundraising resource for universities! Check out some more surefire strategies for improving your university’s next fundraising campaign.
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