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7 steps to master crowdfunding for nonprofits

Learn how to make an impact and raise funds quickly. This guide explains how crowdfunding for nonprofits can help your next fundraising campaign succeed.

Grace Woodward
April 21, 2022
Nerd Mr Butter

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The world of fundraising has changed. Traditional bake sales and door-to-door fundraisers still work, but crowdfunding for nonprofits gives you new opportunities. It’ll help you make an impact, raise funds, and connect with loyal and new donors. 

Crowdfunding makes it possible to reach new audiences at scale while creating ways to attract and engage supporters. Below, discover why crowdfunding for nonprofits can be a powerful way to raise funds and how to get the best results from your next fundraising campaign. 

What is crowdfunding? 💰

Crowdfunding refers to raising small amounts of money from a large number of people—typically to support a new business venture. Initially, crowdfunding emerged as an alternative to venture capital firms, where a small group of wealthy investors offered financial support to entrepreneurs and startups.

That said, nonprofit organizations can leverage crowdfunding to accomplish their mission without hiring more internal staff. As a result, crowdfunding has become an alternative way to raise finances for good causes without pitching to private donors individually or running big-budget marketing campaigns. 

Crowdfunding typically happens through online fundraising platforms, where supporters can donate through a landing page or donation page set up by a nonprofit organization, business, or individual. You could also crowdfund in-person at a pitch-style event, then bring your offline and online donations together to see your total in one place.

Scale up your fundraising efforts 

Crowdfunding for nonprofits allows organizations to reach a broader audience than traditional fundraising methods, such as charity runs, bake sales, or even silent auctions. It offers an affordable way to scale your visibility without investing time or much-needed funds in multiple events or promotional campaigns. 

Once your page is live on the crowdfunding platform, it has the potential to be seen by your loyal supporters and then shared with friends, family, and beyond.

If you’re a fledgling nonprofit or have a small supporter base, crowdfunding can open you up to a bigger audience eager to learn about and support your cause. 

Choose a nonprofit fundraising platform like Givebutter that offers advanced functionality like peer-to-peer fundraising, event registration, social sharing, and custom-branded fundraising pages to reach a broad audience. 

Through Givebutter’s marketing automation platform, Engage, supporters can easily spread the word about your campaign through SMS messages, emails, and one-click social sharing. In addition, you can keep tabs on recurring and potential donors alike through Givebutter’s built-in CRM platform, Track.

7 crowdfunding tips for nonprofits

Not all crowdfunding campaigns are created equal. Some go viral and raise money with ease, while others struggle to attract attention. Don’t panic—we’ve got the tips to help you stand out, make an impact, and reach the right people. 

Whether you’re new to crowdfunding for nonprofits or want to see better results from your next campaign, here are some of our favorite tips and ideas. 

1. Set a goal you can measure 🎯

Franchesca Ramsey saying yes GIF

The best way to start your crowdfunding campaign is with a goal you can measure. Create a SMART goal that’s specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This helps you stay focused and motivated, as you’re less likely to be distracted by opportunities or decisions that steer you away from your goal. It’s also much easier to record your progress and feel a sense of achievement when you hit your nonprofit crowdfunding goal or target. 

Once you’ve set a measurable goal, you can share it with your team and supporters. For example, let everyone know that your goal is to raise $10,000 to support the refurbishment of a community building by September 1. Or maybe you’d like to hit your target of $5,000 to supply care packages for local families in need by Christmas Eve. (Psst! Be sure to display your goal for all to see on your fundraising page with a goal bar.)

These specific, tangible goals also make it easier for your supporters to connect with you. They can see their contribution’s impact, which can motivate them to become loyal supporters or share the fundraiser with their friends and family. 

2. Understand your target audience 😊

Before you launch your fundraiser, it helps to get to know your audience. You can then plan your crowdfunding campaign, messaging, and promotion around their wants, needs, and habits. 

You might have a good idea of who your supporters are, but if not, now is a great time to analyze your donor data and build a picture of your supporter base. First, determine how old they are, where they’re based, and their prior donor history. Then, dig deeper to find out what motivates them to donate, what they’re passionate about, and which social media platforms they use. 

Store this valuable information in Givebutter’s built-in donor management platform, Track, where you can build a donor profile for each contact, create custom segments, and even track all activities (emails or texts sent) between each supporter.

Use donor data to tailor your next crowdfunding campaign to your audience.

This way, you’ll know where to reach your current donors and which fundraising ideas will resonate most with them. You can also avoid costly advertising mistakes by focusing any paid promotion of your fundraiser on social networks your supporters know and love. 

3. Find the right fundraising platform 🖥️

You know your fundraising goals, and you know your audience. Next, you need to find a crowdfunding website that makes connecting the two simple. 

Givebutter is the donor-centric, modern, always-free, all-in-one fundraising platform that you’ll love using. You’ll be able to leverage 130+ free fundraising tools that make it easy to collect donations, reach new supporters, and manage fundraising events from one place. This is great for both small teams and larger nonprofits that want to stay organized, efficient, and mindful of their time. 

Of course, there are other fundraising websites out there. Take a look at our comparison guide to see how we compare to alternatives like Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and Classy (note: Classy was acquired by GoFundMe in 2022 but remains an independent platform).

4. Personalize your campaign page 🎨

Your nonprofit deserves to stand out, so look for a crowdfunding platform that gives you plenty of customization options. 

With Givebutter, you can personalize your campaign page to create a space that looks and feels like home for your supporters. Start by creating your page with custom branding, page layouts, and theme colors that match your brand and creativity. Next, leverage the built-in Canva integration to create a flawlessly-designed page to wow your supporters. From there, you can embed donate buttons and donation forms directly into your website to help guide supporters to your campaign.

5. Give people a reason to support you 📽️

People want to gain a clear understanding of the cause they’re supporting. So share who you are, what you do, and why your fundraiser is such an important mission to stand behind. Fortunately, Givebutter makes it easy to share your story right on your donation page through text, photos, video, and an active supporter feed.

Build a relationship with your supporters through your story and impact, and make raising money easier. For example, you might talk about a recent project you’ve worked on, share an update from a previous fundraiser, or explain how each contribution makes a difference in your community.

6. Share progress updates with your donor base 📗

As you attract supporters, make sure you stay in touch with them. Launch a marketing automation campaign that connects with supporters across multiple channels, such as text, email, and social media.

Sharing progress updates can also help convert people who land on your crowdfunding page into recurring supporters.

Progress updates show how active, engaged, and passionate you are about your cause and can encourage people to become a supporter or add a further donation.

It’s also a great way to attract interest from the media—especially if you’ve hit a milestone

7. Make it easy for supporters to give ✔️

Lastly, if you want to harness the power of crowdfunding for nonprofits, you need to make it as easy as possible for supporters to give.

Fortunately, Givebutter accepts all payment methods, including Venmo, Apple Pay, Google Pay, text-to-donate, ACH, major credit cards, and even offline donations (like checks or cash). And unlike other crowdfunding sites, Givebutter is free and doesn’t charge hidden fees, so you keep more of what you raise. In fact, Givebutter’s pricing model runs off 100% optional donor tips, making the average fee across all nonprofit crowdfunding campaigns less than .5%.

Unlock the power of crowdfunding for nonprofits

Crowdfunding for nonprofits allows you to reach new supporters and donors, no matter where they are. It’s an opportunity to spread awareness and raise money like never before. 

Harness the power of crowdfunding for nonprofits and use it as a chance to get creative, engage with your community, and attract attention from the people who matter most. With the right fundraising platform, a meaningful goal, and a worthwhile cause, you’ll be on your way toward creating a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Givebutter helps you get the most from your crowdfunding efforts through built-in marketing automation, CRM, and 130+ fundraising tools. Givebutter is the always-free, donor-centric platform that helps bring out the changemaker in all of us. Take a tour today to help see how Givebutter can help bring your fundraising strategy to life.

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