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Top 15 Nonprofit Crowdfunding and Fundraising Tips

Published by Salvador Briggman. Find him on Twitter.

This article is sponsored by the BluAmp Bluetooth Amplifier crowdfunding campaign, which has raised over $17,000 on Kickstarter and is still accepting pledges for 30 more days. “Small and powerful amplifier plays straight from your phone over bluetooth, on any speakers.”

If you’re thinking of launching a crowdfunding campaign for your nonprofit organization, I’d recommend starting with my previous two articles Nonprofit Crowdfunding and Peer to Peer Fundraising and Top 10 crowdfunding websites for nonprofits.

If you’re in the throes of a crowdfunding campaign, stay tuned! Below, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best tips around the web that yield some insight into what makes nonprofit crowdfunding campaigns successful.

1. The Fundraising Authority

the fundraising authority

“Don’t expect to slap up a fundraising campaign, go away for three weeks, then come back to find that you’ve raise $1 million.  It doesn’t work that way.  You’ll need to get the word our first, get some traction from your own supporters, and then you may get some unexpected help.” – See: How to Use Crowd-Funding Sites to Raise Money for Your Non-Profit.

2. Huffington Post

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“One of the most difficult parts of crowdfunding is getting off zero. Fundraising campaigns tend to be a bit like middle school lunch tables: Nobody wants to be the first to sit down but they quickly attract fair-weather fans and band-wagon jumpers. Donors tend to follow the masses and many donors may feel uncomfortable donating to a campaign with a $50,000 goal if the campaign is on zero dollars raised. There are some things you can do to mitigate this.

Well before your campaign launches you should reach out to your closest friends, biggest advocates and various board members that you know for a fact will support the fundraiser. Inform them of your plans to launch the campaign, and request that they please donate on the first day, or better yet, within the first few hours of launching. Here at WeDidIt we sometimes even push our clients to do a “soft launch” the night before the campaign is scheduled to be widely promoted. That way your early advocates can donate and by the time the campaign has a hard launch and reaches the masses it’s already well off zero.” - How to Successfully Crowdfund for Your Nonprofit.

3. GuideStar Blog

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“Join the conversation” is a common tagline used in social media, which implies that using social media is as much about receiving from your audience as it is about reaching out to them.

Pay attention to the feedback or the lack thereof; you’ll learn if the ways you’re amplifying your message resonates with your audience. Then you can adjust your posts as necessary.

They might ask questions about the campaign, or need help troubleshooting, or just want to cheer you on. Any kind of interaction requires response – this is what makes social media social.”How to use social media for nonprofit crowdfunding.

4. The Toolbox

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“One of the key differences between a crowdfunding campaign and a charity drive is that we can offer supporters something much more exciting than a tax receipt - rewards. Make yours fun and desirable, so people feel good about giving and getting. There’s no need to buy rewards, you can ask sponsors to donate, or offer something created as part of your project. 

Play up the game-like aspects of a crowdfunding campaign. Knowing how close you are to reaching your tipping point is a strong motivator for supporters – they’ll want to get you over the line!”Five Crowdfunding Tips For Charities, Non-Profits And Changemakers.

5. Entrepreneur

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“If you want to run and scale a social enterprise to really make a difference in the world, you often can’t bank on people supporting you because “you’re trying to do good.” That will only take you so far. You must have an incredible product or service first, and then build the ‘goodness’ around that. Take Annie’s Homegrown, for instance. The company didn’t spend years working on creating the best sustainably-sourced mac n’ cheese, it wanted to produce the best mac n’ cheese aound. Period.

That focus on delivering an incredible product has now led to an incredibly loyal customer base, tons of products and an extremely successful IPO. Along the way, they’ve had a massive impact on the lives of the farmers and customers they touch. It all started with putting quality first.”Social Entrepreneurship Tips from Annie’s, Patagonia and Fund Good Jobs.

7. CauseVox

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“You need to plan far in advance. We are a little behind but it’s not too bad. I think the strength of our campaign is daily champions who blog on our profile, and share the message about the campaign to their contacts through social media, email, and in person.

Some of our champions have a very high profile in our local arts community, business sector, and the local political arena. We have members of Canadian and Ontario parliaments on board as well as one of the mayors in our area.

We hope to raise all of the money for our campaign but believe that this initiative will also help to raise awareness about the organization (Community Justice Initiatives) and the need to help women in prison not just punish them.” - 15 Days of Transformation for Women in Prison shares crowdfunding tips.

8. Razoo Blog

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“Love your donors.  Treat them like investors.

This, my friends, is the most important of all the tips.  I was in a conversation with a friend in the nonprofit community who told me that it’s all about nonprofits and fundraisers – the donors are just “cattle” to be moved through the system.  Wrong!

The donor, in many ways, is the most important person.  Donor Sally is making an investment with her hard-earned money into a cause.  Sally may have given “only” $15, but she could have done lots of other productive things with that money.  Sally doesn’t need to be a 5-figure donor to be considered a philanthropist and investor in a cause.  And, by the way, Sally’s friends probably hit her up on a regular basis for fundraiser donations.  She’s also probably pulling her hair out from all the mailings she gets for the cause she gave $20 to last year.

So, put yourself in Sally’s shoes (or at least her Gmail account).  You’re the donor.  How would you want to be treated?  How would you want to be “asked” so that it doesn’t feel spammy or obnoxious?  Let’s say you’re drawn in, and are compelled to give.  What’s going to make you feel like your donation accomplished something?

It’s totally reasonable for you as a donor to ask, “What’s in it for me? How will this make society better?” - Top Ten Fundraising Tips — Tip #1 Love Your Donors.

9. GoFundMe Blog

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“If you’re raising money for something that you strongly believe in, chances are that the people in your life will be eager to support you.

Sharing on Facebook is the absolute best way to reach out to those closest to you, and let them know what or who you are raising money for. Your friends and family will be the ones most willing to contribute, and also will be more likely to share your page with others.

Key points:

  • Ask your friends and family to “Like” and share your page on Facebook as well!

  • If you do not have a Facebook account, consider asking a close friend or relative who does to administer your page. Sharing your page on Facebook increases donations by 350%. It really is THAT important.

  • Be sure to add a personalized message when you share, explaining why your cause means so much to you – a simple, direct, and heartfelt appeal will get you the most views.”5 steps to a successful campaign.

10. Fundrazr Blog

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“As a non-profit, it’s essential that you utilize the non-profit brand you have built over the years. That means offering branded merchandisesuch as hats, t-shirts, mugs, pens, posters, etc as perks. Furthermore,invites to fundraising events, meeting senior member of the organization, or even a tour of your facilities are also great perk ideas.

Remember, donors donate because they relate to your cause, so anything you find exciting will probably resonate with them as well.

Look at how other non-profit organizations have used perks to enhance their campaign.” - Great perk ideas for a crowdfunding campaign.

11. Love NonProfits

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“Human beings are natural storytellers, so stories often capture our imaginations more easily than facts do. Try collecting anecdotes about your work from staff members, stakeholders, or the beneficiaries of your work. These can be great to layer into your annual appeal, but save some for other times of the year as well. You can even make them a regular feature on your website or in your communications with your supporters. These stories will help to build a sense of community among your followers and members – you can even encourage them to send their own!”Engaging Your Members & Supporters

12. Foundation Center

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“Hold an event to kick off your fundraising campaign. This does not have to be anything expensive or fancy – a casual gathering at a local bar or restaurant will do the trick – but an event can bring a bit of extra attention to your campaign and make it a little more memorable for your attendees when it comes time to contribute to your project. What also works well is to plan an event for the end of your campaign, and offer exclusive invites as your rewards for donors.” - Tips for Boosting Your Crowdfunding Success.

13. npENGAGE

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“Nonprofits are being called to a higher standard of transparency because donors what to know how their money is being used and what type of impact your organization is making (Madeline Turner has a few thoughts on showing your impact). Instead of placing a blind trust in charitable organizations potential donors can go to folks like Charity Navigator who rate charities and provide information on the percentage of each donation spent on charitable programs versus overhead expenses.

How are you responding? With the increased call for transparency nonprofits like Susan G. Komen and Livestrong have put their financials front and center. As soon as you land on each of their donation forms you’ll notice a breakout of their financials that shows you how they allocate money to difference areas of their work.” - 15 Techniques Used by Top Nonprofits to Boost Donor Acquisition and Online Fundraising Results.

14. Six Degrees

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“Empower your Internet superstars to share their connection to your cause with others through their blogs and social networking sites.

  • Help supporters create a good badge or widget to promote on their sites and social networks
  • Create an area of your site with starter text, images and video that supporters can repurpose
  • Keep supporters aware and updated about matching grant campaigns and contests
  • Make it easy for supporters to share and tell stories; making it personal is important
  • Thank supporters for their dedication and hard work!”Viral Fundraising Tips for your Nonprofit!

15. RealSEO

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“Build different videos for different parts of the customer cycle.The first step is to start thinking about the different approaches and how you can combine these approaches to get the video you need. ‘Fundraising is a cycle – from awareness to solicitation to thank you to stewardship to upgrade to renewal. Video can work in every one of those parts of the cycle and in fact might work much better in the parts that aren’t solicitation.’

Hoffman says the most common mistake organizations make is thinking that their video should be about the organization rather than a story about one of their constituents, donors or the people they serve. He also says one of the reasons for this mistake is simply this: these same organizations don’t make enough videos. ‘If you have one video per year, then everyone wants to make sure everything is in that video. This is a recipe for boring.’ he says.”10 Video Campaign and Fundraising Tips for Nonprofits and Social Causes Source: 10 Video Campaign and Fundraising Tips for Nonprofits and Social Causes

 

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4 Comments »

  • Johnny Lee said:

    Very helpful article, I had a friend who used peer to peer fundraising and ir worked really well, as it gave more sense of responsibility to those involved. If your people in the network share common goal and commitment then thing will be that much easier and a load off your back – not necessarily so much hand-holding. It can also bring the group of people closer together. It was about supporting homeless kids in china and she raised a lot more than she expected. With all the non-profit fundraising sites available listed above, it’s good to know that there are resources out there to help causes other than money and profit.

  • CrowdCrux (author) said:

    That’s cool! I feel like peer-to-peer fundraising is just starting to get more steam. See: Nonprofit Crowdfunding vs. Peer-to-Peer fundraising: http://www.crowdcrux.com/non-profit-crowdfunding-and-peer-to-peer-fundraising/

    Yea, I agree that it’s a powerful tool to bring people together. Arguably, that is more powerful than a simple donation, because it involves people in the initiative and makes them want to participate the next time you are raising money for a cause (if they had a good experience).

  • startsomegood said:

    Hey there,
    I’m Natasha and I’m from StartSomeGood.com – the crowdfunding platform for social change projects. Just to add to this, we run an free email course Crowdfunding 101 which you can sign up to in the bottom right hand corner of our website! http://www.startsomegood.com
    Cheers,
    Natasha at StartSomeGood

  • CrowdCrux (author) said:

    Thanks for sharing!

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