Crowdfunding Charity

How crowdfunding has changed the face of charity

Believe it or not, sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are for more than neat projects and games. They can also be powerful platforms for nonprofits. We’ll explain how.


When people believe in a cause, they’ll put money towards it. It doesn’t matter if that cause is a startup, a new product, or a fundraiser. It’s an incredibly simple concept and, perhaps for some, an obvious one.


But it’s also the idea at the core of crowdfunding  of sites like Kickstarter, CauseVox, and Indiegogo.


“Of all the innovative advances in online fundraising over the past decade, one of the most impressive has to be the rise of crowdfunding websites,” writes Fundraising Authority’s Joe Garecht. “While features differ from site to site, at their most basic crowd-funding sites are websites that allow your non-profit to set up an online fundraising campaign based around a fundraising page, and accept money directly from that page using the website’s own credit card processor.”


Sounds incredible, right? They’re literally a platform for your nonprofit to reach its audience and allow them to participate in its cause. They make raising money faster and more efficient than ever before, and allow you to reach a larger audience than you might ever have dreamed possible.


Not so fast: While I won’t deny that crowdfunding sites are an incredibly valuable tool, they’re not the only thing you need in order for your fundraiser to succeed. They cannot, for example, replace platforms like Facebook or Twitter in terms of reach, nor can they provide the awareness that can be gained through more traditional marketing avenues.


“Many non-profits that find out about crowd-funding websites get very excited and make the mistake of thinking that these sites are magical cures for all of their revenue woes,” continues Garecht. “Crowd-funding sites can be a huge help, but they are not a fundraising panacea.”


Instead, you should treat crowdfunding as something you can use in addition to social media. And you shouldn’t use it without a clear goal in mind, either. Before you think of setting up a new crowdfunding page, there are a few questions you’ll need to ask yourself:


  • What do I want this project to achieve? What cause am I trying to support here?
  • What crowdfunding platform will I use? Which one best suits my needs? (Kickstarter and Indiegogo, for example, might not be the best platforms to use – you’d likely be better off going with one like DonorsChoose or CauseCast)
  • How do I intend to reach my target audience? How will I integrate these avenues with my crowdfunding platform?
  • When will the fundraiser begin and end?
  • How will I demonstrate progress to my donors?
  • How will funds be allocated?
  • What will I do to customize my fundraiser’s page and make it appealing to my audience?


Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll then be ready to kick off your campaign, and see what crowdfunding can really do for your cause.


(This guest post was contributed by Brad Wayland, CSO at BlueCotton)

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