pexels-photo-893895Crowdfunding campaigns take both skill and luck to be successful. According to data reported by Fundly, only half of these campaigns reach their goals.

This type of fundraising activity is specially designed to attract large groups of people to contribute to your cause. While a single donation of $5, $10 or even just $1 won’t allow your NFP to make much of an impact, receiving a large number of these small donations will!

Crowdfunding campaigns allow your supporters to contribute with just the click of a mouse, greatly simplifying the fundraising process. Many of these platforms handle the processing of payments for the NFP and offer helpful tools that can be used to customise messaging, as well as track and analyse your results so that you can make changes while the campaign is still in process.

A crowdfunding campaign can be created as a standalone event or added on to other fundraising activities to boost your results. The following strategies will help you use crowdfunding to your nonprofit’s best advantage.

Tell Your NFP’s Story and Add Images and Video to Your Message

Just as you would for any other type of fundraising campaign, make sure that the messaging on your crowdfunding campaign is consistent with your NFP’s brand identity and values. Use images, or video, when you create your appeal to make a more personal connection with your audience. This way, potential donors can visibly see how important your work is to the community, and how their donation, even if it is a small one, has the power to transform lives and improve the living situation for many.

When crafting your appeal, take into consideration the four basic human-interest story types that tend to resonate well with most audiences. These are:

- the quest/searching for the answer storyline
- the alleviating suffering/repairing the damage after a disaster
- a “rags to riches,” or rebuilding one’s live story
- the overcoming challenges/defeating monsters and demons tale of overcoming obstacles and achieving redemption

Think about the work that your nonprofit does to help others, and ask yourself how you can tell personal stories from these four vantage points to create a message that is inspiring or meaningful to potential supporters.

Target Specific Audiences

Crowdfunding campaigns work best when NFPs use the platform to target a specific audience. This is typically a niche audience that already has a personal connection to the cause, or, a very broad, general audience whose interests and concerns intersect with the values and mission of the nonprofit. Create relevant hashtags for your campaign that are meaningful to your audience and that will make it easier to share.

Give Gifts to Encourage Greater Giving

Many crowdfunding platforms will allow you to set suggested gift levels, and, to then reward donors with small gifts and other perks when their contribution reaches the designated level. When creating your donation tiers and gift packages, always look for a way to tie in the suggested contribution to the impact that can be made with a gift at a specific dollar amount to encourage larger gifts.

If your platform allows it as an option, encourage contributors to opt-in for recurring gifts, and offer your donor a perk that reflects the impact made by repeat donations. To make your donations go farther, ask local businesses and key donors to provide the rewards to lower your fundraising costs.

Helpful Features to Look for in a Crowdfunding Platform

To help your donations go farther, look for a platform like GoFundMe that doesn’t charge nonprofits a fee to create a profile or campaign. Some platforms also charge a fee to process the payment for the donations, which can vary widely. These processing fees can apply to each transaction, as well as be a percentage of your total donations. Typically, these costs can add up to 3 to 10% or more of your total donations. That’s why it’s a good idea to shop around and ensure you are getting the best deal for the services that are provided.

A specific platform may charge additional fees for extra services, which may be worth it by making the platform easier to use for both the NFP and its supporters. Valuable options include:

- the ability to automatically send donors a receipt for their donation
- add-ons like CRM integration
- customised branded fundraising and team pages
- the ability to run two or more campaigns simultaneously
- mobile-friendly forms
- built-in apps, such as those offered by Causes that allow users to campaign to network and increase support for their work

Turn Your Supporters into Evangelists for Your Cause

Make it easy for your supporters to share your campaign and increase your results. Give them handouts and other materials that tell the backstory of your nonprofit, how it started, highlights of your achievements and your plans for the future so that they can speak with understanding and authority when they ask others to donate to your NFP.

Create branded campaign banners and customised, branded frames for their Facebook profile photos for supporters to use to increase the reach of your messaging. Encourage supporters to share their own stories about your work, and how it impacts them on a personal level and urge them to create their own fundraising challenges and share them on their social media channels to encourage broader participation in your fundraiser!

Don’t Forget to Post Regular Updates

Most platforms allow users to post updates on their progress. Studies show that the most successful campaigns include at least four updates, so take the time to let others know how close, or far, you are to reaching your goal. You can also get things off to a good start by asking a key donor to give at the beginning of the event to encourage others to join them in advancing your work. Use your other social media channels to send tweets and posts to issue challenges, send out kudos, thanks and other acknowledgements and otherwise keep your supporters interested in your progress so that they don’t forget to contribute to your fundraising event.