If you’re not too familiar with crowdfunding, it’s time to learn how to incorporate it into your fundraising strategy. Not only is crowdfunding a fun way to raise money for your organization, but also it’s a great way to engage with potential donors outside of your donor list.


What is crowdfunding?

When you hear someone say they’re crowdfunding for a project, it means they’re raising funds from a large number of different people. Crowdfunding started in the for-profit sector as a way for entrepreneurs to attract small level investments. But as with many successful for-profit initiatives, it found its way into the nonprofit world and is an extremely valuable way to fund projects, drive campaigns, and build small communities that support your mission.

In case you’ve never planned a crowdfunding campaign, we’ll cover the basics of how to get started. And if crowdfunding is already in your fundraising playbook, keep reading for some great tips to use in future campaigns.

How do crowdfunding campaigns work?

There are two key components to any successful crowdfunding campaign: a goal and a reason. So, before you dive into planning the nuts and bolts of your campaign, first make sure that you’ve set an achievable (yet challenging) fundraising goal. Then, think about the reason for crafting this campaign. What is your purpose for this campaign, or what will be achieved when the goal is met? The more clear the purpose is, the more successful you’ll be in communicating that purpose with donors. And with clear communication, the more likely it is that your supporters will take action.

To get you thinking, here are some examples of great foundations for a crowdfunding campaign:

  • Our goal to raise $10,000 over the next 2 weeks to provide hot meals to homeless youth.
  • We need $250,000 to fund a well in Africa that will provide running water to hundreds of people.
  • Our campaign will aim to raise $100,000 over the next year and will provide 10,000 children with essential needs for school.

When should you crowdfund?

Successful crowdfunding can be done any time of the year for as long as necessary to achieve your goal. But in our experience, to get the biggest bang for your buck, combine your campaign with a holiday, an anniversary, or an awareness month that’s relevant to your mission.

This is the fun part! Get creative with your timing and theme, and watch your campaign flourish—especially if you decide to combine it with a fun holiday like St. Patrick’s Day or the 4th of July. Don’t forget about opportunities like #GivingTuesday!

One of our favorite times to kick-off crowdfunding campaigns is with a special anniversary such as your organization’s founding date, milestone anniversaries (we’ve all seen celebrations around 10 years of excellence or 60 years of support), or even your Founder’s birthday! Combining a crowdfunding event with a significant milestone is not only a cause for celebration but also an opportunity to amplify your impact!

And last, but certainly not least, consider creating a crowdfunding campaign that runs throughout your organization’s awareness month. This is the perfect time to bring your donors together and rally around a single, unifying moment for the people you serve. The most gratifying part of planning a crowdfunding campaign around an awareness month that when it’s over, you’ll be celebrating the power of what a community can accomplish together.

Who should you target?

There are no rules limiting who you should promote your crowdfunding campaign to, but there is some strategy involved with the most successful campaigns. On a general level, announce your crowdfunding campaign to your mass audience, share it on social media, and make a special spot for it on your website. Activating a pop-up window to announce your campaign to any new site visitors for the duration of your campaign is a great way to promote it.

In addition to reaching the masses, we also encourage you to think strategically about your crowdfunding campaign and how to approach it through eCommunication. Crowdfunding is a great opportunity to revive lapsed donors or ask for a second gift from one-time supporters. It’s also helpful to reach out to your constituents who’ve expressed a desire to support the specific program you’re crowdfunding for.

Keeping these audiences in mind, your targeted messaging should both appeal to the masses while speaking to the individual givers you’re looking to cultivate. So take just an hour to strategize your action plan for reaching out to specific constituent groups, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by your success.

Where can you host your crowdfunding campaign?

There are so many options! If you’re lucky, your current fundraising software will have a crowdfunding campaign option. Platforms such as Classy, GiveCampus, Fundly, EveryAction, and OneCause all have built-in campaign creators to build from. With a few clicks and some delightful photos to grab attention, you’ll be on your way to starting your next campaign. Other software, such as Luminate Online, can also function as a crowdfunding platform with some custom adjustments.

Take a look at your software to see if your platform has a crowdfunding option. If it does, you’re ready to get started! And it not, we can help you determine the best path forward.

There’s never been a better time than now!

Crowdfunding is a fun, unifying activity that will pull your network of supporters together to make a big difference for your organization’s fundraising efforts. So whether your nonprofit is running numerous, successful crowdfunding campaigns or if this is your first go at this type of fundraising, pat yourself on the back for utilizing an innovative fundraising tactic. We wish you the best you luck in your next crowdfunding campaign, and we can’t wait to see its success!

Ready to start crowdfunding?

Carly is a Digital Fundraising Strategist with decades of experience creating vibrant, engaging online fundraising campaigns. Carly excels in revenue generation, fundraiser stewardship, virtual events, and donor retention. 

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