3 tips for planning an effective crowdfunding campaign

Conceptually, the idea of crowfunding sounds like a strong fit for nonprofit organizations: Gather a lot of people and attempt to raise as much money as possible via smaller donations. The concept is to create a network that builds upon itself, exponentially growing until the time of an event or a goal is met. Crowdfunding has become popular recently thanks in part to technological advancements because benefactors can access an organization's online donation form in a quick and effortless manner. 

The fundraising method garnered $2.7 billion in 2012 alone, according to Crowdsourcing.org, but a number of nonprofits aren't exactly equipped to perform a crowdfunding campaign because it operates somewhat differently than traditional forms of collection efforts. As a result, charities will have to shift their thinking if they want to undergo this type of assemblage. Listed below are three tips for nonprofit crowdfunding planning:

  1. Drive home your message: Most, if not all nonprofits have a mission statement they continually convey to the general public. That being said, the first thing to do in planning a crowdfunding campaign is to cultivate your message - let fundraisers know what your organization is about and why it has been successful. A recent Johns Hopkins study found that storytelling is the primary driver of success in ad campaigns because it is more likely to touch on human emotion. A compelling narrative gives volunteers a way to connect with the group they are working for, and passion is strong motivation for success. 
  2. Leverage your advocates: There are undoubtedly a small contingent of individuals who support your nonprofit in various channels, whether it be social media or through their volunteering. These people are the ones charities should lean heavily on because they are drivers in word of mouth and extend your reach, MarketingProfs says. Advocates are the foundation of crowdfunding because they begin and extend the donor network, passing along information and creating excitement about the cause.
  3. Go beyond your network: This may seem like an obvious piece of advice, but organizations can get caught up trying to quickly build a network using only internal personnel as resources. While that is a good way to start, nonprofits must reach out further to individuals who have a high profile following, MarketingProfs adds. For example, public officials, local journalists and other community leaders have largely engaged audiences on social media, so promoting a crowdfunding campaign to these people can exponentially grow a network and act as online fundraising tools.
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