Should you consider crowdfunding in 2015?

Crowdfunding campaigns are starting to take off in the nonprofit sector. This enables charities to reach a wider audience much quicker, and this channel is more innovative than others. Crowdsourcing can be used to fund personal causes and projects, and people are more likely to give to someone they know. However, donors can share campaign information on social media and reach others in their networks. This is a great way to connect with new benefactors who have never heard of your organization before. 

Because crowdfunding websites often require you to set a time limit for a campaign, this can create a sense of urgency. You may be able to reach more people in a shorter time and collect more gifts from the donation form

Crowdfunding platform Indiegogo recently released a new service for raising donations for charitable causes, called Indiegogo Life, according to Wired. This service is primarily targeted for those who want to fundraise for personal emergencies, medical expenses or other important life events. However, it is intended to be a cause-based tool, which means it may have applications for nonprofits as well. Indiegogo Life doesn't collect any transaction fees, which means fundraisers get to put all their donations toward their causes. 

How could nonprofits used crowdfunding platforms?
While many of these platforms are meant for individual fundraisers, nonprofits can come up with innovative ways to use these to their benefit. Organizations could create campaigns to raise awareness and drive donations. In addition, you can encourage volunteers or loyal donors to take an active role in fundraising for your organization. This can create a new level of engagement from your constituents. 

While donations tend to be small from this channel, you can connect with a larger number of donors. However, it's important to be realistic when determining your campaign goals, The Guardian reported. This is especially crucial depending on the platform you use because some websites will only release the funds if you meet your goal within the set time frame. While platforms like Indiegogo let you withdraw funds at any time, these all or nothing campaigns are often more successful because they inspire a sense of urgency. Because the average donation size may be smaller than it is through other channels, you need to be aware of how many gifts it will take to reach your goal. Many platforms allow you to create suggested donation amounts.

Another important component of crowdsourcing campaigns that nonprofits need to consider is donors often expect to receive some kind of benefit in return. In for-profit campaigns, fundraisers usually promise some sort of gift to backers. This may be expensive for nonprofits, but it can be something simple like sending personalized thank-you notes. The Guardian gave the example of a charity that trains guide dogs for hearing-impaired people, which offered the reward of a tour of their facilities for high-level donors. 

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