The basics for successful crowdfunding

Nonprofit organizations are discovering the value of leveraging a variety funding sources to sustain operations despite uncertain economic conditions. Rather than relying on traditional events and large donations from elaborate fundraisers, many are looking to digital innovations that support online donation pages to fill gaps in giving as need be.

One strategy is known as crowdsourcing - which involves a large number of donors offering small gifts to total significant contributions without the necessity of a fundraising event. Crowdfunding platforms are online and provide interested donors with information on the organization and ways they can contribute. Often gifts are collected directly from the site or by sending donors to donation pages to finalize the transaction.

The must-haves
The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada is working with nonprofit organizations across the country to encourage collaboration via online platforms. The association wants to create a crowdfunding resource where nonprofits can share their missions and work to engage donors. Individuals who may want to help but cannot offer large gifts may come and offer modest support online. The goal of the project is to help free nonprofit organizations from having to rely on large contributions from corporations or other players, and allow local supporters to provide a sustainable funding source.

The Calgary Herald outlined a few ways nonprofits can perfect their online presence and donation page functionality to support a crowdfunding initiative and other website traffic by donors. The suggestions include:

  • Creating a website that not only provides information but offers multiple ways for donors to contribute and pass information on to friends and family digitally
  • Telling the story of the cause and its beneficiaries through rich media content such as testimonials, blog posts, video links and other resources

  • Taking advantage of social media channels to engage groups of people who may offer financial support or help spread the word to other potential donors

Make it your own
The California Historical Society is planning the Year of the Bay in 2013 project based on a crowdfunding initiative to fundraise for its gallery and other programs. The society created a website specifically for the event which provides information on all upcoming events this year as well as different ways people can offer support. The major project for the year, however, is an experimental exhibition of art collections that have never been open to the public before. Using an online platform, the society hopes to auction off pieces to raise money, as well as collect other works of art that may be donated to enhance the project.

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