A case for crowdfunding

In this insightful article, Stephanie Thomas takes a look at why crowdfunding is here to stay and why it’s a popular fundraising tool for young, first-time donors.

Written by
Stephanie Thomas
January 13, 2022

Note: this article originally appeared on Blackbaud’s sgENGAGE website and can be found here.

Crowdfunding is the simple act of raising money from many people to fund a project, appeal, or cause. It has taken off in recent years thanks in part to the ease of online giving and accessibility of social networks. Throughout the pandemic, we saw individuals far and wide rally around local and global causes and missions that were important to them. In fact, in 2021, we saw 13 per cent growth in online crowdfunding globally through JustGiving from Blackbaud.

Whether you are exclusively crowdfunding online or have a hybrid opportunity, these types of initiatives are so effective because they are incredibly inclusive. All prospects and donors can get involved, despite age, race, location, gender, disposable income, or affiliation. Every dollar from everyone counts.

Recently, in The Tipping Point from the Blackbaud Institute, we found that more than one-third of donors say they increased their giving during the pandemic. Even younger donors are getting involved with 53 per cent of Gen Z and 43 per cent of millennials claiming an increase in their giving since the pandemic started. Crowdfunding is also growing in popularity because it offers reduced barriers to entry, ushering younger and first-time donors through its attractive and timely programmes. 

Additionally, the 2021 M+R Benchmark Report cites, ‘The increase in overall giving was largely driven by more people giving rather than people giving more.’ Because crowdfunding offers inclusive and accessible ways to get involved, it also opens the door for you to receive more gifts from existing and new donors!

So, what does this boost in online crowdfunding mean for the future? It looks like you untapping the potential of new donor pools, unlocking stronger supporter engagement, hosting a little more friendly competition, and bravely diversifying your approach. We see non-profits around the world adding QR codes to their direct mail appeals or posters at onsite events to drive online giving. We are finding specific, programme or appeal-based peer-to-peer campaigns not only provide platforms for your storytelling, but additional stage time for your volunteers and advocates to share their memories. It means more dollars raised, faster-met results, and hopefully, more fun for you and your community in the process.

Crowdfund your way to a smashing success:

  • Concentrate your focus. In The Tipping Point, we found that 41 per cent of new donors plan to give to a specific programme or campaign in the future. Provide the clarity they need and keep your life simple by focusing on the one thing that will add up to success.
  • Share the impact. Because crowdfunding campaigns tend to have many donors giving smaller gift amounts, make sure you articulate the difference a gift will make if it is $15, $25, $50, $75, $100, and so on.
  • Segment your target audience. Define individual ways for your volunteers, P2P fundraisers, board members, and sustaining donors to get involved. Instead of every call to action (CTA) being generalised to go to your page and get involved, target each segment with context and a specific call to action like ‘Give $10 now.’
  • Add a peer-to-peer fundraising component to increase your reach and bolster your results.
  • Use engaging visuals. Crowdfunding is best when it feels urgent and personal. Throw out the stock imagery and leverage text, photos, and videos to reinforce why someone should get involved.
  • Have multi-channel consistency. Crowdfunding campaigns can be promoted and accessed through multiple platforms; make sure the branding and messaging is consistent.

Crowdfunding (in all its forms) is here to stay. Fundamentally, it is affordable, agile, and effective at helping you hit your goals for various programmes or needs. It’s fundraising for the people, by the people. Interested in giving this approach to fundraising a try? Look at the programmes you currently offer or your community involvement. See how many calls or emails you get from supporters asking to fundraise on your behalf. Seek out something that is currently underfunded, underserved, or unpromoted and empower your crowd, your church, staff, corporate partners, volunteers, board members, students, members, alumni, subscribers, and community to make a difference today.

About the author: Stephanie Thomas

Stephanie Thomas

After working with an Atlanta-based nonprofit, I was eager to see how I could help even more good take over! I have been with Blackbaud for almost 10 years and specialise in best practices for fundraising, relationship management, eMarketing. Right now, I am working with organisations focused on peer-to-peer fundraising, like DIY fundraisers, crowdfunding, and connecting supporters to fun, digital engagement strategies.

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