Crowdfunding traditionally refers to the practice funding projects by raising small amounts from a large number of people. While this covers what crowdfunding is, it doesn't really help tell why it works. To that end, we've distilled things down into just two principles that you can use to work good crowdfunding practice into your overall fundraising strategy.
Crowdfunding, at its core, it about giving donors the chance to give where they are most passionate. Your supporters are more likely to give, and give more, when the ask is focused on a project or program that excites them. No matter the size of the gift, the right ask will resonate with a donor on a deeply personal level and tap into their passion for your organization.
Traditionally, this has only been feasible to dedicate time to finding out individual donor passions for major donors. As we’ll see with next-level crowdfunding, it is now possible to connect with every donor’s passion. Think about your major donors, the ones you know really well. You can probably tell me right now what they love about your organization and what part of the work they support when they give. In short, for these larger donors, your organization has found a way to align your mission with their passion in a real and concrete way. Crowdfunding allows you to create these opportunities at every giving level.
With crowdfunding, you can create a sense of urgency by focusing on needs that already exist (new lights for a theater stage) or creating a bounded campaign for a need within a program (by year end, raise enough money to fund one scholarship for next year). Once you have some sense of your donor preferences and your priorities for the coming year, you’ll want to make a plan to create some goals for giving to these areas.
This is easy if you’re funding a project but can also be simple for funneling donations toward a target program. We'll cover both of these later on as part of the Next Level Crowdfunding methodology, but by simply looking at your budget and/or your metrics, you can determine a “goal” that people will be inspired by.
For example, will you fund 100 thanksgiving meals for families? Pay for 10 students to have after school care so that their parents can work? You know what the cost of these things would be- now you can set a goal and raise funds for it.
You're excited to make crowdfunding principals a part of your fundraising strategy. That's great! Here are a few things to keep in mind that can help you implement these ideas sustainably.
In the next chapter, we'll talk you through identifying, engaging, and growing your "Crowd" are the next steps in building a top-notch crowdfunding program. Everything is easier when you've got a partners to help with the heavy lifting!
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