Chapter 2:

Working with Your Crowd with Next Level Crowdfunding

Now that you've got a handle on the basic principles, you're ready to takeoff with Next Level Crowdfunding

 By making your asks Passion Driven and Goal Oriented, you'll be giving all your supporters the chance to make a stronger connection with your cause.  What's the next step? 

This chapter focuses on some of the concrete strategies that you can use to put those three principals of good crowdfunding into action and build out a full-fledged crowdfunding program. It's called Next Level Crowdfunding.


1. Know Your Crowd

These are activities that are intended to gather data on your donor preferences. If your donor records tell you what your donors give, but not why they give then this is a great place to start. 

Organization-Level Crowdfunding with Donor Selection

The best way to start to gather donor information is to launch an effort that spans your entire organization. Basically, you'll be asking your entire donor base to participate in a fundraising project, but you'll want to give your donors the chance to choose what they are supporting.  

Remember: you want your ask to be Passion Driven and Goal Oriented.

There are a few ways that you can do this.  For example, you can: 

  • Start a series of dedicated campaigns for a variety of causes within your organization.  We'll cover this in the next chapter, but your donors will naturally gravitate toward what they care about most.  
  • Turn your annual appeal into a chance for donors to support a specific program at your organization.  Use dedicated giving pages for each area where you can provide context and updates on the impact of the gifts that your donors make.  
  • Launch a Day of Giving for your organization.  Partner with your major donors to create matching gift incentives, work with your program staff to tell compelling stories of your organizations work, and watch as donors choose to support the things they care about most.  

Once you've got your new data on hand, sit down with your staff and potentially your board and map out your donor's passions.  What do they care about the most?  What drives them to give to your organization?  

2. Reach Your Crowd

Once you know what your audience is interested in, then it’s time to reach them and ask them to give their support to the areas that they are most passionate about. We’ll discuss a few different strategies to reach your crowd effectively based on what you know about them.  

Segment Focused Crowdfunding 

Now that you know the passions of your donors, it's time to make things Goal Oriented and map out exactly how you want to invite your supporters to participate in funding your organization.  You might use: 

  • Segmented campaigns communicated directly to donors who have an affinity for a given project.  This can also help minimize donor fatigue, as your second ask to someone in a calendar year will only be focused on something that they have supporter in the past and for which they have an affinity
  • Giving Pages set up with a donate button on each page of your website.  By setting up a giving page that directly benefits a specific aspect of your organization, you can communicate to your donors that their gift is helping to fund the critical programming that they care the most about.  
  • We'll cover crowdfunding for capital campaigns in more depth in a later chapter, but these segmented, targeted asks will help bring in those critical last funds while also giving your smaller donors (your major donors of the future) a meaningful giving experience.  

When you reach your Crowd, you'll be asking the right question to the right donor at the right time. It's a smarter way to raise money.

3. Grow Your Crowd

Now that you've got your donors engaged, it's time to invite them into an even deeper,  more meaningful part of your relationship- helping to spread the message of your organization.  You're ready to Grow Your Crowd.  

The focus here is on getting your story out into the broader community while growing the pool of people who know and support your organization.  If someone gives, even through a P2P campaign, they have demonstrated something of a connection to your organization, and it's then your responsibility to steward that gift effectively.  

Peer-to-peer Crowdfunding 

Getting started with peer-to-peer fundraising can be perhaps the most intimidating piece of diving into next level crowdfunding.  There's a few ways that you can get started.  

  • If your organization has a large yearly event (or if you want to build it around a national event like Giving Tuesday), you can ask your most dedicated followers if they want to participate in a P2P program leading up to the event
  • Launch a Giving Society that focuses on recognizing those who raise money on behalf of your organization instead of making donations 
  • If you have a local athletic event (5k, bike ride, etc.) reach out to see if they accept charity participants and invite your supporters to raise money on your behalf while participating in the event

Create a tiered approach to Grow Your Crowd, inviting various level of commitment from running a race to hosting an event

If you have a technology platform like Cherryfish available, there's a great way decrease the work load of your staff while satisfying the seemingly bottomless demand for events: let your most dedicated supporters host events on your behalf.  

The power of NLC is in both donor acquisition and activation. Regardless of how many donors are currently in your database, you can grow your total number of donors. You can also utilize these strategies to re-activate re-engage with some segments of your supporter base that have gone dormant.  

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