Chapter 2:

Introducing Next Level Crowdfunding

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

You're on your way to using crowdfunding principals take your fundraising efforts to new heights. By making your asks Passion Driven, Goal Oriented, and Donor Centric, 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. At Cherryfish, we call this Next Level Crowdfunding and we've developed a methodology based on these strategies that you can follow too.  


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 then this is a great place to start. 

Organization-level crowdfunding

Donors self-select into dedicated areas of interest

Example: Broadly communicated push toward differentiated campaigns/projects to allow donors to self-select, giving you targeted funding and valuable segmentation information

What gets your constituents connect with? What are they passionate about? Why do they spend time with you?

Whether it is formalized or not, this is something you are already doing. Collect designated information from each donor. Gather better data

Already know what drives your donors?
Map out their passions

Don’t yet know, or want to confirm?
Host a day of giving, allow donors to choose where they want to designate their gift

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-based crowdfunding
Donors are targeted for their preferences
Segmented campaigns communicated directly to donors who have an affinity for a given project

Giving Pages

Targeted and connected for maximum impact
We make it super simple to set up giving pages - have it all ready in a day
Have one for every angle of the campaign
Many hands make quick work - turn it over to others to set up

Deploying cause marketing, targeted giving throughout your organization
A smarter way of asking

3. Grow Your Crowd

One element of effective Next Level Crowdfunding is the use of peer-to-peer programs to grow your donor base (or activate segments of your donor base that are currently not engaged). Once you know what your donors are passionate about, open up the chance for them to not only give money, but to raise it on your behalf, for the things they love the most about your organization. You’ll soon see your crowd grow.

Individual crowdfunding
Supporter-driven fundraising where the ask is not to give, but to raise funds on behalf of your organization.

Invite Others to Lead Campaigns

Who’s your first wave of supporters (concentric circles)?
How will you collect them?
How will you motivate them?
How many do you think you can get?
Who are you asking your first wave of supporters to ask?
How are you empowering them?
What’s the simplest ask you can make of them to achieve your goal?

Efforts to “Know Your Crowd” and “Reach Your Crowd” will similar structurally (in terms of the overall ask and the technology involved.) The key difference will be in your messaging. Your “Know Your Crowd” efforts will be messaged more broadly, but one you have some data on people’s interests, you can do more focused “Reach Your Crowd” efforts. This can help with “donor fatigue” as you can limit your asks to only those areas that you know people are passionate about and avoid inundating them with asks that they view as less relevant to their tastes and passions.

Think about your donor database. How many records does it have for donors? Volunteers? What do you know about each of these people? How were they engaged previously? What was it that triggered their last five gifts? If you had coffee with them and asked them what they loved about your organization, what would they say mattered to them the most?

If you have this data, great. You’re ahead of the game and ready to start tailoring your outreach to maximize your donors satisfaction.

If you don’t, that’s not a problem. If you know where to reach your donor, with Next Level Crowdfunding principals you can start to build a program that encourages donors to give where they are passionate, increasing their connection to your organization and providing you with the valuable opportunity to learn more about them.

Now think about your organization. What are you priorities for the upcoming year? Do you have a new program or initiative that you’re hoping to launch? Do you have a capital expenditure that is going to be necessary?

If you have donor preference data, where do your goals and priorities align with a large portion of your donor base’s preferences? These are the areas where NLC practices can help you drive donation activity.

If you don’t have donor preference data, these are you opportunities to learn more about your donors. With some well-targeted matching gifts and an urgency-inducing campaign structure, donors will give where they’re most excited. This is a true win-win: they’ll feel better about their donation to your organization and you’ll increase both your revenue and your prospecting data.

The power of NLC is in both donor acquisition and activation. How many donors do you have in your database? You can grow your total number of donors. How many records are active? Re-activate 20% of your inactive donors and increase your base by 20%.