If you’re in the nonprofit game, or just need cash to get a killer idea off the ground, attracting donations is a smart strategy. There are a lot of ways to inspire donors to support your cause, from organizing a fundraising event to applying for government grants.
The quickest and easiest method of snagging donations? Crowdfunding.
The crowdfunding market is growing rapidly. After COVID-19 shifted more work and play online, fundraising horizons expanded to usher in more cutting-edge, tech-based fundraising strategies. Current projections show that crowdfunding will grow by more than USD 196 billion by 2025.
To get a piece of the pie, you can tap into the crowdfunding market to promote, market, grow, and expand your big dream while generating much-needed revenue.
If you are the DIY type, making a crowdfunding website can be quite tricky. You need to safely handle payments and user registrations, create rewards and tiers, follow milestone, and more. But, now worries, there are several plugins that can help you out. On the other hand, you can also rely on external platforms.
But, let’s take approach this one step at a time.
First up, what is crowdfunding? If you’re fuzzy on the term, not to worry. It’s simple: crowdfunding is all about raising cash with donations from a diverse group of supporters.
Unlike typical fundraising efforts we’re all familiar with—bake sales, canned food drives, and those guys with clipboards that accost you on the street—online crowdfunding campaigns are strictly digital.
Sponsors share their projects with stories, pictures, and videos and invite donations on fundraising platforms like RallyUp or Kickstarter. What makes crowdfunding so effective is that it has the potential to reach a massive, global audience.
Foolproof Strategies for Collecting Donations
Whether you need cash to organize an event, expand your school library, or help homeless animals, a crowdfunding campaign can inspire global support for your cause.
For example, the Save the Children Fund, dedicated to improving children’s lives through education, healthcare, and economic well being, has an extraordinary crowdfunding project called Donate Your Birthday.
The basic idea is that instead of receiving gifts on your special day, you ask for donations to Save the Children made in your name. People get the chance to give and receive meaningful gifts, and the organization benefits from increased revenue. It’s truly a win-win.
Here are our tips to start dreaming up your own crowdfunding campaign:
Use the unique power of important events, like birthdays, awareness months, or historical dates to help your story go viral.
Black History Month, for instance, is an optimal time to fundraise for your Black-led nonprofit. Your wedding anniversary is the perfect day to kick off your family-run food bank.
Everyone loves a good story. What makes a story good? We think it all comes down to pathos and heroes.
- Pathos. First, tell people there’s a problem and why they should care about it. If you’re an educator, maybe your school lacks a good computer lab that the kids really need. If you suffer from celiac disease, maybe there are zero gluten-free dining options in your area.
- Heroes. Once you’ve identified the problem, it’s time to offer a solution. Sure, a depressing fact might generate sympathy, but that doesn’t make the world a better place. The point of crowdfunding is that diverse people can be the heroes in your story by helping you launch that gluten-free restaurant and build that school computer lab.
Get Inspired by Impressive Crowdfunding Campaigns
- Flow Hive. One of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns of all was run by Flow Hive, which involves an innovative beehive that extracts honey without disturbing bees. By focusing on the environmental importance of bees and harvesting honey in a gentle way, the father-son team told a compelling story on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo that people really wanted to be a part of.
- Love Army for Somalia. This crowdfunding campaign used the Somali drought crisis to generate millions of dollars to help people get access to clean water. By sharing a problem and then empowering donors to be part of the solution, these campaigns inspired people to make a real difference.
- Support the RNLI. To address the refugee crisis, the Irish politician Simon Harris launched a crowdfunded project that brought in nearly $185k for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, a UK charity dedicated to lifeboat search and rescue.
- Pizzas for Heroes. A campaign doesn’t have to be a major international affair to make a difference. Recently, a small but mighty campaign called Pizzas for Heroes capitalized on public support for healthcare workers to deliver pizzas to those working on the front lines of the pandemic.
- Duke’s Place Called Home. If you’re an animal lover, take a cue from this touching campaign that raised nearly $100k from supporters all around the world. It told the heartbreaking story of an injured calf named Duke to create a home for him and other farm animals, called CALF Sanctuary.
The right platform
Not all crowdfunding platforms are created equal. While they have a similar basic process, each one has one-of-a-kind features that can help propel your campaign to success. When evaluating which platform is right for your project, consider pricing, ease of use, and integration options.
Our top picks for different types of projects:
- Kickstarter has been around forever and is a reward-based platform. That means supporters get incentives to donate to your cause, like merch or discounts. More investment means more perks.
- Patreon is an interesting choice for podcasters, vloggers, and live streamers of all stripes, who offer their content to paying members.
- SyndicateRoom is useful for startups that prefer alternatives to the Kickstarter-style reward-based structure. The UK-based platform connects rising business stars to angel investors with equity-based fundraising, which means that investors get a share of equity in return for their contribution.
- RallyUp has clever features that make it a go-to for nonprofits. The platform empowers organizations to combine different fundraising experiences, like branded donation pages, silent auctions, Athons, and live streaming. The best part? It’s free to use.
Collect Donations on your WordPress Site
If you already have a community of supporters and want to ask for donations on your own site instead of using a fundraising platform, we’ve got you covered. With a crowdfunding plugin and the right theme, you’ll have an even bigger crowd of fans cheering you on.
7 Popular WordPress Plugins for Donations
- GiveWP. One of the most intelligently designed donation plugins, Give lets you create customized donation forms, accept donations via tons of payment gateways, manage donors, and generate tax-deductible receipts.
- WPForms. If you’re looking for a super easy donation plugin, WPForms has customized drag-and-drop donation forms and prefilled, ready-to-use templates. The end result looks good on mobile, too, automatically resizing the forms to fit across all devices.
- WPForms Lite. If you’re just getting started with fundraising, this free version delivers the same drag-and-drop form builder as its meatier counterpart, but with fewer features.
- WP Charitable. With the capability to set up customized donation forms and run unlimited campaigns for free, this is a trusted option with more than 10k installs.
- Smart Donation. If customization is important to you, Smart Donation allows you to get creative while also analyzing your progress and sending thank-you emails—keep in mind that the free version is pretty limited.
- Seamless Donations. Easy to set up and use, Seamless Donations is free, but offers a lot of paid add-ons. Like many other WordPress donation plugins, it lets you accept one-time or recurring payments and send thank-yous.
- Paypal Donation. PayPal has been around the block more than a few times and has mastered online payments in multiple currencies. The donation plugin is simple, streamlined, and everyone trusts the name.
The Bottom Line
Of the many online fundraising options out there, crowdfunding is the easiest way to get donations rolling in quickly.
Crowdfunding easily lends itself to endless customizations, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to dreaming up a catchy and imaginative campaign that connects global audiences with YOUR unique story. So, get brainstorming and fundraising!
Alina is a digital marketer with a passion for web design. When she's not strategizing she's doing photography, listening to podcasts on history and psychology, and playing with her 2 dogs and cat.