As a nonprofit, you’re always looking for new ways to raise money. One option that has quickly caught on is crowdfunding. Crowdfunding websites showcase and provide financial transactions for individuals, groups, businesses or nonprofits attempting to get a large number of people to donate small amounts of money for their project or cause.
It’s worked for nonprofits like Start From Seed, an organization that provides comprehensive doula services and childbirth education. This organization turned to Rally, an online fundraising platform.
In addition to raising money, the nonprofit posted updates of their new space, photos of newborns that were helped, a wish list and details of how money was spent.
“We forgo salaries and use any money we raise to run the program,”explains Cheryl Orengo, co-founder of Start From Seed.
Between donations and other fundraising, Start From Seed raised enough to pay rent a year in advance, which eases its financial burden.
Nonprofits like Start From Seed say this kind of fundraising is fast, simple and an inexpensive method to raise money. It’s also a convenient way to generate media buzz about events, recruit volunteers, and spread awareness about your campaign on social media.
If you want to give crowdfunding a go for your own nonprofit, here are 10 sites that you’ll want to check out:
Start From Seed had success with this online fundraising platform. It’s a user-friendly site with an appealing presentation and there’s no minimum donation.
This site boasts a community of 10,000+ members. There are plenty of great success stories on this site, including the more than $5,000 raised for The Supply, a nonprofit that builds schools in Nairobi.
3. Start Some Good
In addition to an easy-to-use platform, this site offers Crowdfunding 101, a free nine-part email course for nonprofits and social entrepreneurs. Plus, the site only charges fees if your campaign reaches its tipping point.
One of the more organized sites, Crowdrise divides fundraising by a variety of categories like animal welfare or education. The site also separates nonprofits by the method of fundraising like a run/walk or celebrity-backed campaign.
Billing itself as the world’s largest online campaigning platform, Causes currently only allows registered 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) nonprofits to fundraise on its site. In addition to fundraising, campaigns can be used to create petitions and ask people to take pledges, such as Toyota’s campaign to make child passenger safety a priority.
Campaigns must set a goal and select between fixed and flexible accounts. If you set up a fixed account and don’t hit your goal, any money raised is returned to the donor. If you set up a flexible account and don’t hit your goal, you keep the money raised but Indiegogo keeps a higher percentage of your funds. Registered 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) do receive discounts, but you’ll want to crunch the numbers.
With over a decade of fundraising, FirstGiving boasts some big names in the nonprofit sector, such as Habitat for Humanity, the Special Olympics and The Humane Society.
Television network A&E now searches RocketHub for crowd-funding projects that it wants to feature in its new “Project Startup.”Fees vary based on whether or not you meet your goals.
Boasting the ability for nonprofits to easily change the look of their fundraising page without a developer, CauseVox makes it easy to embed multimedia – like videos or Flickr slideshows – just by pasting a link. Case studies include the Autism Science Foundation and Change for Kids. It has a unique fee and pricing system as well.
This site allows nonprofits to host a Giving Day, which is a 24-hour online fundraising competition in which Razoo trains you to reach supporters via social media, email, events and more.
Ready to get started? Here are a few tips from Lesley Mansford, CEO of Razoo:
- Use videos. Fundraisers with videos typically earn four times more.
- Tie donations to direct impact. For example, “Just $20 feeds a child three meals a day for a month.”
- Ask your donors to share your campaign. Razoo has found that every Facebook share helps raise about $18 of donations on its site.
Most of these sites keep between 3 and 5 percent of the funds your nonprofit raises, and there are fees collected by credit card processors, so be sure to read the FAQs on each site carefully.
Have you used one of these sites to raise funds or awareness? If so, tell us your thoughts in the comment section below. VerticalResponse has a free program for nonprofits. Sign up and get started.
Wendy Burt-Thomas is a full-time freelance writer with four books and thousands of published articles to her credit. Contact Wendy at WendyBurt@aol.com.
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