Crowdfunding is the Modern Fundraising Platform

In a few weeks, your holiday shopping will be accompanied by the familiar ringing of a bell. The Salvation Army has been serving the needs of local communities since 1865, but now it’s best known for its department store donation collectors, who tirelessly collect money while consumers shop.

Modern non-profits have found a new engine to raise funds: crowdfunding platforms. FundRazr and other donation platforms reward organizations with a clear message and a creative way to relay it. These websites and other tech-driven tools are changing the way non-profits raise money and awareness for their causes.

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More Exposure at a Lower Cost
Awareness is the root of any fundraising campaign. Unless people know about your cause, they won’t be inclined to take it up themselves. Traditional fundraising campaigns earn the attention of donors face to face, whether through in-person interactions like the Salvation Army’s or fundraising events. These models offer a human touch, but they aren’t scalable without a significant budget.

Crowdfunded campaigns are based online, so they can reach as far as an organization and its users are able to spread it. Crowdfunded campaigns succeed in large part because of incentives that organizations promise in exchange for donations. Open Goldberg Variations, a nonprofit that set out to record Bach’s Goldberg Variations for public domain access, raised more than $23,000 by offering CD recordings and bound copies of the score. Charities who don’t have much to offer their donors may not find as much success as those who can offer a tangible return.

There is no shortage of intriguing crowdfunding campaigns with exciting visions, so nonprofits need to work extra hard to present a worthy cause. Open Goldberg Variations used its pitch to explain who would be playing Bach’s score and how they would release the file. It’s a well-made video that clearly explains the goal and outcome.

Focus on creating a quality pitch and your nonprofit can benefit from the viral nature of crowdfunding platforms.

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Other Fundraising Trends
Crowdfunding isn’t the only technology-driven trend changing the fundraising game. Organizations are bringing their holiday campaigns to the 21st century with these modern tactics.

Mobile Credit Card Readers: Man-on-the-street campaigns are still an effective tool to raise money, but up until now, representatives have only been able to accept cash or check. Mobile credit card processors enable smartphones to accept credit cards on the spot. Simply plug a card reader into your device and download the corresponding app. Providers typically charge between one and three percent per transaction. Now, willing donors who don’t carry cash won’t be excluded for your campaign.

Social Media Campaigns: Like crowdfunding sites, social media fundraising campaigns provide nonprofits with a tool to extend their reach. Many organizations are holding contests for users who share the link to their campaigns. A random follower wins a prize, and the organization gains new attention.

This blog post was written by guest blogger Kimberly Johnson. Kim is a grant writer for NGO start-ups. When she’s not buried in paperwork, she loves running in the park with her golden lab, Sadie.

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