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Crowdfunding Platforms for Nonprofits: How to Choose the Best For You

When crowdfunding first burst into the social media scene back in the early noughties, early adopters soon recognized its radical potential for leveling the fundraising playing field. 

Crowdfunding platforms for nonprofits allow organizations to spread their fundraising message far and wide using social media and email promotion. The results can be spectacular!

The key to getting the most out of a crowdfunding campaign is to find the platform that is best for you. Here are three important criteria for choosing between crowdfunding platforms for nonprofits. 

1. Find A Crowdfunding Platform That Fits Your Nonprofit

The first decision point starts with your organization’s unique approach to fundraising. It’s important to narrow your search down to those platforms which fit your fundraising strategy and style. 

Choose Your Fundraising Campaign

Crowdfunding can take on many forms, and the repertoire is constantly evolving. However, here’s a few broad categories you might explore:

  • Traditional crowdfunding (using social media and live donations data to build support)
  • Capital campaigns (like new playground equipment or building renovations)
  • Annual appeals (for example, a Christmas fundraising drive)
  • Giving days (a 24 hour push for support, usually around a theme)
  • Used in combination with a peer-to-peer campaign
Crowdfunding-platform-for-nonprofits-school-lunch-fairy

School Lunch Fairy crowdfunding campaign on CauseVox.

Will the Crowdfunding Platform Complement Your Storytelling?

Let’s say a big part of your fundraising strategy is visual storytelling. You’ll definitely want a platform which makes it easy to blend visual elements through your pages as flexibly and dynamically as possible. Check out the Can Do Woofaroo campaign page, run through the CauseVox platform:

crowdfunding-platforms-for-nonprofits-walk

Not only does the campaign page header feature a cool video about amazing service dogs, as you scroll down the page to read their message you’re hit square in the eyes with a gorgeous doggo staring back at you. 

Throughout their messaging, CauseVox helped this organization grab hearts and minds with one of their most powerful assets: heart-warming visuals. 

Will the fundraising platform let you play to your strengths? If not, keep looking!

Will The Crowdfunding Platform Allow You to Put Your Best Information Forward?

Crowdfunding has one big area of difference to a regular campaign. Many of the people who encounter your fundraising materials will never have heard of you before. As explained in detail in this article in the NonProfit Times, this is one of a crowdfunding campaign’s greatest strengths.

You can easily get your issue in front of fresh eyes.

However, it also means you’ll need to grab the reader’s attention fast. Much of this boils down to presentation. Take a look at HOPE International Development Agency, who ran a crowdfunding campaign through CauseVox:

Crowdfunding page created by HOPE

HOPE were looking for a crowdfunding platform for nonprofits which allowed them to raise general awareness about an important public health issue, while maintaining a strong emotional connection with people most affected by poor water. This is a complex and delicate balance.

Through CauseVox, HOPE could build a compelling crowdfunding donation page that combined arresting statistics with powerful personal stories. 

When you’re deliberating on the right crowdfunding platform for nonprofits for your organization, look for those “aha” moments. If you can see how your mission statement, fundraising strategy and support base can all be used to best effect, you’re on the right track! Here are some good questions to ask:

  • Will you be able to message your support-base through their preferred social media channels?
  • Is it easy to pour your messaging into the platform in a dynamic and interesting way?  
  • Can you achieve a visual design which fits with your branding?

Find a tool that fits your purpose — not the other way around. 

2. Avoid The Clunk And Keep it Simple

The fundraising platform you use needs to echo the focused simplicity of your message. A confusing array of donate buttons, opt-in boxes and distracting visual elements is just as off-putting as ambiguous, abstract language. 

Here’s an example of a powerfully simple donation form, built through CauseVox:

Crowdfunding donation form

Here, iCampaign (an innovation focused organization targeting African villages) have created a simple set of choices. Each is linked to a clearly defined outcome. In particular, take a look at these features:

  • The layout works perfectly on any screen, from mobile to desktop.
  • White space on the screen makes it easy to compare donation options. It isn’t cluttered with competing visual elements. 
  • They offer meaningful choices without obscuring the calls to action with too much information.
  • All the tangible products listed stem directly from iCampaign’s mission statement and campaign literature. No new information is presented. 

Through CauseVox, iCampaign built a donation form that is simple, effective and free of “clunk.” 

Make Sure The Admin Side is Easier Too!

The simplicity of the management side of your fundraising platform is just as important. Fundraising campaigns typically have a lot of moving parts, and in the thick of a fresh campaign drive, there can be a plethora of information, questions and new developments to track. 

Simple management tools mean fewer mistakes. 

It’s important to find a platform which allows you to perform administrative tasks easily, quickly and with minimal chance of error.

crowdfunding-platform-for-nonprofits-insights-dashboard

CauseVox offers a streamlined approach to fundraising administration. Using CauseVox to manage a crowdfunding campaign, you can:

  • View real-time fundraising insights from a simple dashboard.
  • Automate outgoing emails and donation receipts.
  • Clone existing crowdfunding campaigns with a few clicks.
  • Access technical support while designing your campaign. 

The managers behind a crowdfunding fundraising campaign are as much a part of the picture as those compelled to donate. Making their lives easier will improve campaign outcomes. 

3. Find a Nonprofit Crowdfunding Platform That Will Grow With You

Then there’s the future to consider!

Let’s say the crowdfunding platforms for nonprofits you’re looking at all tick the basic boxes for your next crowdfunding campaign. That’s great! But before you pull the trigger on something that can meet your current needs, spend some time thinking about where your strategy is going. 

A good fundraising platform should be able to grow with you. This is especially important for crowdfunding, because the more people you involve in your fundraising and outreach efforts, the greater the likelihood your winning campaigns will evolve over time.

ntfb-nonprofit-crowdfunding-campaign

North Texas Food Bank has run 130 corporate and community partner crowdfunding campaigns on CauseVox.

Your strategies will grow alongside your newfound support. The simple suite of features you’re comfortable with in 2019 may not be sufficient for the task in 2020 and beyond.

Get Ahead of the Curve

So take a few minutes to deep dive into the expanded features of your campaign platform. Here’s some good questions you and your team can ask:

  • Can the platform handle bigger events than you’re doing now?
  • Will it work across a range of social media platforms?
  • What if I want to expand my crowdfunding activities later to include peer-to-peer options?
  • Will this platform let me tell my story in new and interesting ways?

CauseVox combines simplicity and adaptability with powerful options to grow your campaigns over time. While some of its more advanced features may not be something you want to use now, down the line bringing them into your game plan is as simple as checking a box. 

Run Your Crowdfunding With CauseVox To Raise More With Less Complexity

When you’re deciding among crowdfunding platforms for nonprofits, it’s important to set clear criteria for what you’re looking for. 

The ideal platform is one that can complement your unique strategy, make your life simpler, and give you room to grow. CauseVox gives you a clunk-free crowdfunding experience that all of your supporters will love.

Learn more about how you can launch your crowdfunding campaign with CauseVox.

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