Recently, a panel of nonprofits joined our Associate Product Manager, Josh Cobert, in a live webinar to discuss how they launched and ran their highly successful crowdfunding campaigns. The webinar attendees had TONS of questions for our panelists, which we’ve consolidated and summarized below.
Thank You to Our Webinar Panel
We want to thank Sharon Soldenwagner, Director of Development at Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center and Robby Bardwell, Donor Stewardship Coordinator at YWCA Evanston/North Shore. Both participated in our webinar panel and spent time afterward to help us answer your questions. Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center’s crowdfunding campaign raised money to help those with disabilities to lead more enriched lives through adaptive horseback riding and hippotherapy. The YWCA in Evanston/North Shore’s crowdfunding campaign will help fund programs that work to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. Both of these organizations truly define the meaning of service, and we’re so grateful they spent time with us to share their crowdfunding experiences. Please check out both of these nonprofits and support the remarkable work they do in their community.
Access the Webinar Recording
If you missed the live webinar or want to review it, you can access Get Inspired: Nonprofits Share Their Crowdfunding Campaigns on our website. In this webinar, our panel of experts discuss topics like:
- How to develop crowdfunding campaign goals amid uncertainty
- What is the best timeline for your campaign
- Ways to mobilize fundraisers to participate on your behalf
- How to spur competition using the goal thermometer, leaderboard, and other techniques
- The fastest, easiest way to get started (and how to avoid mistakes).
Your Top Crowdfunding Campaign Questions Answered
(Answers are provided by our panelists and DonorPerfect staff.)
How does a crowdfunding matching campaign work? Can you share how you used matching challenges?
When a supporter donates and meets specific matching gift criteria, that donation is doubled (or more) by a matching donor. Matching donors can be a major donor, corporation, foundation, or another group that has pledged to make a significant financial contribution. Matches are typically 1:1, 2:1, or even results based, such as a $100 donation for every time a donor takes a specific action, like joining your recurring giving program. Donors respond well to matching gift challenges as their donations can make twice the impact.
Setting up and using matching gifts during your crowdfunding campaign will require work before launching your campaign. You’ll need to reach out to major gift donors and others to secure any matching gifts. You should draft an agreement with your matching donor defining how your organization will position the gift as a match. Also include details of your matching challenge, and what happens if the full amount of the challenge is not reached.
How Matches Were Used
Our panel participants used challenge matches in one or more of these creative ways:
- $100 was donated by a matching donor for every fundraising page created.
- 1:1 matches worked best to build momentum towards specific milestones such as donation tiers or impact metrics.
- Pre-arranged matches were scheduled during the campaign window at particular dates and times.
- Unplanned matches were used when the campaign was in a lull for donations. They were an effective way to kick up lagging momentum and move to the next milestone.
- 2:1 matches motivated supporters that were tougher to convert like new or lapsed donors. Donation milestones encouraged donors to work together to reach a new level . (e.g., “If we can get to $55K together, we have a matching donor that will get us to $60K. “) Note: while this strategy was effective, the 1:1 matching strategy got better overall results.
Where to Find Matching Gifts for Challenge Matches
If you’re struggling to find sources for matching gifts during your campaign, consider soliciting major donors that typically give at year-end. Ask them to move their end of year donations up to be used as matching gifts during your fall crowdfunding campaigns. In addition to boosting the results of your campaign, you’ll also level out cash flow.
Maintaining Momentum for Challenge Matches
Maintain momentum for your matching gifts by tracking your progress in real-time! DonorPerfect’s Crowdfunding includes a goal thermometer that updates as donations come into your fundraising pages. Supporters can see your challenge match progress and are often motivated to give again to close the gap.
What do you feel is the most effective way(s) for securing ambassadors who are not currently donors?
Ambassadors are supporters that create individual fundraising pages during your campaign to share with family and friends. While existing donors are a great potential resource to become ambassadors, they aren’t the only constituents that will participate.
Look to your volunteer pool for participants, especially if you are replacing a traditional in-person event with your crowdfunding campaign. Table captains, sponsors, and others that help with your event will make great ambassadors and are already engaged with your organization.
Board members are also possible candidates to create fundraising pages. Your campaign can help them fulfill their fundraising requirement for being on your board.
Finally, use matching gifts to draw out supporters who want to become ambassadors by offering a matching gift incentive to create a fundraising page. (e.g., $100 donation for every page created.) It might be just the push they need to move from constituent to donor.
During your event, consider publicly recognizing your ambassadors by name on your website or event page. You can choose to post their dollar amount progress or simply list their names. They’ll appreciate the acknowledgement and be motivated to participate. For other ways to make supporters feel valued, check out these ten recommendations to motivate your supporters to reach their fundraising goals.
We stopped all campaigns when COVID hit. I am tasked with getting things going again. Yikes!!! What advice can you give me to open the door back up?
Start by being transparent with your donors about what is happening and any revenue shortfall you’re experiencing. They’ll appreciate the honesty and want to help in any way they can. Also, be sure to share any challenges that you’ve experienced program-wise. For example, if you serve immuno-compromised people, you’ll need to reallocate funds to ensure your facilities are safe for your program participants. Be clear about your needs, how they’ve changed, and how your donors can help meet these needs.
To succeed in fundraising today, you need to find new ways for supporters to engage with your mission and make them feel connected. We compiled advice from fundraising experts, successful nonprofits, and others in our latest free e-book, A Guide to Fundraising in the New Normal. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about starting back with fundraising again, this guide is the place to start. Download it today for actionable tips and tools to help your organization succeed post-COVID.
What crowdfunding platforms were utilized (aside from Facebook)? Is there a benefit to setting up crowdfunding pages versus having people set up FB fundraisers? If so, what are the benefits?
The nonprofits on our panel used DP Online Forms Plus, which includes Crowdfunding, to create and manage their crowdfunding campaign. DonorPerfect’s Crowdfunding sends all gift and donor data right into your DonorPerfect system for you. It’s available immediately in the donor’s record (or if your prefer, you can elect to review it before adding it). With Facebook, you only receive the donor’s name and email address a few weeks after they donate (assuming your supporters decide to share it). Once you receive that data from Facebook, you’ll need to manually enter or import those records into your Donor CRM. While Facebook can reach many people quickly, crowdfunding options that help you gain long-term relationships may be a better solution.
Nonprofit organizations also struggle with Facebook’s payout, which can take up to 45 days (or longer)! With DonorPerfect, funds from credit card payments are available within 2-3 business days.
With DonorPerfect, gifts received by supporters via cash or check can be entered and will update the goal thermometer for your crowdfunding campaign. There is no way to enter offline donations when fundraising with Facebook.
Finally, DP’s Crowdfunding software includes access to the #1 support team in the industry. Our team is highly trained, knowledgeable, and incredibly responsive. With Facebook donations, it’s tough to reach a human being if you have a problem.
Overall, it’s always best to run and manage any fundraising campaign on a platform where you own the data and control it.
Can the peer-to-peer pages be saved so they could be reused during another campaign?
Yes, your Crowdfunding forms can be reused and edited as many times as you’d like. You can also copy existing pages into a new campaign, which is a huge timesaver.
You talked about a thermometer to show incremental gifts – is that automatically included? Or is it an add-on?
Yes, the goal thermometer is included on all Crowdfunding forms. You also have the flexibility to turn it off if you’d like. The thermometer is enabled per form, so you can pick and choose which forms should display it.
Is there a playbook or toolbox out there that newbies to crowdfunding can follow to get started?
Yes, we have many tools and resources to help you get started with Crowdfunding. Here are a few to check out:
- Our Online Forms Success hub will teach you how to set up and manage a successful crowdfunding campaign.
- Copy and paste our free sample emails and social media post templates to market your Crowdfunding campaign with timely, relevant content.
- Keep fundraisers motivated with these ten ideas.
- Learn how other organizations ran their successful crowdfunding campaigns here and here.
Would you mind sharing the PDF instructions you gave to your ambassadors? We’d like ideas for how to share a campaign with our non-tech partners. We need a way for them to quickly understand and follow the procedures for creating their crowdfunding form.
Sure! We’ve created a Microsoft Word document that you can edit and reuse for your needs. This document is a combination of several handouts that our most successful crowdfunders distribute to their ambassadors/fundraisers. To use this template, just replace the content in the brackets with your information (e.g., nonprofit organization name, campaign name, etc.). Then, include your updated instructions in any emails or other material that you provide to your fundraisers.Top Crowdfunders Answer Your Crowdfunding Campaign Questions