Crowdfunding Tools and Online Fundraising Basics

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crowdsourcing vs. crowdfunding:

  1. crowdsourcing - brainstorming at a larger networked level
  2. crowdfunding - funding at a crowdsourcing level = a lot of people giving a

little bit of money

how to be successful:

  • works well for events and conferences, pre-sell on platform
  • good for phased (stages of one big project i.e. filmmaking) or defined
  • projects vs. generic fundraising i.e. overhead, operational costs, etc.
  • provide tiered level of rewards/acknowledgement i.e. at $10 you get xxxx
  • $25 you get xxxx
  • keep rewards low cost
  • shorter campaigns, generally under 45 days
  • focus on networked vs. self promotion - relationship building, online connectivity, good email list, good social media
  • nonprofits are used to working in an environment of scarcity but be generous, spend time building relationships by sharing and promoting

sister/ally organizations

  • add to donor database but also keep your communications w/ them relevant to crowdfunding project/keep it in the platform
  • use videos
  • send updates
  • thank donors!!!!


  • platforms automatically collect name, email, etc but can also donate anonymously
  • approx 280 platforms across all currencies
  • additional platforms facilitate in-kind donations i.e. volunteers, refreshments, monitors for an event
  • platforms + credit card service charges, lower end 5% and upper end of 10%
  • some platforms charge immediately, some hold credit card info before charging
  • platforms have little or no oversight in terms of accountability re: funds usage

Popular platforms

  • indigogo - get whatever you raise, service charge around 12%
  • kickstarter - all or nothing, you reach goal and funded or you don't get
  • any funds
  • rockethub
  • razoo

successful examples:

  • obama campaign 2008, most donations < $100 bucks for bucksbuck shot injuries