Crowdfunding: what your organisation will gain (besides money)
“Raising money is only 10% of the power of crowdfunding” - Nisandeh Neta
A lot of non-profit organisations are still in doubt about starting a crowdfunding campaign. You need enough time and capacity. But the main question is: is it worth the investment?
We would like to answer your question. Crowdfunding is a way to gain the required finances. A good crowdfunding campaign can bring you much more than just donations. In this article, you'll learn which 6 things you can gain from a crowdfunding campaign besides money!
One of the characteristics of a crowdfunding campaign is that it has a limited time span. You will need to gain a lot of attention in a short period of time. A well thought out communication plan will get your projects noticed by a bigger audience. This will get your organisation more publicity. Innovative crowdfunding campaigns are interesting to news outlets, which could lead to more media exposure for your organisation
A good example of a crowdfunding campaign is 'Save your signature' from the Dutch Leiden University. This campaign gained a lot of national media attention. Within Leiden University, the crowdfunding website was well-known as well.
People engage themselves with projects and campaigns they are interested in. When they participate in a project, they get the feeling that the project partly belongs to them. The power of crowdfunding is, of course, the 'crowd': making a project successful together. This creates engagement. As a crowdfunding campaign organiser, it is important that you emphasise the urgency of the project: why should we raise money now?
Engagement also provides you with more feedback and fun ideas for your campaign and future campaigns from your supporters. You can stimulate this engagement long after your campaign has finished. Share news updates via your campaign page, website or social media channels and show everyone what happens to the money.
3. New target groups
You can reach new (eg. young) target groups for different projects. Because crowdfunding campaigns focus on gaining donations for a specific project and a specific message.
4. Get your management, investors and other key partners on board
Crowdfunding is a great way to get the people you need onboard for a certain initiative, project or subject. You can show them that a subject is relevant for your supporters if a project is successfully crowdfunded. This is a powerful argument to convince your management that the subject needs to be explored further. You can also gain trust from authorities, funds and other investors because of the support of your crowd. They might even want to cofinance the (next) project.
'De Hartstichting' (Dutch Heart Foundation) started a crowdfunding pilot in 2016. They have since successfully repeated the same concept. At the time, creating a base of support for crowdfunding as a means of financing research within their own organisation was an important goal. The successful crowdfunding-pilot offered researchers a chance to finance innovate medical research. It was future-proof, solidifying de Hartstichting's role as a connector between researchers and their supporter base.
5. Image boost
Crowdfunding can give you an image boost. With crowdfunding, you can show everyone that you are up to date with fundraising. Many researchers say that the modern donor wants more flexibility and freedom: they don't want to be stuck with a charity for too long and want to make their own choices. Besides that, transparency a major key. The donor wants clarity about where their money is going. You don't have these problems with crowdfunding. Because people can donate once (or more often if they like) to a specific project or initiative. Crowdfunding can also help your organisation to be very transparent about impact. This makes crowdfunding a good way to show what you're doing as a non-profit organisation. This way crowdfunding can give you an image boost!
6. Market research
Lastly, a crowdfunding campaign is a perfect way to do market research. You can easily find out what your supporters' interests are. And if you start multiple projects, you will see which one gains the most donations or has the most publicity. The outcome can be dependent on different factors, but most of the time it's a good indicator for the popularity of a certain subject with your supporters.
Market research can be really expensive and is often based on polling results, but now crowdfunding can give you real results for only a fraction of the price of traditional market research. People donate money, after all. People's willingness to invest in your crowdfunding projects is more reliable than any market research.
As you can see: crowdfunding is an innovative marketing tool. It combines market research, publicity and engagement from your supporters. It can help improve your image and could even introduce you to a new group of supporters. And oh, it helps you raise funds, too!