Five crowdfunding sources for nonprofits to consider (and what we’re using)

As funding opportunities shift focus in response to COVID-19, crowdfunding can be an efficient way for nonprofits to replace lost revenue streams.

Here are five crowdfunding platforms designed specifically for nonprofit organizations (including two options we use here at Simbi Foundation).

Whether you’re running independent campaigns, sourcing corporate funding, or aiming to increase donations from followers, a crowdfunder can help you optimize the funding process.

Crowdfunding platforms operate by giving small organizations access to a (generally speaking) quicker and lower cost pool of capital — reducing dependency on competitive grants, wealthy benefactors, and for-profit arms.

While the most dedicated crowdsourcers are able to consistently pull in donations through engaging marketing and outreach, the truth is that most nonprofits will use crowdfunding as a supplemental revenue stream.

This makes crowdsourcing platforms a great place to try out different donation models, and pick up some new leads!

Using a platform to bring in global donations may be efficient, but it comes at the cost of losing facetime with donors.

The benefits of reaching out in person are invaluable when it comes to building long term relationships with partners and ensuring that your nonprofit brand and philosophy are fully communicated.

Because of this, while your connections and reach will undoubtedly increase, it’s important to supplement any crowdfunding with careful marketing outreach, designed to keep current and future donors in the loop, and helping them feel like a valued part of your community.

It’s also worth taking a close look at your platforms Ts and Cs to make sure you’re aware of any commission, and exactly how much of a cut they may take from your revenue.

Source: Teamwork, Free vector illustration

Crowdfunding source #1 — Global Giving

GlobalGiving is the world’s first + largest global crowdfunding community that connects nonprofits, donors, and companies in 170+ countries.

The GlobalGiving platform has been around for over eighteen years, connecting charities, funders, and companies. With over a million registered donors and projects from all around the world, this is an established, safe bet for forays into crowdsourcing.

GlobalGiving is itself a nonprofit, relying on corporate partners like Microsoft, Nike, Ford, etc.

Nonprofits apply to join. You’ll then spend most of your time describing your work, making funding pitches for specific campaigns, and connecting with potential donors.

Based on your activity and information, GlobalGiving will help you connect with people based on interests, requests, level of donation needed, etc.

Free to join, then a five per cent fee on donations, which goes back into supporting GlobalGiving’s work, as well as a three per cent transaction processing fee.

The sheer number of nonprofits and donors on GlobalGiving, as well as the potential number of connections with corporate partners, make this a good prospect. Global Giving drove $18 million in extra funding to nonprofits in 2018.

You can find GlobalGiving’s page for Nonprofits here.


Crowdfunding source #2 — StartSomeGood

A different kind of crowdfunding platform, for a different kind of crowd.

StartSomeGood is a simple and easy to use crowdsourcing site — making it a great option for those nonprofits who don’t want to run full-time campaigns, but would still like access to a crowdfunding resource.

This platform’s team will help you out by providing real, personalized coaching and feedback. This is not only helpful for new project creators, but gives you a headstart matching your campaign with prospective donors.

Project submission is free, but there is a 5 per cent service fee on the total funds raised. However, the fee only applies if your project is successful.

StartSomeGood is a great place for nonprofits that are new to crowdfunding — and also worth considering for their coaching and training features alone.

Here’s a link to StartSomeGood: crowdfunding for non-profits, social entrepreneurs and changemakers.


Crowdfunding source #3 — Causes

Causes is the place to discover, support and organize campaigns, fundraisers, and petitions around the issues that impact you and your community.

Causes is an interesting option for nonprofits with marketing bandwidth because it works as both a crowdfunding platform and social network.

With 186 million registered users in 156 countries, this boosts networking opportunities that will hopefully lead to raising more capital.

You create a crowdfunding page that serves as the face of your campaign. From there you can accept donations, raise awareness, and promote informative links, videos, and images.

Causes’ social networking component also uses pre-existing connections from popular networks such as Facebook and Linkedin to increase relevancy and donor visibility.

Free, but with revenue from advertising.

A good option to look into if you’re looking to build your social reach alongside finding new fundraising opportunities.

Here’s a link for Causes: The World’s Largest Online Campaigning Platform · Causes.


Crowdfunding source #4 — DonorBox (what we’re using)

State of the art recurring donation system in fifteen mins.

Unlike some of the other crowdfunding options on this list, DonorBox focuses on upping your ability to capture donations within your own content ecosystem.

What they call their ‘donate button’ is actually a sleek donation portal for your website — fully customizable for different funding models and payment methods.

DonorBox’s software can either be embedded directly into your site or published through a widget. From there, personalisation options are numerous, including setting up recurring donations, gift matching, and a couple of great social media features.

The platform accepts over twenty currencies and all standard credit cards, Apple pay, Google Pay, and Paypal.

A 1.5 per cent platform fee for nonprofits collecting >$1000 per month (free for lower amounts).

A different kind of offering to most on this list — and a definite contender if your site has high traffic.

Check it out: Free Donate Button — Donorbox Nonprofit Fundraising Software.


Crowdfunding source #5 — Keela (what we’re using)

Keela’s complete nonprofit software gives you powerful, intelligent tools to manage your donors, mobilize your volunteers, market your nonprofit, and raise more money.

Think of Keela as a CRM for charities and donors. The platform integrates all of your connections — donors, corporate partners, volunteers, memberships programs, into a centralized dashboard.

From there (with the help of some platform algorithms) it becomes easier to track patterns in donations and giving, allowing you to develop more effective, timely funding outreach with automated marketing and donation forms.

Keela employs a set of algorithms, which they call ‘Keela Intelligence.’ By scanning the donation data you input, the platform calculates a ‘Donor Score’ for each contact, giving you an estimate of when a contact is most engaged (and likely to donate), when leads look promising, and when it’s time to reach out to contacts in need of attention.

A sliding scale dependant upon how many contacts you interface with — 500 contacts = $49 per month. Perhaps not surprisingly, Keela is pricier than the other options on this list, given it offers a broader ranger of SaaS tools.

We’re in the process of moving everything over to Keela, so it has our stamp of approval so far!

Keela: Nonprofit Software.

Got questions about how we handle funding and donations at Simbi Foundation? Drop us a line!

(All costs etc. accurate as of April 2020. Thanks to our Grants team lead Daniel Morton for his insight and opinions in this article!)

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