Crowd Funding – is it part of the solution for Not for Profits?

Crowd Funding – is it part of the solution for Not for Profits?

In today’s age of an increasingly savvy “donor” and the unique challenges posed by the National Disability Insurance Scheme – or NDIS – it is not surprising that many not for profits in Australia are finding the donor landscape a challenging one and looking for new solutions such as crowd funding. Be warned though, crowd funding sites are just another tool in the tool kit and shouldn’t be confused as the solution to all your fundraising woes.

Having worked with a number of NFP’s on different fundraising campaigns, the same questions always come up:


1. People versus organisations.

So often the question is asked: “How do we tell the story in a way that motivates someone want to act?” In all honesty, it always comes down to the people directly affected, and how our money or donation is going to be used.

The more you can find a way to take on larger fundraising goals in people-sized bites, the better.  Look at how you can fund individuals or small programs, as this means you are more likely to have your crowd funding campaign be successful. Just look at sites like Go Fund Me or Kiva.  Crowd funding sites such as these and others are putting choice in the hands or at the finger tips of the modern donor, and as such not for profits have to work harder for their share of the pie.


Allowing me to get to know a person who is benefiting from my donations lets me form a connection with the cause, so to speak.

2. How do we get maximum exposure in such a busy, noisy space?

This is when you employ all of your other tools in the tool kit, in social media I call this ‘baiting the hook’, as the more people donating to a crowd funding campaign the more attractive it is to other people.

So tell everyone you know, be it donors, supporters, friends, family and staff. Get them to share it on their various social networks and via direct email. Harness the power of any brand ambassadors you have to push it as far and wide as you can. The first 24 hours is critical to a crowd funding campaign’s success, so ensure that you have a solid communications plan in place for it’s launch.

3. How long should we run it for?

Crowd funding campaigns are designed to run for a finite period of time to raise a finite amount of funds. Not for profit campaigns work best when they run for set periods from a single day up to 12 weeks, our recommendation though would be running campaigns for no longer than 4-6 weeks. Having an end point creates a perceived sense or urgency for the would be donor and encourages them to get on board.

4. Who do we want to see it?

A machine gun approach is not the answer here, the more specific you are with your audience again, the more likely you will succeed. Start by targeting groups of people who are likely to be aligned to the cause, i.e. target teachers if your campaign focuses on funding something education-related.  They will recruit their friends and family because it is something that they are passionate about. Remember that it is OK to start small, even the ice bucket challenge had to start somewhere.


5. How do we advertise it?

Setting aside a budget to get your campaign out to the targeted masses is a good idea. We recommend using existing donor lists to create a custom audience through Facebook and Twitter which you can then run targeted ads to. You can also replicate your custom Facebook audience to target others who are likely to be open to being a donor and have similar interests. A retargeting campaign can also be beneficial where people are served ads who have been to your donor site or the landing page you set up before it.


If you’re in the NFP space and would like some guidance on how best to maximise social media advertising to get your next fundraising campaign off the ground, get in touch!  Visit our Contact page, or call 1300 65 85 43.

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Simone Douglas

Simone is co-founder and Senior Principal Solutions Architect of Digital Marketing AOK. Simone offers over 17 years in corporate management roles encompassing generalist HR recruitment and development of small to large teams across multiple sites, industry sectors and states. Experienced in a variety of social media platforms and their complimentary applications, social media strategy, risk management, disaster recovery and associated HR policies and processes.