Crowdfunding is a fundraising strategy in which a nonprofit organization asks a large number of people to individually donate small amounts of money to its campaign. This cost-effective strategy has many benefits, allowing nonprofits to raise funds faster while spreading the word to more individuals about their cause. You can even implement crowdfunding into your in-person and virtual events.
Since crowdfunding relies on reaching a large audience compared to other localized campaigns, conducting your crowdfunding campaign online allows you to access more new prospects. Because most nonprofits have already implemented email and text marketing, take a look at these digital marketing tips:
- Establish a marketing strategy.
- Leverage the power of the internet.
- Increase engagement with graphic design.
- Partner with external parties.
- Work with a digital marketing agency.
1. Establish a marketing strategy.
Your organization’s nonprofit marketing plan is the outline that will guide all of your fundraising efforts. Your strategy should be thorough, addressing at least the following aspects:
- Audience. Decide who your audience is and what demographics they belong to. You can do this by using data from your current donors and supporters to see who you’re already engaging with. For example, you can leverage employer appends to learn more about the jobs your audience members hold.
- Goal. Have a tangible, measurable, and achievable fundraising goal for your campaign.
- Timeline. Ask yourself: how long will the campaign be? How frequently will you message supporters? You’ll want to connect with supporters frequently enough that they won’t forget about your campaign, but you also don’t want to bombard them with communications.
- Channel. Alongside the timing of your messages, decide which channels your messages will be sent through. Different channel types include social media posts, ads, and texts. Remember that you should use a multichannel approach to reach the most potential supporters.
- Storytelling. Every nonprofit has a story behind it, and it makes an ideal backbone for your marketing campaign and brand identity. Weaving an emotional story through them allows your audience to engage with your content even more and increases their investment in your success.
Focus on specific digital marketing strategies for crowdfunding campaigns in your marketing plan. Outline how your campaign will align with crowdfunding’s strengths, such as using social media to boost visibility. This will give you a concrete idea of what you’ll be doing to digitally market your crowdfunding campaign, and it will be convenient for you to act upon those ideas.
2. Leverage the power of the internet.
There are many digital marketing platforms with different audiences you can promote your crowdfunding campaign to. Keep in mind that these media channels are not a monolith—you’ll need to create different types of content to match the different platforms and appeal to their users.
Some digital marketing platforms to consider using are:
- Social media. To get started, make sure you have social media accounts set up on the platforms that your audience uses. Choose two to three platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, and create posts that direct users to engage with your nonprofit. For example, you might prompt them to donate to your annual fund or ask them to buy a ticket to your fundraising event. Study engagement metrics like follower counts, likes, and comments over time to see which posts are most effective.
- Email marketing. This method is unique because it gives you a direct line of communication with your supporters by landing your message in their inboxes. Email marketing is also very flexible, allowing you to promote crowdfunding fundraisers, request feedback through surveys, send post-campaign thank-you messages, and more. When sending marketing emails, make sure to segment supporters based on shared characteristics (e.g., average donation size or age group), and keep the subject lines and body of the emails short and sweet.
- Search engine marketing (SEM). This form of marketing refers to the practice of boosting your site’s search engine rankings through paid ads or content optimization. Purchasing ads on platforms like Google can be pricey, but programs like the Google Ad Grant make it feasible for nonprofits. Through this program, eligible organizations receive $10,000 in Google Ad credits each month. To get the most out of your monthly credits and remain compliant with program guidelines, it can be helpful to work with a specialized agency.
One way to determine which platforms to use is by conducting social media appends of your supporters. NPOInfo advises that you use these appends to create targeted appeals and re-engage lapsed donors, helping your nonprofit retain more of its current donors.
3. Increase engagement with graphic design.
While you may be prioritizing the messaging of your crowdfunding marketing materials, don’t underestimate the power of graphic design.
For engaging visuals, make sure to incorporate:
- Images: Images transcend language barriers to connect people from different backgrounds to your mission. They can be used strategically to break up blocks of text and increase viewer engagement. Consider using emotional photos or infographics that tell a story and provide information in a digestible format. You might even create a fundraising thermometer so that your crowdfunding campaign’s donors can easily tell how close they are to meeting your goal.
- Videos: Videos allow you to meld anecdotes and data together seamlessly, appealing to your supporters’ emotional connection to the cause. You can embed short videos into your website, social media platforms, and crowdfunding campaign site to increase supporter engagement with your communications
Having cohesive visual branding on all your promotional materials, digital or not, can go a long way toward establishing your nonprofit as a professional organization. Make sure to create a brand guide that lays out the exact fonts, color codes, logos, and imagery to use so your branding is consistent.
4. Partner with external parties.
Partnering with an external party to digitally market your crowdfunding campaign can broaden your audience and the number of donations you receive. Businesses are a great type of external party to work with, as they give over $2 billion each year to nonprofits. Now more than ever, corporate social responsibility is important to businesses that want to show that they care about social good and set themselves apart from their competitors.
When deciding which business to partner with, take a look at their existing corporate social responsibility initiatives. If they already have a matching gift program or a volunteer program, they might be more inclined to work with you and promote your crowdfunding campaign on their website and to their employees. In return, you can include their branding in your promotional materials, and thank them publicly at the end of your campaign.
Aside from businesses, consider partnering with digital influencers such as Twitch streamers or YouTube personalities. These partnerships can increase your visibility even more than a business partnership—however, it can be difficult to obtain these partnerships if you don’t already have a connection with them. It’s more feasible if your nonprofit is large and well-funded, but if you’re a smaller organization, a corporate sponsorship may be more beneficial.
5. Work with a digital marketing agency.
To start your crowdfunding campaign strong, consider working with a digital marketing agency. These professionals spend their time researching digital marketing trends and are experts in determining which strategies will work best for your unique nonprofit. According to Fifty & Fifty’s guide to nonprofit marketing, these agencies can help you elevate your nonprofit’s graphic design, online presence, brand messaging, and more.
While it is possible to create a successful digital marketing strategy for your crowdfunding campaign without professional help, it may take you a lot of time, resources, risk, and research. A digital marketing agency will streamline the process, give your promotional materials a professional touch, and even leverage strategies you might not know of, such as Google Ad Grants.
Digital marketing is an essential upgrade from traditional event promotion, especially for crowdfunding, which needs a large audience to succeed. Make sure you carefully plan and execute your marketing campaign and center it around your mission to ensure maximum donor and community engagement. By using digital marketing to reach out to a global audience, you’ll be able to attract donors from all over the world, ensuring a successful crowdfunding campaign.