How Australian NGOs can embrace crowdfunding to boost donation efforts
1 October 2019 at 8:24 am
In light of the recent Global NGO Technology report, GoFundMe regional manager Nicola Britton shares her learnings on how to make your crowdfunding campaign a success.
This year’s Global NGO Technology report highlighted that Australian charities are embracing peer-to-peer fundraising (47 per cent) and crowdfunding platforms (23 per cent) to boost their fundraising efforts.
As a sector, it’s clear we’re no strangers to the power of social networks when it comes to virality and reaching new audiences. That’s loud and clear; 99 per cent of organisations own a Facebook page and 93 per cent of NFPs use social media to engage supporters.
Social media and crowdfunding go hand in hand. We’re rapidly seeing a new era of fundraising, powered by technology, with campaigns gathering momentum through social networks to reach new audiences.
Here’s a few learnings and critical success factors we’ve noted from the GoFundMe community of over 2 million Australians to date.
The time is right
An analysis of donation trends has shown that when a fundraiser is deemed urgent there is almost a two-fold (97 per cent) increase in the average amount raised. Cracking the timing of your crowdfunding campaign launch could be a key factor in your charity fundraising appeal.
Consider breaking your fundraising targets for longer-term issues down into short, more timely moments focused around key milestones. Whether that be the introduction, the passing of a bill, or other external political or societal moments. Take your donors on a journey and don’t be afraid to update them and ask them to chip in a little more, or share, when you get momentum.
With 44 per cent of NFPs admitting that they send email communication to donors just once per quarter, having a less structured, more flexible and timely communication strategy could be beneficial.
A representative voice
Take your time to find the right voice. The voice of an individual or group who is close to the source, or is directly impacted by the issue at the time of the campaign launch, is much more powerful than a company representative offering commentary on their behalf.
With over 60 per cent of GoFundMe campaigns started on behalf of someone else, we also see that those with “a friend” or “family” selected as a beneficiary raise on average four times more than those for those started for “self”.
Make the right connections to help seek out that voice. The right spokesperson and figurehead can also help distill complex issues and cut through a broader population – an all important factor when considering reaching new social audiences.
The right voice plus the right timing go hand in hand. Together they make a powerful duo.
Focus on a tangible donation ask. Some of the most successful campaigns see broad systemic issues broken down into tangible funding asks. This helps donors understand the impact of their dollar and can help tackle large scale issues in incremental phases of fundraising.
We only need to look to Debbie Kilroy’s #FreeHer campaign for her charity, Sister’s Inside, to understand the power of tangible donation asks. Deb is using donor dollars to pay off fines for women who face being incarcerated for being unable to do so themselves. Longer term, she’s fixing a systemic threat of death in custody faced by many vulnerable women.
Don’t leave donor engagement to chance
With 51 per cent of NFPs investing in social media strategy, advance planning to ensure all platforms, beyond traditional social media, are being utilised to drive donation volume and donor engagement could prove valuable.
We now understand that “social proofing” is a core factor for donors when considering donating to an online fundraiser. The power of social networks in bringing this social proofing element to fundraising has played a key role in the rapid rise of crowdfunding.
Once those donors have chipped in, they’re engaged in your cause. Keep them updated on momentum and milestones.
Consider your channels
Crowdfunding did not make it into the top 10 most effective communication and fundraising tools rated by NFPs in the Global NGO Technology report, with website and email leading the way. Yet fundraising for charities and NFPs falls into the top five categories on GoFundMe in Australia. This trend is largely driven by passionate individuals embracing online fundraising to tap into their own personal social networks to fundraise for causes they’re passionate about.
With a powerful story, the right timing and the right platforms, the generosity of Australians can quickly spread beyond communities of your own.
See also: Five ways Australian charities are embracing tech to fundraise for a summary of the key Australian findings from the Global NGO Technology Report.