Sites and ideas that revolve around crowdfunding for nonprofits are crowding the Internet nowadays, to the point where there’s little room left for innovation and creativity. However, nonprofits are digitally panhandling for funds and, more often than not, donations exceed their expectations. No one expects such boats of generosity from complete strangers, but miracles do happen.
Every hour of every day, projects across the spectrum of NGOs, arts, science, environment, and education will find their cause resonates within thousands of people, strangers and acquaintances alike, from all over the world. It’s an inspiring feeling that you can experience as well.
True enough, crowdfunding can empower your organization or fundraiser event to achieve its mission, be it raising money for rundown schools in the rural areas, fighting an oil giant from crumbling yet another Arctic glacier into the ocean or rescuing the neighborhood’s favorite dog from some terrible canine disease.
In the following article, we’re going to shift our attention on wacky and imaginative fundraising ideas. The loonier, the more a crowdfunding for nonprofits is likely to pique donor interest. Below you’ll also find a list of some insightful tips that should push your nonprofit crowdfunding campaign on its way to success.
Crowdfunding for Nonprofits – Four Campaigns That Did Not Play by the Rules
The Wacky Wager
Wacky Wager crowdfunding for nonprofits has all it takes to push the boundaries of fundraising beyond the ordinary. Select a team of volunteers that you know won’t allow their shyness to spoil the fun. You need crowd funders that will be willing to perform outstanding acts, like dyeing their hair blue to promote clean air or skiing in a tutu to raise money for a local ballet school. The point, as far off from the topic as it might seem, brings us to our next wacky wager tip.
People will donate money to see a bit of harmless craziness released into an otherwise dull world, but make sure there’s a connection between your nonprofit’s cause and your zany pledge. There is a limit to the outlandishness on display.
Also, this type of crowdfunding for nonprofits works best in more intimate circles, such as at the workplace or within the local community. However, once you get some traction from your donors, they will pay heavy money for the privilege of designating a co-worker or a neighbor to shave half of his mustache, for example. Yes, human minds work in mysterious ways. By the time you’ll have gotten to grips with that fundamental truth, you’ll have started a fundraising trend already. Then, the Cloud’s the limit.
Your nonprofit’s virtual supporters can come up with their own wager at stake next time. Don’t forget to put to good use all social media accounts and ask your volunteers to promote it heavily online.
The Magic Wheelchair
Your cause may focus on offering children who are victims of a disease or an accident a chance at a normal life. There’s no reason why your nonprofit can’t do this and uphold the awesomeness principle at the same time. In order to understand our cryptic advice, you need to be informed of the Magic Wheelchair campaign.
The idea bloomed on Kickstarter around the 2015 Halloween. It was aimed at raising enough money to build five Lord of the Rings-like, epic wheelchairs for children with disabilities who wanted to go trick or treating in the costume of their dreams. With the initial funding of $15,000 surpassed, the team drew more plans to build the ultimate Halloween costumes for every $3,000 pledge.
If there’s one lesson in crowdfunding to take to heart from the Magic Wheelchair campaign, it’s this. Include a video. Independent on your skill with words or how lyrical your mission’s statement sounds like, your nonprofit will get much more support through pictures and footage. Don’t forget to roll an audio strip of a lonely piano playing in the background.
Lady Gaga Sings the Robin Hood Ballad
There’s a collective heart beating loud out there. You just need to tune in and learn its rhythm and language. Most recently, the best translator to make sense of those wild social throbs has been social media.
Facebook, for one, can raise, divide, and conquer empires. Most of us number our online followers in the thousands, at best. Your nonprofit may count its likes on its ten fingers. When anonymity is the main obstacle to a successful fundraiser, the best you could do is to get yourself some popular friends. Or is steal Facebook Likes from the rich and give them to the poor?
Robin Hood Foundation, a New York-based charity which benefits the destitute and homeless, has proved that a celebrity’s success can rub off on a good cause. The nonprofit enlisted the help of Lady Gaga while luring pledgers with two tickets every weekday to one of the pop star’s concert.
‘The exposure that comes from someone who has 32 million Facebook fans is a great opportunity for us, but at the end of the day this promotion, this contest, is about helping people who need it and doing it in a way that is not superficial,’ says Mark Bezos, senior VP of development and communications at Robin Hood Foundation.
There’s an increasing trend in crowdfunding for nonprofits to collaborate with celebrities to raise awareness about their cause. How well has it worked for the Robin Hood Foundation and just how merry does their Facebook following look like now? For an answer, just check their social media page.
Follow Your Gut
You’re in the crowdfunding for nonprofits aisle now. That means you won’t find what you’re looking for with a charity drive ingredients list. Your donors expect an original recipe. Make yours wacky and desirable, so people feel truly rewarded when giving. The following example is one to remember.
American Gut is a crowd-sourced citizen science project whose field of study focuses on the microbes and bacteria flourishing within the human intestinal flora.
The Human Microbiome Project raised some inquisitive eyebrows but also wads of money from all around the world, not least due to the included donor perks.
Once you pledge $99, you could send a stool sample and receive some valuable information back, such as the names of the microbes that have crashed on your couch one day and refused to leave. And as an extra incentive, the American Gut would also perform a DNA extraction and RNA sequencing on your pet’s sample.
We couldn’t think of another grosser but deeply fascinating crowdfunding for nonprofits than the American Gut Project. Not oddly at all, in our view, the mail delivery system suffered from severe congestion when the fundraiser announced a ‘Week of Feces’ in January 2013, prompting donors to send in samples worth $339,303.
Crowdfunding for nonprofits has one rule. There is no rule that would ensure success, but a series of smart maneuvers and hard-won experience that can turn your campaign into next day’s social media hit.