Every church has some kind of new project in the works, it seems. And of course, most projects only work if you have the money to execute and support them. Whether it is a youth group that is trying to raise money to go to camp, a new addition to the church building that would be used as an overflow room, or helping send a family as missionaries to another country, churches need creative ways to raise the money to send them.
This digital age offers new ways to meet these unique challenges. It’s called crowdfunding and has been made popular first by Kickstarter. The company has seen astronomical success with projects getting millions of dollars in a matter of days. It capitalizes on people funding your campaign at various giving levels, each with their own goodies, and suggest overall support of the whole project. With the major success of Kickstarter, the question is, how can churches move beyond a congregation-supported project to a community and even digitally-supported event?
I will say upfront that many churches have tried to use Kickstarter and most fail terribly. It’s not made specifically for churches. And if you do not meet your goal, you do not get any of the money.
So what crowdfunding options are available for churches? I’m glad you asked.
5 Possible Crowdfunding Solutions for Churches
Many of these platforms are new. They may not be fully proven to help you raise funds for your church. Most solutions require a bit of elbow grease to raise funds for your church. You must create and run a successful campaign to earn money. That being said, I have personally talked with the creators of all but the last on our list and they want to see churches thrive. I am happy to stand by all of these options for your church, each with a bit of a different take on crowdfunding.
Funded by Faith’s platform was designed exclusively for churches, which social media sharing options built in. This is definitely the most Kickstarter-like of the solutions so far. Started by a group that wants to see the church financially supported in this digital age, this has the best Kickstarter feel to it and may be more familiar to your audience. Each church is vetted by the team before being allowed to submit a campaign.
Fundly is a secular fundraising platform and has lots of bells and whistles. While not set up for ministry specifically, they do have many features that appeal to nonprofits and also boasts no startup fees. Individuals can set up campaigns through Facebook. Nonprofits can register through their website to use their campaign platform. Fundly also has its own free app to make building and maintaining your campaign on mobile a breeze. Read this helpful article for all the types of fundraisers you could possibly create – half the battle is just coming up with a creative way to start and raise funds.
This crowdfunding site says that it is different than other sites for a number of different reasons. Their platform is actually free for Christians to raise funds. They do not charge a 5-10% platform fee, which is really wonderful, and you can share your campaigns easily across social platforms. It’s currently touted as the “#1 free Christian crowdfunding site,” according to their website.
This fundraising software was built exclusively for nonprofits to help create meaningful connections with their donors. Their services include traditional online giving, text-to-donate, event fundraising, peer-to-peer campaigns, and even offers reporting and analytics. The smallest package starts at $149/month, and Mobile Cause offers custom packages if you have specific service needs for your fundraising.
Plumfund boasts free online fundraising for a variety of secular and nonsecular purposes. It was started by the creators of HoneyFund, which supports raising honeymoon funds for couples online. Online payments are made directly through the organizer's PayPal account. They offer their services free of charge, and they boast the lowest credit card processing fees at 2.8% + $0.30. Cash and check donations are free of charge.
These are the top five solutions out there, but it really is you doing the legwork to craft the best campaign possible for the mission of your ministry.