HomeDigital MinistryOnline Giving10 Ways Your Church can be Successful at Crowdfunding

10 Ways Your Church can be Successful at Crowdfunding

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Crowdfunding is not a fad. It’s here to stay based on how successful many church and ministries have been over the past few years with the way of raising funds. We’ve written two previous articles on crowdfunding: Part one discusses five possible solutions for your next crowdfunding project and Part two offers input from churches and ministries that have successfully crowdfunded.

But we cannot stop here. If you are serious about starting your own crowdfunding project, you will need some of these tips to be successful. This project will take time, creativity, lots of conversations and support, so if you want to get something started next month, you will need to begin to lay the groundwork today.

Here are 10 tips to making your own successful crowdfunding campaign:

1) Set Yourself Up For Success

“One of the things I found most helpful to keep in mind is the idea that Indiegogo is a way to generate excitement and energy for a campaign, but not a way to connect with donors. The relationships with donors need to be healthy and in place well before the campaign gets started. Staging those donors to give at particular times also helps create momentum, which encourages others to give. We asked some donors to give right at the beginning of the campaign, before the campaign was public, to give us a strong start. Others gave in the first week.” – Emily Scott, St. Lydia’s

2) Own Your Story

“We let the organization tell their story of the mission and vision of the organization instead of relying on individuals who are a part of the organization. The individual should tell why they are passionate about the organization and let the organization communicate why they exist and the mission they hope to accomplish.” – Matt McKee

3) Don’t Get Lazy With Rewards

I have seen some Christian projects with rewards of “one person saved” or “a whole village that will come to know Jesus.” I hope you are not trying to use the Gospel for your own gain, but rewards like such show a lack of understanding. Further, I have been apart of some projects where I did not get my reward for months, if at all. Do not be lazy with creating or sending out your rewards.

4) Pick the Platform That Fits Your Project Best

Missionaries would not thrive on Kickstarter (and probably would not be accepted) but would do well if they have smaller projects. Picking your platform could result in no money (if you do not meet your goal in Kickstarter, you get nothing) as opposed to a platform that does not have a lot of visitors and would require lots of personal marketing. (FaithLauncher)

5) Market Outside of the Crowdfunding Platform

I’ve traversed several religious projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo and been saddened with ministries that assume you can just create an account and everyone will give you money, only to have the time expire and have one backer for $5, if they are lucky. Use social media, email newsletters, and your website to promote before the project goes live as preparation as well as during the event to keep everyone updated on progress.

6) Be Visual

“Any crowdfunding campaign should use as many pictures as possible and have a solid video. We now live in an online world that values pictures and videos more than just text.” – Matt McKee

7) Take Advice Already Given

The Indiegogo “playbook” offers a ton of excellent advice. Make sure you read it in detail before launching your campaign. Planning for the campaign is key. You want to have a plan before you hit “go.” -Emily Scott, St. Lydia’s

8) Don’t Fundraise, Build A Community

Yes, you are raising money for a project and that should be your first priority in everything. That being said, this is your chance to build a community. This means that if you are giving out gifts for different giving levels, you should make it relevant to your project and ensure it is all branded. Make sure you have people join a newsletter when they give so you can keep them up to date on progress, even after your project has completed. And invite them to join in whenever possible.

9) Harness the Crowdsourcing Power

You could try to do all of the marketing yourself if you wanted but think about advertising. Of course, you are going to say this is the project people should give to. But if your donors do this, you have not only expanded your reach beyond what you have, you have also been given a HUGE marketing tool. Figure out how you can have your donors share your project.

10) Make Sure the Economics Work Out

Crowdfunding legend has it that in the early stages, someone put together a great crowd fundraiser and forgot to implement the cost of rewards and shipping. Thus, they completed their goal, and ultimately lost thousands of dollars after shipping out their rewards. Do the math and make sure you can cover all your expenses.

So the question is, what campaign are you going to do and what tips do you think you are going to implement?

If you do plan to do a Kickstarter, leave a link below so we can see some other great success stories of campaigns that are trying a new form of funding.

Lauren Hunter
Lauren Hunterhttps://laurenhunter.net
Lauren Hunter is a writer who loves the big picture of God’s journey we are all on together. In 2007, she founded ChurchTechToday, a website for pastors and church leaders to harness technology to improve ministry. Married to her high school sweetheart, Lauren lives in Northern California with her husband and their four children. Her latest book is Leaving Christian Science: 10 Stories of New Faith in Jesus Christ. She can be found online at https://laurenhunter.net.

5 COMMENTS

  1. At Red Basket, we have provided a platform for several projects lauched by communities of faith that have met some success. We wholeheartedly agree with all your points. “If you build it, they will come’ simply doesn’t work in crowdfunding! There’s much more effort involved than people think at first, but it can definitely pay off!

    I invite anyone looking for a platform for their next crowdfunded project to take a look at RedBasket.org. We are a nonprofit platform that provides crowdfunding space for community betterment projects as well as to help people overcome a financial hardship due to an accident, illness, or act of nature. Because we are a nonprofit, donations recieved via Red Basket are tax deductable to the donor. We are unique in that we are backed 100% by Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Company, who pays all of our administrative and processing costs, so neither people receiving funds nor donors are charged any sort of fee. Every dollar given is passed to the person or project you choose to support! Check us out at RedBasket.org or give us a call at 1.877.969.7378.

    • As I shared with the other comment, I wouldn’t recommend anyone without trying it out, though it sounds like you have a service that is at least thinking the right direction. Is this model a Kickstarter version where you have to meet the goal or Indiegogo where you just hope to get there but not needed? Also, how do you differentiate yourself from these services?

  2. I couldn’t agree more on how important fundraising is. We have a lot of clients on https://www.continuetogive.com/ that are having trouble with their fundraiser and these would be great tips for them! I think this could work interchangeably for churches as well as individuals.

    A big thing I have seen with crowdfunding is Love Auctions. They are like silent auctions on facebook and they the donors pay for their auction item online through a giving page on Continue to Give. It seems to go over well.

    • Thanks for your comment, Abigail! Glad that you’ve seen success with love auctions. Would love to hear from a church how they used crowdfunding successfully – feel free to pass this article along and invite them to comment. Sincerely, Lauren

    • Without vetting the service (this is people’s livelihoods and hard earned money here), I wouldn’t be able to recommend you guys. Can you tell us a little more about your service?

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