Last month, we shared with you 5 Possible Crowdfunding Solutions for Your Next Church Project specifically designed for crowdsource funding that ministries can leverage. Regardless of your project, whether renovating a part of your church, sending and supporting a missionary to Africa, financing a local outreach ministry, or sending kids to camp, online crowdfunding may have a place in your fundraising process. While it is great to know where these platforms are, it is even better to hear that they truly do work.
Below, we have listed four success stories where churches and ministries were able to use these online crowdfunding platforms to fund their project, whatever that be. Here are their stories and what helped make their projects a success:
St. Lydia’s Dinner Church
Emily Scott is one of the driving forces behind this $30,000+ successful crowdfunded campaign to construct their own building in Brooklyn. The project, hosted on Indiegogo.com, started on May 29, 2014, and in less than a week had raised more than enough money. As their website states, between “our congregation, some generous donors, and a crowdfunding campaign, we’ve already raised in excess of $135,000.”
Using Indiegogo’s perk system, they had giving options ranging from $30 up to $5,000 and a range of perks that included a Lydian-theme grocery list, postcards, tote bags, aprons, and cutting boards. In looking at the project itself, to provide a space to have fellowship and dinner, these gifts perfectly aligned with the giving levels and rewards contributors would get. And with over 250 online backers, their name is now even more known than before.
And while the perks are beautifully crafted, the best part of this whole campaign is the story they tell to draw you into the whole experience. They make it warm and personal– not a sales pitch at all — but an invitation to join their ministry. Just check out their amazing project video that describes their project in full.
Shoes for Syrian Refugees
This project found itself receiving over $10,000 in online support to start a wonderful initiative to help those in need. Unlike most traditional crowdfunding projects, this one does not actually give you physical products as perks when you give. Instead, Matt Brown, the founder of Think Eternity and this project, lays out exactly what the money will go towards. When you go to his Indiegogo page, you instantly see what this project is about when a well-crafted image that is shown below.
While the title and image themselves already tell you the story of the project, the story page gives you a deeper look into the purpose and reason for needing to do this project. The story being told, enhanced by the different giving options, pairs nicely together, making this a great success story. Here are Matt Brown’s thoughts on how the online crowdfunding fit into his project:
“Two years ago, the need for care for Syrian refugees weighed heavily on my heart. We as a ministry had never done any crowdfunding, but this seemed like a natural way to get more friends and followers online involved together on something. I contacted Lynne Hybels of Willow Creek because I knew she was passionate about justice projects, and could help us get these funds to the right organizations on the ground. We launched a three-week campaign earlier this year. All together, it went better than I had dreamed.
We personally gave of course, and God stirred the hearts of many others. 100% went directly to meet these refugee’s needs. I would do a crowdfunding project again because it is a natural way to involve social media connections. It seemed to work best doing it with other friends (we partnered with a dozen friends and organizations). Another helpful part was that friends of both Lynne and myself had friends who offered various matching grants throughout the campaign which spurred more giving. To me, it doesn’t take the place of general fundraising, and is not good for general ministry fundraising – it works best for a very specific compassion-based project.”
Family Force 5
If you listen to Christian contemporary music, you might have heard of a band called Family Force 5. Regardless of your views on rock music, this band has done something wonderful in their production of a music video. Following a highly successful first Kickstarter campaign to fund their previous music video Zombie, they entered into a more ambitious project that led to them raising over $24,000 in funds to finance their music video. But that is not even the best part of this campaign.
The perks of giving to this project were perfect for their target audience. Do you love to watch Christian music videos? Why not consider giving and if you give at least $25, you will find yourself in the video and a sneak peak before it was released to the public. With over 400 backers, the project not only raised the money they needed but also had the perfect cast for the video. The finished project? Over 4 minutes of fun that not only highlighted the music but celebrated the backers themselves.
ForAFriend goes about crowdfunding a little differently, looking at missionaries who do not have a single project to get funded, but reoccurring items for ministry. Here are a couple of situations where missionaries have been able to have special projects and find success with funding.
Missionary with InterVarsity in Beverly, Massachusetts.
The thing that has been great about forafriend.com is that my donors get really excited to give. They are excited about the project, and are excited to be able to take part in it in a direct way. I think it makes donors more excited and involved than if they were to just give to a large after-school project fund.
A missionary U.S. Center for World Mission in the Middle East.
A little less than two years ago I asked for gifts to help me take Muslims and Hindu’s to see a Passion of the Christ. It touched a chord and all my tickets were covered including two Muslims and a Hindu. They were moved to tears and prayed at the Cross that was erected for prayer and confession. The Muslim family were recent refugees from Iraq. The friendship continues with these people today.
These success stories show the incredible opportunities of using crowdfunding for ministry and fundraising.