Crowdfunding for Nonprofits & Schools


Crowdfunding is nothing new.  Nonprofits have been crowdfunding for decades! Think about it. Jerry Lewis hosted his first telethon in 1966 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association which became an annual event though 2009 and has raised nearly $2.45 billion for MDA. The telethon is the equivalent of today’s crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding is simply the act of gathering micro donations to reach a larger funding goal.  Today, crowdfunding is available to anyone with access to a computer or smartphone. And for nonprofits including parent teacher organizations, online crowdfunding is one of the best ways to engage your supporters while acquiring new donors. It is clear that crowdfunding is the most cost-effective method of fundraising but make no mistake it takes effort.  We’ve put together some simple tips to help ensure your organization’s success.

1- Set Your Funding Goal. Before you begin, you and your team should decide how much money you’d like to raise and the length of your campaign, considering all the fundraising activities of your organization.

2-Be Prepared! The weeks leading up to your launch are very important. You should be writing your email appeal in advance and gearing up to share your campaign across your social network. Remember MadLibs?  Just fill in the blanks.

We’re so excited with the progress we’ve made so far.  Our Fall fundraiser got us _____ percent of the funding needed for our ______(insert project here) and in the next 45 days we’re hoping you will help us raise $_____ needed to ______(be specific for example to bring clean water to 100 children living in….or to cover the costs of yearbooks for those children in our community…)

3-Include Video. Crowdfunding campaigns succeed because they appeal to people’s passions and interests, whether it’s to raise money for a new playground, class trip or to help provide clean water to a community in need. Campaigns which include short videos, less than 3 minutes long, are nearly 50 percent more successful than those without. Grab your digital camera or smartphone and tell your story!

4-Dont Forget to Say Thank You! The campaign can’t run itself and you must work to keep the momentum going.  One suggestion that is highly effective is to thank your donors and supporters on Facebook. As each donation comes in, share your gratitude and enthusiasm thanking each individual.  Tweet, share and shout every donation and while you’re at it, ask your donors if they “can spare a share” across their social networks.

If you you get stuck, reach out to the crew at umojawa at [email protected] and well respond as quickly as we can.