This article will explore the basics of nonprofit crowdfunding.

Nonprofit Basics | What to Know About Crowdfunding

Every fundraiser aims to meet essentially the same goal: to raise money and awareness for your cause while connecting with supporters. When it comes down to the details, some fundraising methods will meet your needs better than others. If you’re looking for a lot of support, a big audience, and the opportunity to expand your support system, crowdfunding is the way to go.

However, there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the how-tos and best practices of crowdfunding for nonprofits. In this guide, we aim to increase knowledge that drives successful campaigns.

Specifically, we’ll walk through the following questions:

In the end, you should have a solid understanding of nonprofit crowdfunding and feel prepared to lead your team in the right direction.

Ready to get started? Let’s dive in with the basics.

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a type of crowdsourcing that collects goods or services from a large group for an individual or organization. In terms of nonprofit fundraising, crowdfunding is a unique method that typically collects small (or mid-sized) donations from a large group of people, usually over the internet.

Though it can raise money for just about anything, crowdfunding is often used to collect funds for specific projects before a preset deadline⁠—and expand support for your cause through the power of urgency and online convenience.

For example, a nonprofit organization may enlist the help of a crowdfunding campaign to bankroll the construction of a new building, provide aid in a crisis or emergency, fund critical research or advocacy efforts, and more.

What are the benefits of crowdfunding for nonprofits?

Crowdfunding is a powerful fundraising method that brings fundamental advantages to nonprofits organizing the campaigns⁠—not to mention the audience that benefits from the project or program being fulfilled.

As you explore possible reasons to host a crowdfunding initiative, here are a few key reasons to consider:

Raising money quickly ⁠— Crowdfunding is one of the fastest ways for nonprofit groups to raise money for a project, need, or cause. When promoted strategically via social media, email, and word of mouth (more on that below), a crowdfunding campaign has the potential to reach hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Some campaigns even go viral⁠—and vastly exceed their goals.

Spreading awareness ⁠— Crowdfunding campaigns that seek to raise money for a cause can also help shine a light on that particular issue. For example, an organization raising funds to fight a rare illness may also find that the campaign educates people about that condition, not to mention its treatments and symptoms. The same scenario can occur for crowdfunding pages highlighting social, economic, or political injustices. Campaign creators not only raise money, but they also educate their peers about the overarching issue behind the financial need.

Bringing people together ⁠— By its very nature, crowdfunding brings people together and unites them with a common purpose. Individuals can band closely to support a nonprofit cause by contributing to its crowdfunding campaign. When people see their peers supporting a charitable mission online, social proof determines they’ll be more likely to contribute as well. And when the fundraiser reaches a milestone or hits its goal, the entire community is able to celebrate⁠—and feel good knowing that they played a role in the organization’s mission success.

How do you start crowdfunding?

Every campaign will be different depending on your cause, goal, and timeline. Keep those factors in mind while you’re planning, and follow these general steps to get started:

These are the steps to starting a crowdfunding campaign.

1. Set your goal and deadline.

In any fundraising campaign, it’s important to be straightforward. Transparency proves that your cause can be supported and also helps inform your supporters about when and how to donate.

Having a specific goal and deadline can also help you manage your time as you plan the rest of your campaign. Specifying a goal, like raising money for supplies or funding repairs to your facility, will motivate supporters to give and create a sense of urgency for the fundraiser. Urgency can also be highlighted by a deadline since this gives supporters a clear picture of how far away you are from your goal⁠—in terms of both time and funding.

2. Plan your campaign.

Decide how you want to promote your cause before actually announcing your campaign. This gives you an opportunity to establish a detailed plan for fundraising before you solicit support.

Crowdfunding thrives on social media’s timeliness and ease of use, so focus your efforts on those platforms. Hosting a small event might also be helpful as long as you have the time and resources to plan and promote one. For larger crowdfunding campaigns, tiers of donation amounts with small perks can be an effective way to incentivize giving.

Some campaign methods might not make sense for your fundraiser, and that’s okay. Choose what works best for your goals, needs, and timeline.

3. Choose a crowdfunding service.

If you’re looking to launch a crowdfunding effort, one of the most essential first steps is selecting the fundraising website through which you’ll host your campaign. After all, this is the interface that your donors will be directly interacting with in order to support your cause.

Lucky for you, there are a ton of excellent options to choose from that may be a great fit for your upcoming project or expense. But how will you know which one offers exactly what you need?

You’ll want to start by comparing third-party crowdfunding platforms⁠. Be sure to select the solution with the features, user experience, fees, and payout models that best align with your organization’s overarching goals and priorities. Then, make your selection!

4. Launch a crowdfunding page.

Once you’ve established which platform to use for your campaign, it’s time to set up and launch your online fundraiser. Make sure to populate your campaign page with your goal, some images, and other helpful details. Then, begin linking to it in promotions and social media posts.

Since your nonprofit website is the go-to source for information about your organization, be sure to include details about your campaign there, as well. Write about the purpose of your fundraiser, including information about events and goals throughout the campaign. Make sure your crowdfunding page is clearly linked from your site, too.

5. Promote your campaign.

Once you’ve announced your fundraiser and have begun accepting donations, you’ll need to market your campaign to get your audience giving. Drive engagement by posting your campaign on all social media platforms, reaching out to people already associated with your organization, and encouraging people to tell their friends.

Plus, be sure to tell your existing supporters about the campaign and encourage them to get involved⁠—whether by contributing themselves or sharing the link online!

6. Update your supporters.

Keep your supporters updated regularly, so they stay invested in your crowdfunding campaign⁠—and your overall cause. Donors will appreciate updates on your work, and others in your network may feel increasingly motivated to give after seeing a progress report.

For example, providing followers with the exact amount of funding raised can illustrate the power of someone’s donation. This is especially true as you approach your goal and need only a few more donations to reach it.

How do you market a crowdfunding campaign?

After building the framework of your crowdfunding initiative, your top priority should be marketing your campaign.

Ultimately, crowdfunding efforts depend on effective communication to spread the word about your ongoing fundraiser. Without strategic promotions, your audience won’t know how to contribute to your campaign⁠—or even that you’re hosting a campaign in the first place.

Try these recommended tools and methods for reaching out to your target audience and highlighting your crowdfunding fundraiser:

  • Social media: Introduce your campaign on social media to capitalize on the sharing power of the platform. Publish content across your platforms and use tools that allow users to link to giving pages on their profiles. Consider posting at key points of the day when social media traffic is high, and use a hashtag to increase visibility and engagement.
  • Email: Supplement your social media promotions with direct email blasts about your campaign and upcoming deadlines. However, you’ll likely want to use email to support your promotions rather than as a primary source of marketing efforts when it comes to crowdfunding.
  • Gatherings: Host small gatherings throughout your campaign. You might celebrate with a launch party, midpoint gathering, and final celebration. For in-person events, a donation station with a laptop or tablet displaying the campaign can encourage donations. Plus, displaying a QR code that leads to your giving page can go a long way!
  • Giving incentives: Offer donors something small in return for donations. Encourage larger gifts by offering a big prize once an overall goal is achieved.
  • Peer-to-peer: Incorporate peer-to-peer tactics to encourage supporters to share your crowdfunding page. When your campaign is complete, leverage the powerful network you’ve created to launch a future social fundraiser.

No matter how you choose to get the word out, your primary focus should be expanding your outreach and keeping donors connected.

What are some crowdfunding best practices for success?

Optimize your campaign! Check out these tried-and-true fundraising tips to bring your nonprofit’s crowdfunding efforts to the next level.

Perfect your pitch. When fundraising for a nonprofit, it’s essential to perfect your pitch. Be sure to write an engaging and honest story explaining the scope of the organization’s cause and its impact on the community. Avoid information overload, but include the two most important topics: your nonprofit and the cause it supports. Plus, incorporating testimonials from those affected by your organization can help donors understand the impact they can make.

Give a glimpse. Adding photos and videos to your crowdfunding campaign can help donors understand the organization’s cause and connect with it on a personal level. Showcasing a positive outlook and determination can encourage donors to support the cause. It’s important to attach a face to the cause so donors can make a deeper connection with your nonprofit’s mission.

Extend your reach. Consider reaching out to local businesses and organizations that may be interested in partnering to support your nonprofit crowdfunding campaign. Ask if they would consider matching donations with a one-off matching gift program or perhaps donating space to host a fundraising event.

Make the most of workplace giving. Workplace giving programs are a key form of corporate philanthropy that you don’t want to overlook. Employee matching gifts are one of the most popular examples⁠—which we’ll explore further below⁠—but it can also include efforts such as volunteer grants, employee giving stipends, in-kind donations, and more. Keep in mind that your supporters can be some of your biggest advocates when it comes to workplace giving, so encourage donors to look into the kinds of programs that their employers offer!

How do crowdfunding and matching gifts work together?

Corporate matching gifts can be one of the most effective ways to amplify the impact of your crowdfunding campaign and bring your overall fundraising to new heights.

According to recent matching gift research, more than 26 million individuals work for companies that match employee gifts to charitable causes. And the availability (and knowledge) of corporate matching results in increased donor conversion rates and larger donation amounts.

In fact, 84% of survey participants say they’re more likely to donate if a match is offered, and 1 in 3 donors would give a larger gift if matching is applied to their donation. All in all, this leads to a 71% increase in response rate and a 51% increase in average gift size when donation matching is offered.

Increase crowdfunding results with matching gifts.

So if you want to maximize giving for your upcoming crowdfunding campaign, make sure you don’t overlook the opportunities presented by matching gifts. We recommend:

  • Promoting matching gift information to donors (many qualifying employees have no idea that their companies offer such programs);
  • Collecting donor employment data to uncover eligible matching gifts;
  • Following up with donors after they give to provide company-specific match program guidelines and next steps;
  • Leveraging a crowdfunding platform that integrates with the leading matching gift software provider, Double the Donation.

The simpler you make matching gifts for your donors, the more likely they are to participate. And as a result, the more your crowdfunding efforts will benefit!

Final Thoughts

Crowdfunding is a powerful tool that can help nonprofits raise funds and awareness for their various causes. By integrating the reach of social media and the convenience of online giving, nonprofits can tap into a widespread and diverse donor base to drive support.

In order to maximize giving, it’s important to note that many companies offer matching gift programs, which can double or even triple the impact of a donor’s contribution to your efforts. Take the time to educate and promote the opportunities to supporters, and see how donation-matching can bring your next crowdfunding campaign to new heights.

Keep learning! Browse these additional recommended resources to dive deeper into top nonprofit fundraising practices:

  • Nonprofit Basics – Learn more about nonprofit management essentials by exploring our other expert resources. This includes handy guides on topics like cause marketing, Google Ad grants, corporate sponsorships, and graphic design.
  • Digital Marketing – Understand the basics of digital marketing for nonprofits with this fundamental overview. Explore key components of nonprofit digital marketing, what makes mission-driven marketing unique, and more.
  • A Crowdfunding Guide – Check out more crowdfunding best practices to set your organization up for maximal success. Read this guide to nonprofit crowdfunding and starting your own crowdfunding campaign.

Bring your crowdfunding to new heights with matching gifts.

Comparing crowdfunding websites can help you narrow down your options and choose the best platform for your needs.

Comparing Crowdfunding Websites: 5 Sites Rated and Reviewed

Comparing Crowdfunding Websites: 5 Platforms Rated and Reviewed

If you’re searching for a crowdfunding campaign, you’ve probably encountered several popular options that might be a great fit for your cause, project, or expense.

But, how do you know which one offers exactly what you need?

Comparing multiple crowdfunding platforms to determine which one best fits your needs can take a lot of time and effort.

Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you! With this guide, we’ll compare 5 popular crowdfunding websites:

  • Bonfire is a t-shirt fundraising platform that’s designed for individual fundraisers and organizations looking to spread awareness about their causes with custom apparel.
  • Fundly is a crowdfunding website that is suitable for both individuals and organizations. You can fundraise for practically any cause with a Fundly campaign.
  • GoFundMe is a crowdfunding platform created for personal fundraising, which means that individuals can create an account and raise money for medical costs, charities, and other projects.
  • Kickstarter was created to help creative individuals realize their dreams. If you have an artistic project you need money for, you can start your campaign on Kickstarter.
  • Indiegogo can be used by individuals and companies looking to raise money for a product or creative project.

When comparing each platform, it’s important to consider the overall platform and what type of crowdfunding they allow.

Here are the 3 categories we’ll cover: 

  1. Crowdfunding Type
  2. Pricing
  3. Features

Stick around till the end to see our top picks for the best overall crowdfunding websites or jump to our favorites now. 

1. Crowdfunding Type

While all 5 of the crowdfunding websites are wildly popular, each one is slightly different in the types of causes or projects it supports and how and when fundraisers receive their donations. We’ll look at each crowdfunding platform to help you decide which one is best for your needs.

What campaigns are the websites designed for?

First, you’ll want to consider what platform caters to your campaign. In other words: some crowdfunding websites are open to all types of fundraising while others are only open to specific categories.

As we mentioned earlier, Bonfire, Fundly, and GoFundMe cater to individuals who want to raise money for any cause (Bonfire and Fundly are unique in the fact that they cater to organizations as well). In contrast, Kickstarter and Indiegogo are targeted specifically for creative projects—such as music, art, and technology—and don’t allow any type of charitable campaign.

With that said, if you’re a nonprofit looking to fundraise, Bonfire and Fundly are your best options as both individuals and organizations can raise money using their platform.

Is the platform all-or-nothing or keep-it-all?

Crowdfunding platforms also have different requirements on when and how campaign creators receive donations.

For instance, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing crowdfunding website, which means that creators only receive donations if their goals are met.

With an all-or-nothing campaign, creators only get to receive funds after the campaign is over, and only if they’ve reached their goals.  This approach, however, does have its benefits.

For one, supporters are more motivated to share and contribute to your campaign so that your project is realized. Plus, it ensures that projects get all the funds they need so they can produce a complete product.

Alternatively, crowdfunding websites like Bonfire, Fundly, and GoFundMe follow the keep-it-all approach where creators keep all the money they raise. That means that campaign creators don’t have to meet a goal requirement or deadline to keep their donations.

This approach is desirable for both nonprofits and individuals because every donation can make a difference to your cause or life event.

There are even some sites like Indiegogo that give creators the option to choose the keep-it-all or the all-or-nothing model.

2. Pricing

While it’s free to set up a campaign on most crowdfunding websites, campaign creators are charged two different fees if they receive funds: the platform fee and the payment processing fee.

The platform fee is charged when the campaign creator collects their donations and is a percentage of the total funds raised.

Charging a platform fee is how crowdfunding websites make money. With that money, the crowdfunding website can create better features, improve the support team, and so much more. 

Platform fees usually range from 4-5%. When comparing crowdfunding websites, Bonfire charges the lowest out of all of the ones listed. There aren’t any platform fees. The only fee they ever collect is an 8% processing fee per additional donation (reduced to an incredible 3.5% for verified nonprofits). Fundly has the next lowest platform fee of 4.9%. GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Indiegogo all charge a 5% platform fee.

In addition to the platform fee, campaign creators will have to pay a payment processing fee which goes to the payment processor.

The payment processor makes it possible for your crowdfunding campaign to accept online donations by verifying the payment method and transferring the funds from the donor’s account to your account.

Payment processing fees will vary depending on what processor your crowdfunding website works with.

Generally, the payment processing fee is a percentage of the total funds raised plus an amount per donation.

No matter why you’re fundraising, understanding what costs are going to be deducted for your total donations will help you determine your fundraising goal. Choose a website that has a lower platform fee so that you keep the most funds.

3. Features

Another important component of a crowdfunding website is its features. Different capabilities will allow you to share your campaign and optimize your fundraising page so that more people can find your cause.

While there are several features that can enhance your crowdfunding page, we’ll focus on crowdfunding perks, social integrations, and customization.

Crowdfunding perks

If you’re not familiar with the term, crowdfunding perks allow you to give donors gifts in return for their donations.

Perks like t-shirts, coffee mugs, backpacks, and so much more can motivate donors to give to your campaign. Merchandise platforms like Bonfire make it incredibly easy to combine branded merchandise with your campaigns, eliminating the need to order your merch and then sell it on a separate platform.

Alternatively, you can choose a more generic crowdfunding platform and set giving levels. Then, you can promise specific gifts in exchange for set donation amounts. For example, you might offer a mug for a gift of $15 and a t-shirt for a gift of $30. By providing giving levels, donors don’t have to guess how much to give; they can pick whichever giving level they’re comfortable with and receive a gift in return.

Giving levels have their advantages, but they won’t work for every cause, project, or expense. Campaigns for sports teams, creative projects, and charities will likely benefit from offering perks.

With that said, some platforms like Kickstarter require you to offer perks. Choosing Fundly, GoFundMe, or Indiegogo means that you’ll have the option to add perks if you think it will benefit your campaign.

Social media integrations

Social media can help leverage your campaign so that you can reach even more potential donors.

To do this, you need to find a crowdfunding website that offers a full suite of social sharing capabilities—not just social sharing buttons!

All 5 fundraising websites have social sharing buttons that allow donors to share your page on Facebook and Twitter, and they allow you to post crowdfunding updates to your page.

Fundly is unique because you can place a Twitter and Instagram feed on your fundraising page that tracks any posts with a specific hashtag. If you’re crowdfunding, you can create a hashtag for your campaign and supporters can follow all the content posted with that hashtag on your Fundly page.


Customizing your crowdfunding page is especially important if you’re a nonprofit or business trying to maintain a consistent brand, but it can be just as relevant to individuals who want to make their page stand out.

All the websites let you add images and videos and write a crowdfunding description, but some of the platforms have more customization. 

On Kickstarter and Indiegogo, creators don’t have the freedom to adjust the color scheme or layout of the page. While on GoFundMe, users can change the color of some of the page features to match their brands.

Similarly, Bonfire enables fundraisers to create online stores that feature all their custom products in one central location. They can customize the page with images and details regarding their cause.

On the other hand, Fundly allows you to customize the colors and background of your page. Plus, creators can upload a logo to further brand the page.

Bonus: Our Recommendations

Now that we’ve compared 5 of the top crowdfunding websites, you should have an idea of which site will work best for your project, cause, or expense.

If you’re still not sure which one to choose we picked our favorite platforms to recommend to you!


Bonfire is the industry leader in custom merchandise fundraising. Whether you’re an individual fundraiser or part of an organization, custom products are a fantastic way to boost your revenue while spreading awareness about a worthwhile cause.

Bonfire’s quality merchandise comes in a range of colors and styles. Design your own t-shirts, hats, mugs, and more with your organization’s logo as well as thousands of free graphics and fonts. Launch your campaign, and Bonfire handles the rest. They’ll process payments and ship orders directly to your buyers, freeing up your time so that you can focus on selling your merchandise.


We recommend Fundly if you’re fundraising for a charity or personal cause. Not only is Fundly one of the lowest costing websites to use, but the platform also comes with a whole host of awesome (and effective!) features.

Fundly understands that personalizing your page helps increase your chances of success. That’s why their fundraising pages are fully customizable. If you ever run into any challenges, Fundly’s support team is ready to help resolve your problems so that you can get right back to fundraising.


Indiegogo is a flexible crowdfunding website with plenty of useful features, making it our top recommendation for creative projects. Instead of accepting a wide range of fundraising categories, Indiegogo focuses on catering to artistic entrepreneurs.

Since campaign creators have the option to add perks and can decide what type of campaign they want to host (all-or-nothing or keep-it-all), you’ll have full autonomy over how your fundraiser is structured.

Hopefully, this crowdfunding websites comparison guide has helped you decide what crowdfunding platform to choose.

If you want more help planning your crowdfunding campaign, check out these additional resources to get started: 

  1. Crowdfunding for Individuals. Are you looking for ways to raise money for a personal expense or life-event? Check out this comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about crowdfunding.
  2. Fundly’s Crowdfunding Success Stories. Looking at crowdfunding examples is a great way to get inspiration on how to build your own campaign. Fundly has a list of 7 crowdfunding campaigns that met their goals.
  3. Full List of Fundraising Ideas. Combine your crowdfunding campaign with a fundraising event to raise even more funds for your cause. Get our list of over 100 ideas that go great with crowdfunding.

Discover Fundly reviews from users on 4 top review websites.

Fundly Reviews: Testimonials from Nonprofits and Individuals

Looking for an easy way to raise funds online? Learn more about Fundly’s quick and easy crowdfunding platform.

Fundly Reviews: Testimonials from Nonprofits and Individuals

If you’re familiar with crowdfunding then you’ve probably heard of Fundly, a crowdfunding website for individuals and nonprofits alike.

Since its launch 6 years ago, Fundly has raised over $330 million to support causes and projects of any kind. Organizations can connect their page with their social media accounts and email contents to spread the word. With an easy-to-use platform, users can create a campaign in a matter of minutes.

Fundly has many more fantastic features—and it’s no surprise that we ranked them number 1 in our best crowdfunding websites for individuals.

But, don’t just take our word for it! See how Fundly ranks on these top 4 review sites:

  1. Best Company
  2. CrowdsUnite
  3. Card Payment Options
  4. Software Advice

Let’s get right into the reviews!

1. Fundly Reviews from Best Company


Best Company gave Fundly a score of 8.2 and ranked it number 3 out of 23 crowdfunding websites.

What Best Company Had to Say:

Overall Best Company was pleased with the pricing and keep-it-all approach that Fundly’s crowdfunding platform uses. The review site also appreciated that Fundly doesn’t require any deadlines or minimum amount to receive funds. Users can withdraw donations at any time without it affecting their fundraising thermometer.

Here’s what the main review says:

There is no maximum amount you’re allowed to raise on Fundly. There also is no minimum amount to raise in order to keep your funds like on some crowdfunding websites. Users can focus on their cause and getting donations for whatever amount they need without limitations.

2. Fundly Reviews From CrowdsUnite


Based on the CrowdsUnite reviews, Fundly has an overall score of 7.4 with high rankings in customer support and ease of use.

What Reviewers on CrowdsUnite Had to Say:

Many of the users gave Fundly high rankings for ease of use.

Here’s what Sara Court had to say:

It’s very easy to navigate, and you don’t have to have a lot of html understanding or experience to set everything up.

Other users were really satisfied with the level of customization and resources that Fundly offers its campaign creators.

The user Elena posted this review:

There are lots of editable features, pictures, videos, and text can be added. Blog posts can be done and there are ready-made thank-you emails that can be used if desired.

3. Fundly Reviews From Card Payment Options


Card Payment Options gave Fundly an “A” in the overall ranking and a combined 4.5/5 score in the sales and marketing, costs and contract, customer service, and BBB rating categories.

What Card Payment Options Had to Say:

The Card Payment Options list key points that make Fundly’s crowdfunding platform a great option. With benefits like low start up fees and very few complaints, this review site had very positive things to say about Fundly.

Here is what Card Payment Options had to say about Fundly’s service:

There aren’t any negative Fundly reviews on the usual consumer protection forums, and there is no indication that the service rips off its users. In fact, reviews of Fundly are generally positive, as nonprofit organizations praise its robust functionality and ease of use.

4. Fundly Reviews From Software Advice


Based on the reviews on Software Advice, Fundly has a 4 out of 5-star ranking.

What Users on Software Advice Had to Say:

Many of the reviews on Software Advice were happy with how simple and quick it is to create a campaign on Fundly.

Here’s what John from Calvary Temple had to say:

It was easy and nice to work with. The process was simple and everyone there responded quickly. It was very simple to raise money for a good cause.

One reviewer liked how Fundly has a whole suite of features that make it perfect for all your fundraising needs.

Steven from Race for Kids said:

There is nothing like Fundly. Everything is all in one package for any of your fundraising needs. Our nonprofit, Race for Kids, solely uses Fundly for everything. We love it!

As you can see, many users find Fundly’s platform easy to use and comprehensive enough to cover all their fundraising needs. With low costs and a responsive support team, individuals and nonprofits can use Fundly to raise money for virtually any reason.

Discover more about crowdfunding with these additional resources: 

  1. Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding. Before you launch your campaign, check out Fundly’s complete guide to crowdfunding. You’ll find information on how to create your page, share your campaign, and so much more!
  2. Fundly vs. GoFundMe vs. Kickstarter vs. Indiegogo. By comparing the type, cost, and features of 4 popular crowdfunding websites, we hope to help you decide on a platform that matches all your needs.
  3. Fundly Crowdfunding Campaign Examples. Did these raving Fundly reviews inspire you to start an online fundraiser? Check out 10 campaigns that meet or exceeded their goals before you start your own.