What’s more important in crowdfunding: the crowd or the funding? Yes, it’s a strange question, but one that is not asked often enough. To many people, it’s about the funds. At HIPGive we also value the crowd because crowdfunding is about more than just the money.
At a recent convening on crowdfunding hosted by the Ford Foundation, Crowdrise Founder Edward Norton suggested that the potential of crowdfunding to build the capacity of organizations lacking fundraising resources or experience is just as useful (if not more useful) than the money raised.
Benefit 1: Driving inclusive philanthropy
When you think of the word “philanthropist,” who comes to mind? The increasing elitism of philanthropy is worrying for many reasons, including the growing feeling among middle- and lower-income citizens that their contribution won’t make a difference.
Crowdfunding provides opportunities for everyone to become a philanthropist. Many campaigns encourage donations of as little as $5 or $10, creative communications strategies widen visibility among new audiences and great crowdfunders are experts in showing how each contribution—and contributor—is valued. In short, there is no better way to attract new donors to your cause.
Benefit 2: Recruiting campaigners and volunteers
As well as requesting financial support, a crowdfunding campaign is a golden opportunity to share key messages about your cause. Increasingly, many organizations are not measuring campaigns solely on the basis of donations, but also on their ability to draw in new supporters and re-energize existing ones.
“Crowdfunding… presents a significant untapped potential for charities, social entrepreneurs, and community groups to raise more money, experiment with new ways of addressing local and social challenges, and getting more people involved in campaigning and volunteering.”
Peter Baeck, Head of Collaborative Economy Research at Nesta
Benefit 3: Building communities
As your organization strengthens its digital marketing skills, it will be better positioned to build relationships online. Sharing updates on the project, encouraging comments and questions, enabling donors to share their “giving stories” and engage in peer-to-peer fundraising will mean that your organization won’t stand alone—it will have a community of caring, empowered individuals who will take action for you and with you to build positive social change.
Crowdfunding is about more than just the money. An investment in your digital engagement capacity is a sound investment in the future of your organization.
At HIPGive we believe in building more effective and equitable crowdfunding. We are active participants in AFICO México (Asociación de Plataformas de Fondeo Colectivo), have participated in a “Money from the Many” initiative facilitated by the Ford Foundation, and in partnership with high-profile philanthropic foundations continue our strong capacity-building program for nonprofits across the Americas. You can read more in this article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review: How to Make Crowdfunding More Inclusive.