5 Crowdfunding Trends That Are Here to Stay

— March 14, 2017

In the past few years alone, crowdfunding campaigns that range from awe-inspiring to absolutely hilarious (think: the infamous potato salad campaign) have taken the fundraising world by storm.

Somewhere along the way, crowdfunding has become a staple strategy for individual fundraisers and nonprofit organizations alike.

As the crowdfunding industry grows and more fundraisers find innovative ways to reinvent the genre, it’s important to spot the trends that have led to the most lucrative fundraising results.

Here, we’ll talk through a few of those trends and even show you how to incorporate these ideas into your next crowdfunding endeavor.

1. Diverse Crowdfunding Platforms

Historically, it hasn’t been so important where a fundraiser launched their crowdfunding campaign.

After all, most crowdfunding websites were equipped with the same basic functionality and only had a little variation in tools and features.

However, as crowdfunding has become more widely used, new, diverse platforms have emerged to fit the very specific needs of many different types of campaigns.

While sites like GoFundMe or Kickstarter might receive a bulk of the hype surrounding crowdfunding, there is actually a wide variety of crowdfunding platforms available. Now more than ever, crowdfunders can choose the platform that’s most beneficial to their campaign.

For example, a tech innovator or designer might find their home on Indiegogo, where they can easily sell their crowdfunded products in a creative marketplace. Meanwhile, a nonprofit raising money for a charitable cause might find a site like Fundly more advantageous, with its comprehensive feature set and suite of services.

As more and more niche platforms find their audience, it’s imperative that fundraisers make the right choice for where they house their crowdfunding campaign.

Crowdfunding Platforms

The selection process might seem arduous with so many sites to select from, but really, your search should start with just a few basic questions, such as:

  • What am I fundraising for—a project, cause, person, product, or something else?
  • Do I want a fundraising deadline or an open-ended campaign?
  • Am I fundraising as an individual or part of an organization?
  • Will I provide perks or incentives to my donors?
  • What level of customization does my campaign page require?
  • Will I need to fulfill orders or rewards once my project or product is completed?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be able to narrow your search and determine a crowdfunding website that can most effectively help you meet your fundraising needs.

To jump start your search for the perfect platform, take a look at this list of the best crowdfunding platforms.

So, what’s the point?

There are more crowdfunding services than ever before. In order to raise the most money for your campaign, you should assess your needs and find the platform that works best for you.

2. Nonprofit Crowdfunding Campaigns

When you think of crowdfunding campaigns, you probably picture an individual raising money for a personal project or cause. While it’s true that crowdfunding has traditionally been a solo sport, that’s no longer the case.

In fact, more and more organizations, teams, businesses, schools, and other groups have been making crowdfunding work for them—and raising a lot of money in the process.

In particular, nonprofits have found a way to use crowdfunding to take their fundraising campaigns to new heights.

Essentially, nonprofit crowdfunding works like this: a charitable organization selects a short-term, specific project to raise money for. The organization sets up a crowdfunding page just like an individual would, but they may also incorporate peer-to-peer fundraising tools, which enable their supporters to set up their own campaign pages as well.

With a number of popular crowdfunding sites geared specifically toward nonprofits, it’s easier than ever for a charitable organization to meet their fundraising goals through crowdfunding.

Some of the greatest benefits of nonprofit crowdfunding include:

  • Expanded social reach. Since social media plays such a major part in the success of a crowdfunding campaign, launching such a fundraiser can help a nonprofit organization capitalize on its existing social following while attracting a host of new donors.

  • High speed fundraising. Crowdfunding campaigns are known for being short and sweet—most campaigns only last around 2 months! Because most crowdfunding campaigns operate under a deadline, there’s more incentive for donors to make their donations on the spot.

  • Low-risk giving. Nonprofits traditionally rely on a small number of large gifts to meet their fundraising goals. Crowdfunding, on the other hand, makes small gifts the priority. Because there’s less pressure to make a major donation, nonprofits are able to attract a lot of new supporters in a low-risk way.

So, what’s the point?

Since crowdfunding campaigns are now so flexible, nonprofit organizations can use this fundraising format to raise money for virtually any project or campaign.

3. Fully Customizable Fundraising Experiences

With all of the new crowdfunding platforms and tools available for individuals and organizations, the crowdfunding experience has shifted from one-size-fits-all to completely custom-made.

As we move into the future of crowdfunding, it’s safe to say that the fundraising process will only become more customizable, making way for campaigns that are uniquely designed and promoted.

Just a few of the ways we’ve already see this trend manifest itself include:

  • Brandable campaign pages. While each platform’s customization process will vary, gone are the days of cookie cutter campaign pages. Now, the fundraiser (or organization) should have full control over their campaign page’s look and feel, including the ability to brand the page to the product, project, or cause itself. Use your own fonts, colors, photos—originality counts!

  • Fundraising model flexibility. Kickstarter, one of the pioneers of online crowdfunding, has made its all-or-nothing funding model the centerpiece of every campaign. While fundraising under a deadline can motivate fundraisers to meet their goals, more sites are allowing fundraisers to have control over how they raise their money, choosing from either the all-or-nothing or keep-it-all fundraising model (or some combination thereof).

  • A variety of sharing options. Since crowdfunding relies on social sharing, most platforms have made it easy to promote campaigns through email, social media, and on the campaign page itself. Not only can you use these channels to promote your campaign, but you may also be able to collect donations directly on your Facebook page, on your website, or in emails.

So, what’s the point?

From fundraising goals to target audience, your campaign has very specific needs. Luckily, most crowdfunding platforms have tools that allow you to tailor your fundraising experience to make your campaign as effective as possible.

4. Crowdfunding Campaigns Paired with Events

Crowdfunding might be rooted in the digital world, but that doesn’t mean it can’t capitalize on in-person fundraising methods as well.

Events are a natural addition to crowdfunding campaigns, so it makes sense why so many fundraisers are making use of this trend.

Not only do events add a real-world component to your online fundraiser, but they also allow you to boost your fundraising potential even more than with a crowdfunding campaign alone.

Raise More Funds by Hosting Fundraiser Event

Plus, fundraising events give you a chance to interact face-to-face with supporters you may have otherwise only interacted with through a screen.

If you’re an individual fundraiser, this face time gives you a chance to thank your donors in person. If you’re a nonprofit, this personal interaction can be the foundation for a long future of giving and other types of engagement.

To make your event as memorable as possible, consider implementing one (or all) of the following ideas:

  • Pick the perfect theme. Whether it’s humorous or glamorous, your event should reflect your cause and your brand as a fundraiser or organization. From decor to invitations, create a cohesive event that works together on every level.

  • Include a variety of fundraising activities. If you truly want to maximize your fundraising potential, you’ll need to offer a number of ways for guests to engage and support your cause. Consider hosting a raffle or silent auction to bring in even more donations (and keep guests entertained all night long).

  • Simplify event registration. As crowdfunding tools become more comprehensive, some even include event registration capabilities so that fundraisers can easily plan events alongside their campaigns. Include event tickets as a donation perk or sell them for a fixed price.

When you have a fundraising event paired with your crowdfunding campaign, you’ll expand your donation opportunities and provide your donors with even more ways to show their support for your cause.

So, what’s the point?

Fundraising events can push your crowdfunding campaign to the next level and give you a chance to meet your donors offline, so consider hosting one in conjunction with the rest of your fundraising efforts.

5. Highly Visual Campaigns

Like most citizens of the internet, crowdfunding campaign supporters aren’t so much readers as they are skimmers.

That being the case, it’s no surprise that the most successful crowdfunding campaigns are the ones that are visually engaging without overwhelming their campaign page visitors.

In order to build a page that’s optimized for internet (not to mention mobile) users, you’ll have to be as visual as possible. Here’s what that looks like:

  • The right photos. You may have heard that photos are the way to turn a boring crowdfunding campaign page into a winner, but that’s not the whole story. You should (definitely) include photos, but make sure you’re being wise with which pictures you choose. For example, 1 or 2 large, high-quality photos that actually showcase your cause or project will go a lot farther than a handful of blurry selfies.

  • Impactful copy. Don’t take these guidelines the wrong way—as trendy as good visual aids may be, you still need to use your words to get your campaign’s message across. Be as concise as possible when drafting your campaign description, but don’t forget to be genuine, too. A brief explanation of what your product will do or who your mission will serve will go a long way in swaying people to donate.

  • A personal video. Did you know that campaign pages with videos raise over 100% more than pages without? A popular (and clearly effective) means of showing a personal side to your fundraiser, videos help donors get to know your project and keep them on your campaign page longer, which then leads to more donations.

Show (and tell) your donors how much of an impact your crowdfunding campaign can have on your community or cause by creating a beautiful campaign page.

So, what’s the point?

Skip the risk of boring your campaign page visitors by designing a page that’s visually appealing. Include videos, photos, graphics, and a to-the-point campaign story to capture your supporters’ attention (and their donations).

Trends may come and go, but effective, lucrative crowdfunding strategies are here to stay. Try out these trends on your next campaign!

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Author: Christopher Moore

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