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8 Crowdfunding Campaign Ideas for Nonprofits (That Work!)


Crowdfunding is one of the fastest growing and most impactful fundraising methods that nonprofits turn to every day, and it’s not difficult to see why. With nonprofit crowdfunding, your organization can leverage the power of your supporters’ personal networks to reach your fundraising goals. In addition to fundraising, crowdfunding also spreads the word about your organization’s mission. If your nonprofit is ready to rock a crowdfunding campaign, then check out some of these nonprofit crowdfunding ideas.


BONUS: Download our free Crowdfunding Campaign Plan Playbook for a comprehensive checklist and planner you can follow to develop an effective program.

1. Auction Off Your Supporters’ Services

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One simple way to involve your existing base of supporters in your crowdfunding campaign is to have them offer their services to the highest bidding donors. They might pledge their professional services or offer a sought-after talent to the public.

Not only does a charity auction like this empower your supporters to step outside of the box to raise money for your cause, but it also is an extremely low-cost way to reward donors for their gifts.

Your nonprofit can hold an in-person auction for a fundraising event, or you may hold a rolling auction on your website and social media platforms to engage with potential donors at their convenience.

Interested in holding an auction as part of your crowdfunding campaign? Check out some of these ideas for charity auction items for additional ways your team can raise money during your campaign.

2. Hold a Wacky Wager Competition

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When you’re crowdfunding, it never hurts to get a little silly. Consider holding a wacky wager with donors as a fun way to engage supporters. For this strategy, representatives of your organization will partake in goofy challenges or “punishments” decided on by your supporters.

Follow these tips to organize your wacky wager competition:

  • Hold a Vote – Allow supporters to vote on ideas for your wacky wager by donating. The more votes an idea gets, the more money your nonprofit raises.
  • Tip the Scales – Let donors vote more than once and count every dollar as one vote. This encourages donors to give larger gifts as well as to continue giving over time.
  • Mobilize Your Team – Have your staff, volunteers, and even board members commit to carrying out the challenges chosen by your donors.

Silly activities like these are a great way to bring some fun into the crowdfunding process as well as foster camaraderie among your supporters. The funnier the challenges, the better! If you strike comedy gold, your crowdfunding campaign is even more likely to go viral and reach new donors.

3. Promote Matching Gifts

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A matching gift is a donation by a corporation or company that matches their employees’ donation to an eligible nonprofit organization. The percentage of matching varies depending on the program, but the most common is dollar for dollar.

Simplify your matching program with these best practices:

  • Embed a matching gift tool into your nonprofit’s donation forms
  • Brand the matching gift tool to your nonprofit
  • Endorse matching gifts across your social media platforms and website

Don’t leave money on the table! Employer matched gifts are basically free money for your crowdfunding campaign. Make the process of getting a gift matched as simple as possible for your supporters.

Want to learn more about matching gifts? Visit DonorSearch for an in-depth look at how your nonprofit can leverage the power of employer matching gift programs to maximize your donors’ giving potential.

With MobileCause, fundraisers can create their own personalized donation page with a unique call-to-action
and fundraising goal to share via their personal networks. Learn more by requesting a demo. 

4. Host a Live Event

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Many crowdfunding campaigns are anchored around a motivating on-site event that rallies supporters for your cause. Fundraising runs and walks are some of the most common events that get tied in with crowdfunding campaigns, and for good reason! Others include live auctions, danceathons, galas, fashion and fashion shows.

Follow these tips for a successful crowdfunding event: 

  • Sell Tickets – In addition to accepting pledges, sell tickets to the run or walk itself to boost donations. More challenging events such as marathons will have higher spectator turnout.
  • Enable Giving During the Event – During the event allow supporters to continue donating through mobile giving options such as text-to-donate tools or on-site card donations.
  • Utilize Facebook/Instagram Live – Facebook Live allows users, including people, pages and public figures, to share live video with their friends and followers. Similarly, Instagram Live is a feature on Instagram Stories that allows you to stream video to followers and engage with them in real time. Nonprofits can utilize both to engage with non-attendees. For Facebook Live fundraising best practices click here.

For more crowdfunding event ideas click here, 70+ Proven Fundraising Event Ideas for Nonprofits.

5. Create a Crowdfunding Challenge Video

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Have you ever heard of the ice bucket challenge? Four years ago the ALS association (ALSA) created the crowdfunding challenge video to encourage donations for researching amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also know as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Be sure to choose a challenge that is memorable and has something to do with your mission. If you’re an animal advocacy organization, for instance, you might challenge supporters to wear dog ears in public for the day. To get started, film videos of your staff, volunteers, or board participating in a challenge of your choice. Challenge videos are a great brand building technique and once the public gets in on the challenge, your campaign can spread like wildfire.

6. Incorporate Swag, Prizes & Other Rewards

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Sometimes, donors need a little push before making their gift to your nonprofit. During your nonprofit crowdfunding campaign, a simple way to motivate supporters is by offering small rewards to them after they donate.

When creating donation rewards, keep these ideas in mind:

  • Ask your corporate partners to provide rewards to participants in exchange for branded advertising during the campaign.
  • Offer small rewards (stickers, buttons, totes) to supporters who share your campaign on their social media pages
  • Incentivize donors by varying rewards at different gift ranges and only offering a set number of each reward item

Even if the rewards are nominal, having that extra motivating factor can be the push your supporters are looking for. Even better, when their friends see these items in person, their interest in your nonprofit will be piqued.

Would you like to learn more about how MobileCause can help you set up a peer-to-peer campaign for your organization?

7. Start a Friendly Competition

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Nothing helps supporters get in on your nonprofit crowdfunding campaign more than adding a little competition into the mix. During your crowdfunding campaign, you can challenge two participants to compete to raise the most money for your cause.

Your team can incentivize these challengers by offering the winner a prize once they reach the finish line or by naming a “punishment” for the loser.

You might even hold a March Madness style competition where multiple supporters face off against one another, eliminating competitors until the two highest-earning fundraisers compete for a grand prize.

Even more fun? Organize your participants into teams. Your nonprofit can enable team crowdfunding pages and watch as different factions of your supporters go head-to-head. The more competitive they are, the more money your nonprofit raises!

8. Create Gift Guidelines

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What’s the simplest way to ensure your nonprofit reaches its crowdfunding goals? Be clear with supporters about what kinds of gifts you need to succeed.

Your team can steer supporters in the right direction by:

  • Incorporating your gift range chart into marketing materials
  • Highlighting the impact of gifts at every level throughout your marketing
  • Providing giving suggestions as buttons on your online donation forms

During your nonprofit’s next crowdfunding campaign, make sure your online giving pages feature these useful tools!

Happy fundraising!

Kristina Brunnler
Marketing Manager



Our goal at MobileCause is to help nonprofit organizations create and manage successful digital fundraising campaigns, raise more money and retain donors longer. Request a free demo with one of our fundraising experts to learn, step by step, how MobileCause can simply help set up your campaigns while transforming your results.

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