In the broadest sense, crowdsourcing is all about engaging a group of people to help achieve a common goal.
Some examples include helping to defray the cost of an upcoming surgery or ensuring that your wedding day is truly special. These are both great goals that community members and loved ones can rally around.
Crowdsourcing can be used to fund goals of many different sizes. Indeed, crowdsourcing is said to collectively be a $100-billion industry, but it is perfect for funding your charitable projects too!
Already, you can probably envision the benefits of crowdsourcing for your charitable foundation...and a few of the pitfalls. Try to think of this option as a supplement to your traditional fundraising efforts; another tool in your belt. Let's take a look at how your nonprofit can benefit!
Why Crowdfunding is a Worthwhile Effort
1) Little to No Startup Costs
The most notable advantage that crowdsourcing enjoys over traditional fundraising is that crowdsourcing is online. Traditional fundraising, by contrast, is done mostly offline. You can get your campaign started with little to no money, as opposed to the cost it takes to invest in supplies and advertising that a traditional fundraiser would demand.
2) Reaching the Individual Instead of the Organization
Another big difference between crowdsourcing and traditional fundraising tactics, like grant writing, is the fact that crowdsourcing comes mainly from inspired individuals, whereas fundraising can come from institutions like banks and corporations. If you spend 20 hours writing a grant, you'll either be approved or not approved for the funds.
By crowdsourcing, you may not reach 1,000 people, but you might get donations from 100, making your efforts have some return on investment. One fundraising effort doesn't replace the other, but you should be casting a wide net to engage anyone who has a heart for your cause.
3) Engage Recurring Supporters
If you throw a gala or event for supporters to raise awareness, most funds will come in one time as a result of that effort. While this is certainly a good thing, your supporters will be waiting for another event to give again! With crowdfunding, you can use the power of digital media to continually inspire and motivate your community to give without hosting physical events to push giving.
A heartfelt video update or some photos can often cause your community to give again just by seeing their previous donations making a difference! Crowdsourcing offers this unique benefit that in-person fundraising just can't compete with.
Mistakes Crowdsourcers Often Make
With all that said, there are a few pitfalls that you can run into while crowdsourcing. These pitfalls, or missteps if you will, basically stem from a few wrong assumptions about what this platform can accomplish. Let's understand these.
Sharing Unclear Goals
The first thing that you're going to want to do with crowdsourcing for your charitable foundation is to set reasonable fundraising goals. Raising millions of dollars in the span of a few days is probably an unrealistic benchmark unless you're running a major presidential campaign (looking at you, Bernie)!
Clarify the exact costs of whatever it is that you're trying to crowdsource. Then, determine how much of that cost that you want to defray.
An example: You're crowdsourcing a new van for transportation of charity supplies. The vehicle costs $30,000 after purchase fees.
You'd like to see about crowdsourcing 2/3 of that over two months. Therefore, you're going to make your crowdsourcing goal $20,000 over two months, or sixty days. Goals keep your crowdsourcing efforts in focus as you would want for any fundraising strategy, so take the same steps!
Assuming a Cash Windfall
For some reason, groups assume that because everything is online they can simply post a crowdsourcing video and suddenly it will "go viral," being shared like wildfire without any more effort required.
The truth is that - while online crowdsourcing is a more direct way to reach your community - you might need to proactively network and "rally the troops" from time to time.
With online crowdsourcing you have the ability to market your campaign to key supporters, but it will take constant monitoring and content creation to keep people engaged in their giving.
dreamOway Brings It All Together
dreamOway is a social crowdsourcing app that makes it easy to introduce your campaign, create and post videos, and network your campaign for everyone to see and hopefully contribute to.
The dreamOway app lets you share your stories and post your videos to the app and forge relationships with visionary supporters on the app.
Everything is in one place to make it super convenient and transform your dreams into reality. dreamOway is ready to help you with crowdsourcing your startup charitable foundation. The platform has all the tools to get you on track to get the funding to start helping others. For more information, check out our blog or download the app on iOS or Android.