More than $5 billion was given via crowdfunding in the last year, and it's growing even more this year. Crowdfunding—funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large group of people—is disrupting how donors want to give and shifting their preferences fundamentally. As a nonprofit, you have to change your approach to online fundraising just to keep up.

Unfortunately, many nonprofits are ill-equipped with the right tools to plan a crowdfunding campaign. It's different than traditional forms of nonprofit fundraising and requires a shift in approach. That is where digital marketing comes into play.

To plan an effective nonprofit crowdfunding campaign, you need the following.

1. Brand advocates

Savvy marketers know that they can reap huge rewards by cultivating brand advocates. Brand advocates amplify your reach, drive word of mouth, and get products sold.

As a nonprofit, you can get those same benefits of having brand advocates by creating a tribe of champions. Instead of targeting grants and major donors, look to create a community of individuals and organizations that are excited about your cause.

Typically, your nonprofit tribe can categorize into three segments.

  • Promoters: People that will share your crowdfunding campaign via email and social media. They're your megaphones; think of them as your own publicity team.
  • Fundraisers: People that will create a mini-crowdfunding campaign via peer-to-peer fundraising. They'll ask for donations from their friends and family on your behalf.
  • Donors: People that will pledge to give money to your campaign.

Your brand advocates are the marketing engine behind your nonprofit crowdfunding campaign. It'll be hard for you to get traction without their help.

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image of Rob Wu

Rob Wu is a founder at CauseVox, an innovative online fundraising platform that empowers non-profits.

Twitter: @robjwu

LinkedIn: Rob Wu