Like all things entrepreneurial, crowdfunding has its legends. Most of the time the stories run like this: So-and-so small business owner wanted to raise $3,000 to help fund his new business idea and people liked it so much he raised $50,000. Obviously, those success stories are rare, but it is possible to raise money by crowdfunding. Research firm Massolution estimates that individuals have raised $5.1 billion on crowdfunding sites this year, and that’s nearly twice as much as in 2012. Is the same success possible for nonprofits?

According to, a website created by the founder of Craigslist to support charitable organizations, crowdfunding does work for teams looking for nonprofit donations:

  • The average donation to nonprofit crowdfunding sites = $88
  • The average amount raised when groups are working on a team to fundraise = $9,237
  • The number of donors that are repeat donors = 28 percent

Most crowdfunding websites handle both for-profits and nonprofits and take a percentage of the donations you raise. Indiegogo charges significantly less for nonprofits; Crowdrise has a free basic account you can upgrade for a monthly fee. Check out what the costs are for processing payments. If you want to use crowdfunding sites to register attendees for a charity event, you’ll also pay a fee depending on traffic. FirstGiving is tailored for nonprofits and charges $500 for an entire year.

To ensure success, make sure you market your crowdfunding page on all your social media platforms on a regular basis. Regularly update the amount raised and encourage donors to donate more than once. It’s a good idea to get close peers and friends to donate right away so your page isn’t stuck at zero for very long. And finally, be sure to check your page for any questions or feedback so donors can get the information they need before they give.

About the Author(s)

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship and

CEO, GrowBiz Media