In this guide, you'll learn how to redesign your nonprofit website without breaking the bank: plan and launch a crowdfunding campaign, and see examples of great nonprofits who have crowdfunded for their new website.
Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
It’s safe to say that for most nonprofit organizations, funding is
a continual effort. Nonprofits’ ability to fulfill their mission – and
ability to keep the lights on – is contingent on grants and
donation appeals, an effort made harder by difficult
In today’s environment, smart organizations are leveraging
new ways to fundraise, enabled by technology – namely,
How smart nonprofits are using crowdfunding
How to run a successful crowdfunding campaign
At its most basic level, crowdfunding enables groups of indi-
viduals to pool their resources to fund projects initiated by
other people or organizations. Crowdfunding platforms like
Indiegogo, Kickstarter or GiveForward enable people to fund
a wide range of projects like building a museum, to
creating a product, to paying for medical bills. In
2011, crowdfunding platforms raised $1.5 billion
and successfully funded more than 1 million
Every nonprofit worth its salt allows online
fundraising and has a “donate” button on its
website. But crowdfunding is different:
crowdfunding campaigns raise money for distinct
projects within a specified time frame, and with a goal of
raising a specific sum.
People give to crowdfunding campaigns not to receive a c3
donation, but to actively engage with you and your cause. In
exchange for their backing your project financially, they get
to be a part of you and your project. They also get something
fun – a perk – like a small gift or thank you. It’s an exchange
that marks the start of a new relationship with your
1 Crowdfunding: $1.5B Raised, 1M Campaigns Funded In 2011; Figures Set To Double In 2012.
2 Crowdfund Your New Website: Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
3 Crowdfund Your New Website: Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
Crowdfunding can raise funds for specific projects and goals.
There are tons of benefits, which fall into two main areas:
raising funds and building your list.
Crowdfunding can raise money for operational improvements
that grantmaking organizations won’t fund, like a new website,
without dipping into your operational budget.
It give funders something tangible and specific to fund,
instead of a general issue.
It brings a sense of urgency for the campaign, because
crowdfunding campaigns have a set time limit.
Crowdfunding allows you to build your list, by allowing people
to find your project according to topics they’re interested in,
and by leveraging social media in a new way to attract new
people to you. And you get to keep the names.
It can newly mobilize your existing list with fresh messaging.
For nonprofits with geographic fundraising restrictions, it can
reach audiences outside your geographic area, without you
actively communicating to them.
Crowdfunding campaigns allow supporters to follow
your success throughout the campaign, build a
relationship with the organization, and
continue to support your work beyond the
For nonprofit organizations, crowdfunding
pays dividends far beyond the actual dollar
4 Crowdfund Your New Website: Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
5 Crowdfund Your New Website: Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
Your website is a perfect opportunity to crowdfund. It’s a great
way to not only reach new donors, but to invest in one of the
most important parts of your organization.
Websites need to be refreshed every two years to keep
up with the growing needs of your organization,
design and functionality trends, and the online
browsing behavior of your audience. Because
of this, your website is a continual work in
Additionally, your website is your most visible
public asset. Most people may never interact
directly with your organization or benefit from your
services. But they will see your website, learn about your
organization, and make a decision to engage with you by
signing up or donating.
Crowdfunding for your website, and then redesigning your site
and doing a public launch, is the best way to not only keep
your organization current and fresh, but to reward campaign
donors by engaging them in the most important public part of
your organization: your website.
Improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Enable social sharing on Facebook, Twitter,
LinkedIn and other sites
Stay ahead of the competition
Make it easier to update and add content
Integrate seamlessly with forms and your CRM
Show where you’re headed, not where you’ve
Create a mobile- and tablet-friendly design
Optimize to drive newsletter sign-ups and
Serve up the key information your audience is
Make a great first impression!
7 Crowdfund Your New Website: Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
More nonprofits are using crowdfunding than ever before. Here are a few
examples of nonprofits using crowdfunding successfully, for projects large and
Samasource raised $52,000
from 123 contributors to build
a site called Samahope, which
funds life-saving surgeries and
health interventions in poor
parts of the world.
Raised 104% of Goal!
Autostraddle beat their goal of
$40,000, raising a whopping
$116,000 from over 1,800
Raised 290% of Goal!
8 Crowdfund Your New Website: Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
NCLR raised $60,000 through
offline events, to do a redesign
of their website in 2013.
Raised Funds Online & Offline
The Chainlink raised $16,000
from over 200 contributors for
their website redesign.
Raised 106% of Goal!
These campaigns aren’t for websites, but they show what nonprofits
can do with the power of crowdfunding.
9 Crowdfund Your New Website: Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
IDEO.org, the nonprofit from
acclaimed design firm IDEO,
raised over $27,000 for project
Beat Their Goal!
Re-volv raised $15,000 from 178
contributors, for Our Solar Seed
Fund: a sustainable seed fund
that invests in solar projects.
Raised 150% of Goal!
10 Crowdfund Your New Website: Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
Project for Awesome partnered
with YouTube stars to raise
$397,000 for charity from over
Over 15,000 Contributors!
Well Aware raised $77,000 to
provide clean water to 40,000
Raised their goal in one week!
11 Crowdfund Your New Website: Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
As with any campaign, thoughtful planning and coordination
is key. Here are a few things to think about for your campaign:
Your crowdfunding campaign will require 2-3 months of
preparation, including creating a video and other
communications materials, and developing a
communications program. The campaign itself can
last from 30-60 days.
Which crowdfunding provider will you use for
your campaign? Check out the list in the next
section and select the right one for your needs.
A good pitch is direct, engaging and transparent. It’s
important to be yourself, to clearly communicate what you
are doing, show what you are raising money for, and explain
why it matters to your mission. Be proud of your endeavor and
let your enthusiasm show! Make a Pitch video to be more
personable and dynamic.
Successful campaigns include a 60-90 second pitch
video. This is a great opportunity to share an
emotional appeal and connect with the
audience. Check out successful campaigns to
see examples of great pitch videos.
In crowdfunding campaigns, each donation level
offers a different perk. Think through perks for your
campaign, choosing things that are attractive to donors,
but not costly.
Offer discounts or coupons
Throw a party for contributors
Signed editions of exclusive artwork
DVDs or MP3 downloads
Pre-sell tickets or services
Donated perks from local businesses
Personal thank you notes or call
Teach a class or host a tour
Free entry or membership discounts
12 Crowdfund Your New Website: Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
Successful campaigns include a 60-90 second pitch video.
This is a great opportunity to share an emotional appeal and
connect with the audience. Check out successful
campaigns to see examples of great pitch videos.
How will you promote the campaign? How
often will you reach out to your list, and how
often will you post using social media? Plan a
coordinated communications schedule that
leverages each communication vehicle.
Are there influencers who can help promote the campaign?
Industry associations, magazines, blogs, and other influencers
can help spread your message.
Are there influencers who can help promote the campaign? Industry
associations, magazines, blogs, and other influencers can help
spread your message.
13 Crowdfund Your New Website: Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
"This is going to take up a lot of time. You should plan to devote time
every day, or every other day, to make the campaign a success," says
filmmaker Theresa Loong, who successfully crowdfunded her film on
A crowdfunding campaign requires effort, but then again, what
effective fundraising campaign doesn't require a lot of effort? If you
compare the return on investment of your current efforts with the
potential return of crowdfunding, you’ll see that crowdfunding is an
efficient way to raise money quickly.
14 Crowdfund Your New Website: Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
15 Crowdfund Your New Website: Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform that has made a
name for itself in design and product development projects.
Though it’s a good place to look for examples of successful
campaigns, unfortunately it does not allow nonprofit
Indiegogo is one of the largest crowdfunding sites
empowering anyone, anywhere, anytime, to raise funds for
any idea—creative, cause-related or entrepreneurial. They
offer two funding options (flexible and fixed funding), giving
you more funding options if you don’t meet your goal.
FirstGiving is a platform for events and causes, and offers
tools for managing fundraising success beyond the
CauseVox crowdfunding platform is for both nonprofits and
for profits, and offers a fully customizable fundraising page
for your campaign.
16 Crowdfund Your New Website: Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
Crowdtilt crowdfunding awards raised funds if a campaign
"tilts" and offers tax deductible donations for 501(c)(3)
Razoo is a crowdfunding platform for non-profits and
charities that allows individuals, organizations, corporations,
and foundations to set up campaigns. Razoo also allows
17 Crowdfund Your New Website: Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
RocketHub accepts members from around the world. Many
U.S.-based sites limit their membership to users in the United
States, but RocketHub is one of the largest global
communities dedicated to crowdfunding.
18 Crowdfund Your New Website: Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
Loudsauce is crowdfunding for targeted advertising buys.
LoudSauce combines your crowdfunding with their
advertising buying power, to do video ad buys on national
TV and online.
Spot.us is a unique crowdfunding platform that supports
citizen journalists by funding their investigations of specific
topics. Spot.us can be a useful tool for organizations seeking
to raise awareness through hard-hitting investigative
19 Crowdfund Your New Website: Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
For more information, check out the following helpful articles:
“How Crowdfunding Benefits Nonprofits and Donors”
Geri Stengel, The Huffington Post.
“Crowdfunding Enters the Charitable Giving Tool Kit”
Michael Fischer, AdvisorOne
“How to Use Crowd-Funding Sites to Raise Money for
Joe Garecht, The Fundraising Authority.
“11 Tips for Crowdfunding: How to Raise Money From
Rich Brooks, Social Media Examiner.
20 Crowdfund Your New Website: Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
If you’re interested in doing a crowdfunding campaign for
your website or other project, let’s talk. We can help you plan
and execute the campaign, and spread the word beyond
your network to increase contributions.
We work with our clients on fundraising campaigns, website
design, message creation, social media, and bringing
best-in-class technology to organization operations. And
we’re here to help.
Start Somewhere is a branding, communications and fundrais-
ing agency for companies doing good in the world. We’re on
a mission: to help grow organizations that make a difference,
to bring best-in-class technology to team operations, and to
provide senior level fundraising strategy and execution to
organizations of all sizes.
Our backgrounds are in corporate marketing, brand building,
technology, nonprofit operations, database marketing and
donor and funder management. Together we develop
programs to build lists, manage audiences, and generate
revenue. And we wrap it in a beautiful package by presenting
your organization online in the best light possible, with clean,
modern website design.
Organizations like Tech Soup Global, Equal Rights Advocates,
National Center for Lesbian Rights and others trust Start
Somewhere for their communications, website and fundraising
Learn more about Start Somewhere at
21 Crowdfund Your New Website: Redesign Your Site Without Breaking The Bank
Chief Marketing Officer
Chief Fundraising Officer
Creative & Video Director