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Monday, 25 May 2015 20:12

Fundraising in the Digital Age: What is Crowdfunding and How Can Your Organization Use It to Support Your Work?

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This week we are exploring the new world of crowdfunding: what it is and how to do it. To answer these questions, we reached out to innovative crowdfunding website LoveAnimals.org. The only free crowdfunding site focused exclusively on animal causes, this nonprofit was launched in 2013. Since then, it has been outperforming other crowdfunding sites, both for- and nonprofit. We spoke with them to get their insights into the world of crowdfunding for animals.

crowdfundingWhat is crowdfunding?

According to Wikipedia, “Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, typically via the internet.” It’s basically the online version of asking friends and family to chip in to help pay for a project. Crowdfunding can be used to fund for-profit businesses, nonprofit organizations, or personal expenses such as education, vet bills, or honeymoons.

How does crowdfunding work?

Crowdfunding websites allow people, businesses, or organizations to list their funding needs, while at the same time allowing donors the ability to give small donations to the projects that most inspire them. These many small donations collectively fund entire projects, providing the owners with more resources, enabling them to finish their projects faster.

How is LoveAnimals.org different from other crowdfunding websites?

LoveAnimals.org is a free crowdfunding website that helps animal nonprofits connect with donors to raise money for critically needed projects. That’s right—LoveAnimals.org is free to use! Unlike many other crowdfunding sites, we don’t charge administrative fees. This means that more money gets to the animals that need it.

We’re also exclusively focused on animal projects. As such, we have created a community of animal lovers who are “voting with their dollars” to help the projects they care about.

On a technical level, we provide a series of tools that help nonprofits promote their campaigns through their current channels (social media, email lists, etc.). These include our donation gauge and the honor roll for donors, as well as behind-the-scenes tools such as donation notification emails and automated thank-you email integration.

As you mentioned, LoveAnimals.org doesn’t charge administrative fees. How are you able to provide this service for free?

LoveAnimals.org is a nonprofit organization, just like the groups that fundraise on our site. As such, we receive individual donations and grants. We also have sponsorships, for example, our primary sponsor is Ellen DeGeneres’ Natural Pet Food Company, Halo Purely for Pets. Additionally, we use a tip jar system on the website. When people donate, they have the option to give an additional donation to LoveAnimals.org.

In LoveAnimals.org’s experience, what are your three top tips for a successful crowdfunding for animal causes?

Firstly, be prepared! As with any other large project, successful online fundraising requires an action plan. In fact, we recently published an e-booklet with step-by-step instructions for organizations running a crowdfunding campaign!

Second tip: Take advantage of current supporters. We’ve found that most donations come from contacts the organization already has. So don’t forget to reach out to email lists, major donors, and other supporters – posting on Facebook isn’t enough.

Lastly, be persistent. Nonprofits sometimes get frustrated if their campaigns don’t go viral in the first week, and then they stop promoting the campaign, creating a vicious cycle. With a solid plan (see tip #1!) and consistent follow-up, your campaign can be successful.

Want to learn more? Check out their website: http://www.loveanimals.org

Photo Credit: "Crowdfunding" by Rocío Lara, used under CC BY-SA 2.0.

LoveAnimals.org

LoveAnimals.org is a progressive new nonprofit crowdfunding website that helps animal nonprofits throughout America connect with donors to raise money for critically needed projects.

About the WAN Blog

The WAN blog allows us to share our expertise in the fields of policy, science, communications, management, and more in a manner that animal protection organizations can easily incorporate into their everyday work for animals. The blog also provides the opportunity to highlight important work of individual organizations and campaigns, and allows researchers, experts, and others outside of WAN to provide useful information to the animal protection community. 

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