Churches should crowdfund for their various fundraising needs such as an upcoming mission trip, a new building, emergency relief campaigns, and more. Read this guide for detailed insights into crowdfunding benefits and some of the best crowdfunding tool options for you!
Has your church or religious organization ever done a crowdfunding campaign?
Crowdfunding typically involves raising money for a project by soliciting small donations from a sizable group of people, most often online.
At Donorbox, we love faith-based crowdfunding projects for a few reasons. Crowdfunding can unite your community around a shared goal. Plus, your congregation members can share the project on their social media, encouraging neighbors and friends to contribute. Crowdfunding can also be an incredibly cost-effective way to raise money. Churches often use these campaigns to raise funds for buying a new church building or for building one, for mission trips, etc. The best part is – getting started with crowdfunding can be an easy and free process.
It’s easy to get started with crowdfunding for churches! Read on to discover why crowdfunding is a great option and how you can do it most effectively.
Why Do Churches Use Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding can be a fun, efficient, and impactful way to conduct a religious fundraiser. Whether your organization is a church, mosque, synagogue, religious-based nonprofit, or other houses of worship, a crowdfunding campaign can help you accomplish your goals while engaging your community.
The below stats and facts provide some key details on what crowdfunding most often looks like. Bear in mind that these numbers can vary depending on your community’s location, size, and giving capacity:
Crowdfunding campaigns in North America raise an average of $17.2 billion per year.
Successful crowdfunding campaigns raise an average of $33, 430.
46% of millennial donors prefer to give to crowdfunding campaigns.
A typical crowdfunding campaign will earn $5,270.
A successful crowdfunding campaign should have at least 316 supporters.
An average crowdfunding campaign goes on for about 9 weeks.
Churches, like most other nonprofits, have begun to respond to these facts and include crowdfunding efforts in their fundraising strategy.
1. Crowdfunding is cost-effective
Crowdfunding campaigns are often extremely affordable to run, providing a high return on your time and energy. This can be a welcome contrast to community events and festivals, which – while fun for attendees – tend to require hefty budgets for refreshments, entertainment, and staffing. With a crowdfunding campaign, all you need is a worthy cause, a user-friendly and attractive webpage, and a communications and follow-up plan. You’ll learn how to tackle each of these steps below.
Crowdfunding is an incredibly accessible way to raise money because there are no barriers when it comes to getting started. Depending on the crowdfunding tool you choose (more on this below), you might be able to start instantly, for free! With a donation platform like Donorbox, you can create a simple-to-use and effective crowdfunding campaign in less than 15 minutes with no coding skills, starting fees, or contracts required.
Additionally, crowdfunding projects are accessible to donors all over the world, at any time of the day or night. With an online crowdfunding campaign, anyone can support your project at any time.
One of the main advantages of a crowdfunding campaign is that it’s so easily shareable with your extended community. Crowdfunding can allow you to grow your fundraising beyond weekly attendees into the greater community. This is especially possible when your project will benefit the community at large.
Be sure to encourage congregants to share the crowdfunding project on their social media! Make it easy by providing sample text, a photo, and a donation link that they can copy and paste into an email or social post. To maintain authenticity and drive fundraising results, encourage each person to customize the sample language to reflect their own reasons for supporting the project.
Some online fundraising tools, like Donorbox, allow you to add social media sharing buttons to your donation webpage. This makes sharing on social media easy and seamless, as shown in the example below.
Thanks to the “bandwagon effect,” each donation can help spur additional gifts. This is because when your organization’s members see their friends and neighbors contributing, chances are, they’ll feel inclined to support as well. Each donation acts as a small “seal of approval” that encourages others to join in.
To give an additional boost to this effect, you should add social proof to your crowdfunding campaigns. This can be easily done with a virtual donor wall. Like with Donorbox crowdfunding campaigns, churches and other nonprofits can add this option and gifts by donors (along with their names and any comments) will be listed down on the donor wall. Check the below example to see how –
7 Key Steps to Create a Successful Church Crowdfunding Campaign
Some people might think that a $20 or $50 donation won’t accomplish much – but a crowdfunding project proves the opposite! Small donations, when combined together and shared with enthusiasm, can create transformational results.
Faith-based crowdfunding means harnessing the power of a collective effort to make something amazing happen. For your organization, this might mean raising funds for a new building, a renovation, a youth mission trip, or a community outreach project.
Once you determine your project and dollar goal, there are a few key steps to creating a successful crowdfunding campaign. Let’s walk through each of them.
1. Select a crowdfunding platform
Your crowdfunding platform is an online service provider that will help with all the logistics for your campaign setup and management. In short – it’s the technology that allows you to make your campaign happen. To start with, you need to look for a platform that’s affordable, requires less time to get you set up, and provides all the essential features for accessibility, shareability, communication, and fundraising.
You should take a look at the below crowdfunding page created by a church using Donorbox. It’s apparently simple and displays a neat design, has an “updates” tab to post updates to its supporters, and has a donor wall. A pop form will show as soon as visitors click “Donate” while ensuring it is not cluttering the page and leaving enough space for other important elements like a “Subscribe” option for potential donors, a goal meter, and social media sharing buttons.
Further below in this post, we’ll share the nitty-gritty on some best crowdfunding platforms, including Donorbox.
When building your crowdfunding page, keep fundraising best practices in mind. For example, sharing a compelling story about your organization’s mission and work can have a big impact. It’s also smart to pick a crowdfunding platform that allows you to customize your page with your colors and photos.
Learn more crowdfunding best practices with our blog post on this topic. We’ll walk you through how to use your storytelling skills for a crowdfunding campaign.
3. Promote your church crowdfunding campaign
As the saying goes, “Ask and you shall receive.” Once your webpage is ready, go ahead and promote your crowdfunding project.
You can promote your project in the following ways:
Have a church or community leader announce your crowdfunding project at your next worship service.
Include a blurb about the campaign and a donation link/QR code in your printed weekly program.
Send an email to everyone on your organization’s email list with details about the project and a donation link.
Post about your campaign on social media. Keep sharing updates, thanking donors and volunteers, and posting images of the progress.
Encourage your community to promote the project! Ask everyone to share the news with neighbors, friends, and family. A good reminder for those who are fundraising-shy: it’s an honor when someone asks you to help create good in the world.
Don’t be afraid to promote your campaign in a variety of ways early on! Crowdfunding campaigns that update supporters receive 126% more donations.
4. Use a donor wall to build social proof
It’s basic psychology: when we see our friends and neighbors doing something, we’re more inclined to do it, too. Using a virtual donor wall to recognize campaign supporters can be hugely effective in boosting participation. Some donation platforms, like Donorbox, offer donor wall capabilities automatically (shown below), for no additional fee. Check out our step-by-step guide to setting up a donor wall.
If your donation platform doesn’t offer this, you can create a graphic listing of your supporters to date. This can be an inconvenient solution, as it requires you to manually update your list often, in order to avoid irking recent donors.
5. Add a goal meter to motivate faith-based donors
A goal thermometer measures the overall progress made toward your campaign goal. Adding a goal meter to your crowdfunding campaign results in a 35% increase in giving, on average.
It’s exciting for everyone to be able to see the visual progress of the campaign. Plus, each community member will get an instant boost of gratification after making their gift and seeing the thermometer go up. This excitement can help motivate the supporter to share the campaign. In some cases, it fuels donors to make a second gift further along in the campaign, to help reach the goal.
Now that you’re familiar with the idea of a fundraising thermometer, learn the tips and tricks to use one for the biggest impact. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through each step so you can set your campaign up for success. Read more.
6. Enable donors to subscribe to your campaign
Once someone makes a gift toward your campaign, they’ve invested in the project’s success. It’s likely they’ll want to be kept up-to-date on campaign progress as well as know when the goal is reached. This can help build trust and connection with donors, which makes it more likely they’ll continue to support your mission in the future.
A subscribe option is also very helpful when you have visitors other than current donors – these visitors may also want to see how you’re doing with the campaign. As and when they get updates and see images and videos of progress, they might want to visit again and make a donation.
Consider choosing a donation platform that has a built-in subscription feature. This helps make updating your supporters a seamless experience. For example, Donorbox automatically adds all donors to your subscriber base. Plus, your visitors and potential donors can fill in their email IDs and subscribe easily on the page, as shown in the below image.
7. Update donors via email
As your campaign progresses, be sure to keep everyone updated via email. Consider sending out a message when you’ve hit a significant milestone, such as being halfway or ¾ of the way to your goal.
Use your update emails to also remind everyone about why the project matters. Include photos and personal stories whenever possible. Additionally, you can include a snapshot of your donor wall within your email. This will offer gratitude and recognition to those who have already supported the project while motivating others to do the same.
4 Best Crowdfunding Platforms for Churches
These days, there are a lot of crowdfunding platforms out there. It can be hard to know which is best for your church or religious fundraiser. Additionally, there are a lot of factors to consider.
Read on to discover several crowdfunding options for churches. You’ll learn more about each system’s features and costs so you can choose the one that’s best for you.
Donorbox is a donation processing solution trusted by more than 50,000 organizations across the world, including many churches and religious organizations. Turn your cause into a powerful movement with a conversion-optimized crowdfunding campaign. It’s easier than it sounds!
Donorbox has helped thousands of churches around the globe with effective features like customizable forms, text-to-give, and more. This quick 1-minute video will help you understand our church-giving features better.
Key church crowdfunding features:
Set up in less than 15 minutes – no set-up fees, monthly fees, or contracts.
Create user-friendly, mobile-responsive crowdfunding webpages – no coding skills required.
Use visuals like photos, videos, and your preferred colors and branding to inspire donors and build trust.
Share posts, updates, and campaign progress on your crowdfunding page.
Allow visitors to subscribe for email updates on campaign progress.
Send personalized email updates to your donors for better engagement.
Share on social media.
Add a goal meter to track progress toward the campaign goal.
Use a donor wall to provide social proof and encourage others to give.
Quickly turn your crowdfunding campaigns into peer-to-peer campaigns (as easy as toggling a switch) and boost outreach and support.
Promote recurring donations – perfect for easy weekly tithing.
Accept cards, bank transfers, direct debit methods, and digital wallet options like Venmo, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, etc.
Here’s a video to show you how Crowdfunding works on Donorbox – explained with steps!
Cost: Get started for free! There are no set-up fees, monthly fees, or contracts. The platform fee starts at 1.75% but can be lowered to a flat rate of 1.5% by upgrading to our Pro and Premium plans. The different plans we provide will offer you a powerful collection of tools, personal support, coaching services, and more to help grow and scale your fundraising efforts.
Learn more about Donorbox’s plans and pricing here.
The processing fee applicable for Stripe and PayPal can be covered by donors, all you have to do is ask!
Bonfire provides a fun, creative option when it comes to Christian fundraising and crowdfunding for churches. With Bonfire, churches of all sizes can create a t-shirt fundraiser to raise money for your cause. When the project is successfully completed, you’ll receive your funds
Key church crowdfunding features:
Design a custom t-shirt with Bonfire’s design tool
Promote and sell your t-shirt online or in-person
Bonfire handles printing and shipping your shirts to supporters
Receive a downloadable supporter list
“Verified nonprofit” badge on your campaign page (for 501c3 nonprofits)
Cost: There is an 8% processing fee. Shipping fees apply. Domestic shipping starts at $3.99 (free for orders with 5+ items) and international shipping starts at $11.99. Know more here.
You’ve probably heard of GoFundMe before. It’s often used by individuals to raise money for personal projects or medical expenses. But, did you know that this popular platform can also help you with crowdfunding for churches?
Key church crowdfunding features:
Set up a fundraiser in just a few minutes
Add a photo or video and goal thermometer to your fundraising page
Recruit donors from the pool of millions of GoFundMe supporters
Download reports with your key donor data
Request fund withdrawal at any time without affecting the goal thermometer
Customer happiness agents are available 24/7
Ability to leave your campaign active indefinitely to continue receiving funds
GiveCentral is a donation platform used by more than 1,000 nonprofit organizations, including many churches and Christian crowdfunding projects. They offer a variety of online fundraising services, including crowdfunding.
Integrate your donation page with your social media platforms
Launch a Church Crowdfunding Campaign Today
Why not take a leap of faith? Starting a crowdfunding project is a great way to turn your church’s monetary need into an inspiring collective impact. It’s a win-win: you’ll raise funds for your project, while your community will get the satisfaction of achieving something meaningful together.
With the right fundraising tools and a little bit of planning, you’ll be on your way to crowdfunding success in no time. Regardless of your religious affiliation or type of project, you can use crowdfunding to unite everyone in your community who feels called to help.
Donorbox helps churches and nonprofits with an array of fundraising and donor management features. On our features page, you’ll find all these simple and affordable options (including Peer-to-Peer fundraising, Text-to-Give, Events, Membership, Recurring Donations Forms, Customizable Donation Pages, QuickDonate, and more) alongside Crowdfunding. If your church is all set to take its fundraising to the next level, we also have Donorbox Premium – get expert coaching, high-performance tools, and priority support.
Donorbox publishes fundraising tips and resources on its Nonprofit Blog every week. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our best resources delivered to your inbox on a monthly basis.
Set up your church’s crowdfunding project in just 15 minutes – with no set-up fees, no monthly fees, and no contract.
Heather is a writer, business owner, and nonprofit professional. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) with more than a decade of experience leading fundraising efforts and creating communication materials for arts, education, and social services nonprofits.