Crowdfunding for Churches | 7 Steps for Success in 2021

Crowdfunding for Churches | 7 Steps for Success in 2021

Crowdfunding for Churches

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. Getting started 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.

NonprofitSource provides 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:

  • The average nonprofit crowdfunding campaign raises around $9,237
  • The average donation size to a crowdfunding campaign is $66
  • 62% of donors who give to crowdfunding campaigns are new to crowdfunding. In other words, don’t be afraid to try crowdfunding just because you’ve never done it before!

1. 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.


2. Accessible

Crowdfunding is an incredibly accessible way to raise money because there are no barriers when it comes to getting started. Depending on the crowdfunding service 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 dedicated crowdfunding campaign in less than 15 minutes with no coding skills, starting fees, or contracts required.

Additionally, crowdfunding projects are accessible for 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.


3. Shareable

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.

Pro tip: 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.


4. Compounding

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.


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.

Further below in this post, we’ll share the nitty-gritty on several different crowdfunding platforms, including Donorbox.

crowdfunding for churches

Get Started With Donorbox


2. Launch a crowdfunding page

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.

Pro tip: 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 by:

  • Having a church or community leader announce your crowdfunding project at your next worship service
  • Including a blurb about the campaign and a donation link/QR code in your printed weekly program
  • Sending an email to everyone on your organization’s email list with details about the project and a donation link
  • Posting about your campaign on social media
  • Encouraging 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! Nonprofit Source reports that campaigns that reach 30% of their goal within the first week are more likely to succeed overall.


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, for no additional fee. Check out our step-by-step guide to setting up a donor wall.

church crowdfunding

If your donation platform doesn’t offer this, you can create a graphic listing 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.

church fundraising

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.

Pro tip: 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 here.


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 knowing 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.

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.


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.


1. Donorbox

Donorbox is a donation processing solution trusted by more than 35,000 organizations from more than 40 countries, 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. Have a look at this short 1-minute video to know how it was possible –

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
  • Add donors to your subscriber base automatically
  • Allow stakeholders 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
  • Suggest most effective donation amounts
  • Promote recurring donations – perfect for easy weekly tithing
  • Accept credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and bank transfer
  • Offer donors the ability to cover processing fees
  • Secure payment system with support in 40+ countries

Learn more about Donorbox’s crowdfunding features. Also, here’s a video to show you how it works on Donorbox – explained with steps!

Cost: Get started for free! 1.5% donation fee, in addition to payment processing fees. No set-up fees, monthly fees, or contracts. Learn more about Donorbox’s pricing.


2. Bonfire

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: 4.5% platform fee, plus 3.5% payment processing fee. Shipping fees apply. Domestic shipping starts at $3.99 (free for orders with 5+ items).


3. GoFundMe

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 available 24/7
  • Ability to leave your campaign active indefinitely to continue receiving funds
  • Supported in 19 countries

Cost: Free and Flex plans are available. Free plans charge a 1.9% processing fee plus 30 cents per transaction. View pricing details here.


4. GiveCentral

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.

Key church crowdfunding features:

  • Get your crowdfunding page live within a day
  • Customized support
  • Create a custom donation page with your branding and photos
  • Integrate your donation page with your social media platforms

Cost: The one-time fee to establish an account is $75. The monthly fee for each merchant ID is around $33 per month. Payment processing fees vary. For more details, read GiveCentral’s Terms of Use.


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.

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.

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