The Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding for Nonprofits

Crowdfunding is the process of funding a program or task with donations from a large number of people. This area has started to boom as the internet has become more widely used. Crowdfunding can be a daunting area for nonprofits. It can be used to supplement traditional fundraising campaigns such as GivingTuesday and if done well can be a major source of revenue to start new projects and endeavours. WOD for Water used crowdfunding to raise over $157,000 to bring clean water to the over 800 million people without access to clean drinking water. There are so many different options, how do you know which one is right for your organization? Here at Whole Whale we have spent the time and energy to research your options and have put together a shortlist. Without further ado let’s get started!

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Fundly makes it easy for nonprofits, schools, religious groups, teams, and individuals to quickly raise money from friends, family, and other supporters. You can set up your fundraiser in minutes by uploading images, videos, and telling your story. Then use Fundly’s robust sharing options to reach your supporters via email, Facebook, and Twitter. Launched in 2009 with over $330 million raised, Fundly is one of the leading crowdfunding websites for nonprofits.


You can start your fundraising campaign instantly without paying any setup or monthly fees. The only fees charged are a 4.9% platform fee + the credit card processing fees on donations you raise through Fundly. So you only incur charges if you successfully raise money!
fundly crowdfunding


Causevox allows you to easily launch your own fundraising campaign. It can easily integrate with your own website with many personalizable features. You can easily edit the design without the use of a developer using their friendly user interface, which allows you to edit things such as media and the URL. Causevox has a great reputation with its many nonprofit customers due to it ease of use and focus on fundraising rather than just product funding. It also has easy access to helpful resources such as their blog and learning center to ensure your crowdfunding effort succeeds. They have a great support page with frequently asked questions and video runthroughs of various processes like setting up a campaign welcome email. Anyone can create a fundraiser within minutes. Currently, Causevox does not allow you to edit CSS/HTML (but this feature is coming soon).


There are 3 levels: Standard is free with a 5% transaction fee, Impact is $49 per month with a 4.25% transaction fee, and Pro is $129 per month 4% transaction fee. They also have a free trial period until you raise $5,000.
Causevox crowdfunding



GlobalGiving, a nonprofit themselves, is the first and largest global crowdfunding community for nonprofits. While they acknowledge that it can be risky to fund underdogs GlobalGiving vetts the organizations it works with to ensure they get results for their donors. Organizations have to apply to join GlobalGiving, and once they have been approved they have to accomplish an Open Challenge which consists of raising $5,000 in 4 weeks from at least 40 donors. Once an organization has done this they will be invited to be permanent partners with GlobalGiving. This may seem hard, but they have an excellent guide on crowdfundamentals, which walk you through every single part of the crowdfunding process and give you all the tips you need to ensure you attract donors.


GlobalGiving charges a 15% Donation fee for donors. Most donors choose to pay this fee in addition to their donation to ensure 100% of their donation goes to the project.
GlobalGiving crowdfunding

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Arguably the biggest crowdfunding website on the internet, Kickstarter has been around since the start of the crowdfunding boom. Kickstarter allows users (or organizations) to set up projects to request funding and offer small rewards to people who donate certain amount of money. Kickstarter has an all or nothing approach to funding; this means that a creator has to reach their entire funding goal, in the set time period, in order to be given the money. This ensures that all projects are fully funded if successful and donor dollars don’t go to waste. The project focus is critical for Kickstarter as they will not allow any general fundraising on their site, every project has to contribute something back to the community (in terms of a concrete product). Kickstarter says nonprofits are more then welcome to use the site, but what they promote must be product-focused and cannot advertise it as being for charity. Another important aspect of Kickstarter is rewards: if someone donates a certain amount of money you can give them a reward varying from a thank you to a t-shirt to anything beyond. Kickstarter’s project mindset can ultimately lead to fundraisers being about product sales and not fundraising. It might be a good choice if you have a very specific product or program the money will go toward. Another downside: the all-or-none approach leads to people being charged later then they expect.


If your project is fully funded, Kickstarter applies a 5% fee on the total funds raised; after that there is a 3% +$0.20 per pledge processing fee.
kickstarter crowdfunding



Razoo focuses on crowdfunding that makes a difference. They ensure all their fundraisers go to an important cause and due to this are heavily involved with nonprofits. They have helped nonprofits raise over $400 million to date with over 100,000 fundraising websites. Much of this money was raised on their “Giving Days” which unite the community to give on a specific day. Razoo allows users to give on your website or on your Facebook making it easy to attract your existing fans to donate. Razoo allows nonprofits to download detailed donation reports for the data cultured nonprofits out there (which should be everyone). Anyone can start a fundraiser, but nonprofits get free access to special perks such as the donation reports and your own page.


4.9% Platform Fee and a 2% +$0.30 per pledge Payment Fee
razoo crowdfunding



Another leader in the crowdfunding website space, Indiegogo works very similar to Kickstarter with minimum fundraising amounts. Users can try and provide funding for anything from a project to a cause. Indiegogo is data driven, providing more insights than other platforms (go data!). This can always help if you want to make your organization more data driven. Indiegogo has more categories than any other crowdfunding site, helping to enable users to find causes and products they care about. The Tesla Museum raised $1.4 million on Indiegogo to fund their project of building a museum after Nikolai Tesla. Anyone can create an account and start fundraising on Indiegogo. Most posts involve some pictures and an explanation of what it is you are doing and why people should donate. It is worth noting that it is difficult to figure out how big their “exclusive” community is, so this is a potential con.


Indiegogo charges a 5% fee plus 3% +$0.30 per pledge Payment Fee (for credit cards) or 3-5% for PayPal
indiegogo crowdfunding



Classy provides fundraising for “the modern nonprofit.” Classy provides many forms of fundraising from crowdfunding to website donations with branding and sleek mobile design; they really drive home their mobile platform as over 40% of donors come from mobile making it an important market segment. While any organization can sign up, Classy focuses on nonprofits and social enterprises with over 1,500 including Teach for America and National Geographic. Classy gives you analytics and reports allowing you to look at your data for insights into your donors. They do not provide a built in marketplace for donors to search for causes they care about to donate to – that is because Classy is software as opposed to a traditional crowdfunding site. This is a potential disadvantage if you are seeking new donors, but it can be advantageous if you are looking for a platform to post on your own site and get your own current users to donate to your cause. Classy provides free guides to maximizing fundraising as well as support services including a personal strategist is every Pro account.


There are 3 levels: Starter – $0 per month with a 5% Transaction fee, Classy Pro – $499 per month (billed annually) with a 2% Transaction fee, or Enterprise $1,499 per month (billed annually) with a 0-1% Transaction fee. Each of these levels comes with different features which can be found here.
classy crowdfunding



Crowdster offers a unique combination of visually stunning event templates, cutting-edge software functionality, and marketing/CRM/social media services that helps nonprofits improve their fundraising event performance and scale their peer-to-peer efforts. With personalized service and a “pay as you go” rolling subscription-based pricing, Crowdster will get your fundraising efforts up and running in days, not weeks or months. Crowdster is where nonprofits stand out from the crowd and get noticed for better results.



Price ranges from $99/month and 4% transaction fee up to $1,199/month and 1% transaction fee.




Qgiv’s peer-to-peer software, Hobnob, is a complete and powerful platform for event registration and social fundraising. It helps nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and political campaigns empower their supporters to create fundraising pages, build teams, and use their social network to raise money for the campaign. Qgiv’s software includes its suite of fundraising essentials such as constituent management, event dashboards and analytics, classifications and categories, and more. Beyond the essentials, Qgiv offers unique features designed specifically to take your peer-to-peer campaign efforts to the next level. The features include: pages that are fully customizable with responsive design, supporter involvement tools that make it easy for fundraisers to share their pages through social posts and email, event storefronts where you can sell event merchandise and sponsorship packages online, and more.



Qgiv’s Engage plan offers the combination of their peer-to-peer fundraising platform and online donation technology with database integrations included, all for $149 per month.





So What Now?

Now that you know some of your options, go visit them and see which would work best for you based on what you are looking to do, who your audience is, and what your goals are. Of course if you have any specific questions about crowdfunding, email us at [email protected] and let us know how we can help you. Happy crowdfunding!