By Jeannie Infante Sager
The news cycle can easily induce fear and anxiety—and rightfully so, given the magnitude of the challenges we face these days. But when I’m scrolling through social media, I also find myself inspired by the number of women I know who have set up Facebook Fundraisers, GoFundMe campaigns, or Venmo requests to raise money for families and communities in need.
Gender and Crowdfunding, the latest research report from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, supports what I’ve seen anecdotally. The study finds that nearly 1 in 3 women (31.1 percent) give to a crowdfunding campaign in a typical year, and 40.8 percent have given to a crowdfunding campaign at some point in the past.
Women crowdfunding donors tend to be younger, more educated, and more concentrated in the Western U.S., compared to women who do not give to crowdfunding campaigns.
One insight that stood out: nearly one-third (31.3 percent) of women crowdfunding donors plan to increase their contributions to these campaigns in the near future, while the vast majority (94.6 percent) plan to maintain or increase their contributions. This demonstrates that organizations looking to cultivate the next generation of donors must start building strong crowdfunding strategies.
What might that look like? It could involve asking your supporters to host a virtual birthday fundraiser. Perhaps you have a major donor who would be willing to match gifts raised through donors’ social media crowdfunding campaigns. Your organization can also initiate a crowdfunding campaign for a specific goal or project.
The report uncovered interesting nuances that can help organizations think about how to best support and engage donors. For example, women crowdfunding donors are willing to share about causes and projects on social media but are reluctant to directly ask people in their networks to give.
One way to address this is by providing donors with pre-written asks and toolkits to help guide their fundraising, and showcasing success stories of other women who have raised significant dollars through crowdfunding.
Women also say that crowdfunding can highlight and help donors connect to projects, but they express concerns about transparency and accountability. When your organization launches crowdfunding campaigns, be sure you’re crystal clear about how the funds will be used and how donors will be kept informed of progress.
Crowdfunding is an incredibly powerful tool—one that empowers anyone and everyone to be a philanthropist. We look forward to seeing how this form of generosity continues to expand and evolve in our increasingly digital world. For nonprofit organizations, crowdfunding offers a ripe opportunity.
Has your organization used crowdfunding successfully? Do your donors regularly raise money on your behalf? I would love to hear your reflections and thoughts in the comments below.
Jeannie Infante Sager is the director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute.