Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or satisfying a need in your organization by raising money from many people who each contribute a small amount to your cause.

Crowdfunding is growing rapidly in South Africa, giving non-profit organizations an opportunity to raise more money through tapping into power of the crowd.

It is a way fundraise that doesn’t rely on sponsorships from big businesses or the government, but rather relies on many small contributions from those around you who are inspired by your cause.

Although over R59 million has been raised on BackaBuddy for various causes, our most successful charities, The Smile Foundation and Rainbows and Smiles for example, will tell you that crowdfunding is not easy.

If you understand that crowdfunding requires a lot of effort, speaking to your networks and isn’t a quick fix for your organization, then you’re in the right mindset for a successful campaign!

In this article, we will cover the following.

Do you have the necessary tools to run a campaign?

Managing your Crowdfunding Expectations.

What are your needs?

Do you have access to a crowd/network?

Who is going to be in charge of your campaign?

  1. Do you have the tools you need to run a campaign?

  • For a successful crowdfunding campaign you need access to a couple practical tools such as a Computer, Smartphone with an Internet connection. If you are unable to connect and talk to your potential donors, it will be difficult to raise funds online.
  • Have you created social media accounts for your organization? Do you have a mailing list with email addresses or database of your supporters?
  • Do you have previous success stories or testimonials from past projects in the form of videos, photos, articles etc will bring credibility to your campaign.

  1. Managing your Crowdfunding expectations

Click here to see how Jedi Tedi uses crowdfunding!

Are you crowdfunding for a quick/large cash injection to save your organization or do you need to secure funding for a certain need within your organization?

Although crowdfunding can be rewarding, success does not come easy to those who expect a large amounts of money in a short space of time, particularly you are a new charity.

The chance of you reaching your target shortly after you go “live” is rare, our big, high networked charities, would be able to tell you that it doesn’t happen often!

If you understand that crowdfunding is a process that requires the correct marketing message, a target that isn’t too high and lots of communication with your supporters, then you have a clear view of what to expect!

  1. What are your needs as a charity?

The Sandton SPCA crowdfunded for a certain need in their organisation. Click here.

Simply put, WHAT are you crowdfunding for and WHY.

Crowdfunding is the most effective, when you focus on a certain need that you can measure.

Sit with your fundraising team and your finance department to identify specific needs that are “tangible” and easy for the public to understand.

This step is very important in determining how successful your campaign will be, general phrases should be avoided.

Your donor wants to know exactly where their money is going to in order to connect with your cause.

  • What doesn’t work:“The funds will be used for social upliftment”
  • What works: The funds will be used to build a free-clinic in Mitchells plain that will support a community of 200 people”

  • What doesn’t work: “To help children reach their potential”
  • What does work: “It costs R30 000 to put one child through a coding course, we hope to put 5 children in through this course at Buddy Coding School in Blouberg by 2019.

  • What doesn’t work:“ Raising money for awareness”
  • What does work:We plan to visit 10 Government schools to educate students about Gun safety”

Tip: Be the first person to support your own campaign. No one wants to support a project that has 0 funds raised.

Setting a realistic, target is an important part of setting up your crowdfunding project.

If your target is too high, you will discourage donations in smaller amounts, because your donor might think their R100 donation won’t make your barometer go up.

As a non-profit, you most likely have a number of important needs in your organization, for the purpose of crowdfunding, it is better to tackle one need at a time.

For example, You might need 5 new vehicles for your organization that will cost R500 000, which might discourage the average donor, but if you crowdfund for 1 vehicle that costs R100 000, your campaign seems a lot more achievable.

  1. Finding your crowd.

Crowdfunding can be a great way to raise money, build your donor database and communicate with your donors on a more personal level.

Where is my crowd?

  1. Your existing Donor Database. (List of names and contact information of those who have donated to your charity in the past)
  2. Your Social Media followers 
  3. Your website or blog subscribers.
  4. Past & Present Volunteers/Interns.
  5. The Media: Your local radio station/local paper
  6. Your family & Friends

  1. Who will be in charge of the campaign?

A successful crowdfunding campaign, can’t be done alone.

Rainbows and Smiles have raised over R2 Million rand on BackaBuddy. Click here to see how.

You will need at least one person in your organization who will be in charge of all the crowdfunding activities.

Sit down with your team and determine who will be responsible for the following:

  1. Setting up the campaign.
  2. Marketing the campaign by creating interesting things to post online.
  3. Engaging with your supporters.
  4. Who will run the Facebook/Twitter page.
  5. Updating donors on how successful your campaign was and thanking them for their support.

… so do you think you have what it takes to run a successful campaign?

Listen to our COO, Catherine Du Plooy’s advice to new charities using crowdfunding here

Register your charity here:

Once your Charity Crowdfunding profile has been set up on BackaBuddy, you can start putting together your project!