Brady Josephson spends a lot of time thinking about fundraising. A self-described “charity nerd” who teaches fundraising at North Park University in Chicago, he is vice president of innovation and optimization at NextAfter, a company that helps nonprofits raise money.
ChurchLawAndTax.com talked to Josephson about how crowdfunding can work for churches.
What are some of the pros and cons of crowdfunding?
First off, let’s define crowdfunding. It’s really just raising money in smaller amounts from a variety of donors using an online tool. The biggest difference with crowdfunding is that it is often done on an online platform like GoFundMe.com, CrowdRise.com, or FundRazr.com. This style of fundraising often has a funding goal with a thermometer and a timeline or countdown. These tools often try to tap into the social networks with easy-to-share functionality.
One of the pros of this strategy is that churches don’t have to invest in the technology or worry about the functionality. This is increasingly important for online donations: giving donors a good online experience. These appeals are also pretty easy to set up and get started. The idea of having a tangible goal and timeline helps. So does making the appeal public, accessible, and shareable.
One of the cons: It’s still just a webpage; it’s up to you to market the campaign and communicate the value and impact of the project to get donations. There is often a false assumption that just by being on one of these sites your campaign will be seen by others and supported. It’s still up to you to promote the appeal.