Exploring Crowdfunding as Crucial Development Strategy

For this month’s Connect theme, we are highlighting some of the speakers, facilitators, keynotes, attendees, sponsors, and scholarship recipients of the 2015 Leading Change Summit in Washington, DC September 13-16.

The team at GiveGab is looking forward to attending the NTEN Leading Change Summit in mid-September. We have been benefiting from NTEN through many of its online resources, newsletters, and virtual communities, but this will be the first truly engaging experience that we’ll have with NTEN Members. We are excited to interact with the Community, learn about its culture, and become part of NTEN’s cause.

One thing that stood out to us about the LCS is that it is packed with interactive sessions that value group-based collaboration and discussion. The hub and workshop approach will be key, and this format allows for working with other attendees to ideate and develop solutions to real strategic problems facing nonprofit organizations these days. That’s extremely appealing and brings a lot of value to our team. Any time you can gather lots of people with different experiences but the same mindset and challenges, the creative thinking that results always produces progress towards solutions to those issues.

We were excited to see the four hubs and, in particular, how three of the four hubs are directly relevant to the work we do every day. Some of the toughest questions we ask ourselves all of the time revolve around how to blend innovative technical solutions for modern online fundraising with ways to mobilize supporters for maximum impact on an organization’s cause. Solutions around how to create synchrony and seamless flow between these areas of concern are at the core of where organizations should be aligning their strategic trajectories.

Specifically, one of the problems we are looking forward to discussing is how to frame online fundraising and in particular, crowdfunding, as a crucial part of an organization’s ongoing development strategy.  I recently wrote a blog on this topic titled “Online Fundraising: It’s Not About the Money,” which is true for several reasons (in descending priority):

  1. Engagement: Online fundraising is a great way to engage supporters.  Each campaign is an opportunity for great stewardship and a way to show off progress your organization is making toward its mission
  2. New Donor Acquisition: A significant number of donors to a campaign are new supporters with whom an organization can connect
  3. Generational Prerequisite: Without a clear way to give online, organizations don’t pass the litmus test expected younger generations, especially. It’s crucial that an organization presents a solid, branded view to its donors
  4. Money: Well-run online campaigns can do quite well for an organization, but it still takes work. There is no “magic money” in online fundraising

Did we miss any others?  Are there other significant side benefits that you’d like to add? Have you seen success with crowdfunding with your annual plans?  Do you frame crowdfunding in a different strategic light? Additionally, if you are still holding back and haven’t jumped in yet, we’d love to hear why.

Another challenge that we are looking forward to discussing at the LCS relates to new “supporter” acquisition or the “donor acquisition funnel.”  We are curious to hear from others as to whether they have specific tactics or experience in the following:

  1. Acquiring new supporters
  2. Keeping them engaged
  3. Cultivating a long-term relationship with them
  4. Turning them into evangelists for your cause
  5. Building up that pipeline to turn them into major donors later on down the road

We’d love to see if there is a high-level framework that could be developed during the conference that would be beneficial to others in the nonprofit sector.  Beyond that, it would be great to identify useful metrics for measuring conversion through each of these steps and brainstorm ways to move people through the process for increased pipeline build-up. Finally, figuring out ways to leverage technology to keep track of this and measure success could be crucial for helping nonprofits develop solid practices to build up their giving network.

Outside of those specific challenges that are important to us, we are really excited to hear about and participate in discussions around the other challenges that folks are facing these days.  See everyone in September!

Aaron Godert
CTO and Co-Founder
Aaron is COO and Co-Founder of GiveGab, a Nonprofit Giving Platform which helps organizations go beyond basic fundraising to raise more, engage more, and do more by giving them the tools to build long-lasting relationships with their supporters for repeat giving. He leads all operational teams including product management, inbound sales and marketing, engineering, customer success, and design. He also serves as a director of the company on the GiveGab board. He is an entrepreneur and technical leader with over fifteen years of experience across a wide breadth of industries including nonprofit, consumer, social, higher-ed, banking, consulting, and open source software development. He has served as a board officer for number of nonprofits and currently serves on the Cornell Club of Ithaca board of directors as President. Aaron received his MBA from Cornell University and Queen's University, MEng in Computer Science from Cornell University, and BS in Computer Science from Canisius College.