[4/6] 10 Things to Consider Before Implementing a Crowdfunding Solution in Your Educational Institution

We have seen how peer-to-peer fundraising can be added to your crowdfunding efforts to reach the wider community and how, when managed in the correct way, this level of social fundraising can help support your advancements teams’ core mission . But there are thousands of solutions to choose from, so knowing what to look for is critical when planning the expansion of your online fundraising.

10 Things to Consider Before Implementing a Crowdfunding Solution in Your Educational Institution

1) Appearance & Brand – 20% of people who donate online don’t know which non-profit they donated to. It sounds obvious, but make sure you can brand your solution with your look and feel.

2) Project Hub – As you scale up your social fundraising efforts, ensure your provider has the capacity to provide a single microsite or ‘hub’ to bring together all of your fundraising projects.

3) Data Integration – Your chosen platform must integrate effectively with your CRM database. Some solutions provide free data integration tools and technical support to ensure this can be done seamlessly. And of course, you must ensure you receive 100% of the donor data as this is likely to be the single biggest long-term benefit from social fundraising.

4) Financial & Legal Requirements – All funds raised must be in line with your institution’s legal, data protection, PCI-DSS, HMRC and other financial processing rules.

5) Flexibility & Peer-to-Peer Capabilities – Make sure the platform can handle both direct donations to the project and peer-to-peer fundraising, so people can create their own fundraising pages to support the campaign. You should be able to switch this on and off on a project-by-project basis.

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6) Engagement & Social Sharing – Allowing you and the fundraiser to regularly post updates and share to social media at the click of a button. Your platform should also help you recognise your volunteers’ efforts, beyond just the amount of money they have donated or raised.

7) Events – There is a sizeable opportunity for alumni to raise funds through events like physical challenges on behalf of their university or school if they are asked. So you want to be able to directly integrate event registration in to these fundraising projects when applicable.

8) Teams – Whether they be houses, colleges, clubs, societies, year-groups, you need to be able to allow teams to combine their efforts and display in team leaderboards to harness the power of gamification.

9) Maximising Donations – You’ve put in the hard work getting potential supporters to your project, now make the most of it. Incentivise higher levels of giving by promoting rewards and recognition at different levels. Another great way to do this is to ask donors to absorb the cost of online transactions so that the full value of the original donation benefits your institution.

10) Hitting Your Target & Offline Fundraising – It’s important you receive all of the funds raised for philanthropic crowdfunding, even if you don’t hit your target. It’s less desirable to reimburse funds to donors when you are raising money for core priorities, as opposed to smaller, student-led initiatives. Additionally ensure the platform allows you to add your offline fundraising efforts to your project total to incorporate donations received from elsewhere.

And a bonus point for good measure:

11) Data Analysis – The solution needs to provide you a quick and easy way to get at-a-glance information on how your projects are performing, in order to make decisions on how to market to and support your donors and fundraisers.

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The most important thing is to ensure it’s easy to grow your crowdfunding efforts over time. It needs to be quick and simple to add new projects, and allow the flow of valuable information you will receive from social fundraising to seamlessly integrate in to your advancement ecosystem.

Look out for Part 5 of this six part series next week, where we explore how to position social fundraising in your advancement programme.

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