Thanks to platforms such as Kickstarter, 100 Days, I Believe In You, Projektstarter, Startnext or I Care For You, crowdfunding has now established itself as an instrument for the crowdfunding of innovative projects or business ideas. And NPOs are no longer unfamiliar with crowdfunding either. It is a sensible alternative for financing projects for NPOs that are dependent on resources. NPOs are only gradually opening up to this financing option. Thus, the cultural, music and film scenes in particular can draw on their first experiences.

The concept of crowdfunding is based on a large number of people (crowd) providing financial resources (fund) for cultural, social or commercial projects. The communication between the crowd (investors/providers) and the capital recipient (in this case the NPO as service provider) is internet-based - as is the collection of financial resources. The internet community generates the necessary financial means for the realisation of the project within a previously defined framework, in which, for example, a time component (usually 30, 50 or 80 days), participation in the project or also consideration are defined.

Detailed project descriptions, videos and photos are essential for the successful implementation of such crowdsourcing campaigns. In this way, big things can be achieved through many small donations. In most cases, the all-or-nothing principle is also applied: if the targeted amount is reached over the previously defined period of time, the money flows and the project can be realised. Otherwise, the amounts flow back to the donors.

Reasons for the (still) prevailing reluctance of NPOs towards crowdfunding are mainly:

  • insufficient financial, human and time resources,
  • lack of know-how,
  • the sometimes erroneous opinion of not having suitable projects.

Nevertheless, crowdfunding should be taken seriously as a tool to activate existing supporters or to attract new donors. Demographic change and changing media use pose new challenges for NPOs.

Crowdsourcing opens up the opportunity to address and mobilise young people directly and online through "their" medium. In addition, there is the opportunity to reach target groups that an NPO might miss out on with traditional fundraising methods. For smaller organisations that raise funds through traditional channels, monitoring the crowdfunding scene is essential in order not to miss the shift of the donor market into the digital realm and to build up the corresponding know-how.

Martin Waldau
Project Manager Digital Media

University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland
University of Applied Sciences
[email protected]


Posted in Crowdfunding, Fundraising, Donations

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