Crowdfunding is a way of raising small cash contributions from a large number of supporters, rather than large amounts from one or a few sources. It is generally done through dedicated crowdfunding websites or ‘platforms’.

Individuals contribute online towards the target amount a group wants to raise for their project. The majority of platforms operate an ‘all-or-nothing’ funding model. If the target amount is not met or exceeded in a given time period, funding does not proceed and supporters get their money back.

There is a wide variety of crowdfunding websites so do your research to find the one that’s right for your project. Platforms generally take a cut of the money raised if the fundraising campaign is successful.

Find out more

The Institute of Fundraising has produced a useful guide to selecting and using online platforms.

NESTA's introductory guide to crowdfunding called "Working the Crowd" includes some top tips:

  • Budget – before you think about launching a crowdfunding campaign, make sure you have a realistic budget in place.
  • Choose the best platform for your campaign – before you launch your campaign, think carefully about which platform will be best suited for what you are trying to achieve.
  • Clarity and transparency – be clear on what you are trying to achieve and how the money you raise will be used.
  • Tell a compelling story – make a short and engaging pitch that outlines your plans.
  • Pre-launch – get potential funders interested long before you launch your fundraising campaign.
  • Segment funders – get your core community of supporters to contribute early on to demonstrate momentum to other potential supporters.
  • Market and target – use mail outs, blogs and social media to spread the word.
  • Use stretch targets – break your funding goal into multiple targets to gauge appetite from your supporters for different variations of the project and increase the total amount you can raise.
  • Communicate with your supporters – keep engaging and communicating with your funders when progress is going well but also when it is not.
  • Learn from other campaigns – before, during and after your fundraising there will be lots of easy wins for your campaign in copying what has already worked for others.

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