Start your journey toward embracing crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has secured it’s foothold in the fundraising industry, make sure your organization isn’t left behind. 

Over the past decade, crowdfunding has evolved from a strategy for companies to raise capital to becoming part of our every day. Any Facebook user has the opportunity to create a crowdfunding campaign for a social cause of their choice with the simple click of a button. Like it or not, you have probably been asked to donate to a campaign on behalf of a Facebook friend’s birthday. 

Crowdfunding campaigns have the unique ability to tell compelling stories and collectively raise funds by leveraging social connections. With the right tools, small networks are able to make a large impact. 

Crowdfunding’s surge to popularity begets the questionare your chapters crowdfunding? The answer is yes, whether you know it or notChapters are showing initiative by creating their own campaigns on popular crowdfunding sites. A quick search on GoFundMe will likely find campaigns associated with your organization or its letters.  

While chapters are typically not raising funds with malicious intent, it’s important to understand the implications of funds raised in your organization’s name and the vital donor data you could be missing out on. 

With the embrace of crowdfunding came a growth in the number of platforms available. It can be challenging for chapters to cut through the noise and understand the nuance of fee structure and functionality available. By streamlining the crowdfunding tools available for your chapters, you can continue to build on their enthusiasm while at the same time gaining greater visibility, an improved return on investment and insight into donor behaviors. 

Finding the right crowdfunding solution to fit your organization’s needs does not have to be overwhelming. In this series, we’ll dive into how you can start implementing elements of a solution that will work for you, at your own pace. 

Are Your Chapter’s Crowdfunding Efforts a Mystery?

Funds raised in your organization’s name are too important to leave to chance.

Chapters have a host of fundraising tools available to them at the stroke of a key. Crowdfunding platforms have rapidly become the solution of choice, but they are not all created equally. It’s time to channel your inner Sherlock Holmes and do some investigating into your chapter’s fundraising efforts. A little detective work can go a long way in informing the steps your organization takes to set your chapters up for crowdfunding success. 



One of the easiest ways to gain visibility into your chapter’s crowdfunding is to simply search GoFundMe and see for yourself. A search for your organization’s name or letters on popular crowdfunding sites will help you gather data and give you answers to questions like:

  • What types of campaigns are your chapters running?
  • Are they raising funds for your foundation, the chapter, or a social cause? 
  • What functionality are they utilizing from the platform?
  • Are they meeting their fundraising goals? 

In additionby seeing what chapters are using the tools you can quickly identify passionate chapters that are eager to make an impact. These early adopters would make for great pilot chapters for your new crowdfunding initiatives. It also provides an opportunity to connect with chapters if they appear to need support or guidance 



Someone in the chapter will deposit the funds raised into a bank account so that it can be donatedThis process has inherent risks and gives rise to important questions on the oversight of the funds. Whose bank account are the funds going to? Who is overseeing that the funds arrive at their intended destination? Organizations that have offered crowdfunding tools to chapters have found it beneficial to have increased visibility into the security of donations and the flow of funds.


Crowdfunding campaigns provide valuable data on who is passionate about your organization and its associated social causes. You will also be able to gain insight into donor habits and preferencesAre they donating big or small amounts? Are they buying event tickets? Are they making a general donation or going through personal pages? 

By harnessing donor data, you can monitor trends and develop a strategic roadmap for future fundraising effortsChapters can also use the data to re-engage with donors, understand who is donating, and in what amount.

Capitalize on the Buzz Around Crowdfunding

The crowdfunding market is growing rapidly; lean on the experts to get your organization’s efforts off the ground. 

With so much on your plate already, it can be intimidating to think about the steps ahead to kicking off your organization’s own crowdfunding solution. Here are ways to benefit from the excitement already happening in crowdfunding industry: 



Reach out to crowdfunding providers to get more information on pricing, technology and service offerings that your chapters may need. There are providers, such as CrowdChange, that are familiar with the fraternal industry and can speak to the specific needs of your chapters. They understand the challenges of working within the university framework and the legal obstacles that you should keep in mind. 

Processing and services fees can get expensive (not to mention confusing) for chapters, especially when they are running small campaigns for small dollars. Connecting with partners in the fraternal industry can make every dollar count instead of going directly to a multitude of fees.  



It is likely your organization is already partnering with a database provider for member management servicesAsk your provider if they offer online giving functionality and how it’s working for your peers. This can be a great way to explore if you aren’t sure that your organization is ready for a full-fledged crowdfunding solution. Most providers have some level of donation functionality available and ready to integrate. Your provider may also be able to help you benchmark with organizations similar to yours that are already using the functionality. This could open doors for you to collaborate and see what’s working for chapters and what isn’t. 



Aside from working with chapters, there may be an opportunity for you to test the waters for your foundation at a national level. Start your own crowdfunding campaign and see if there is traction with donors. You can pair the campaign with a day of giving, like #GivingTuesday, for a natural fit. The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is a global day dedicated to giving back and your organization may already be participating. Donors from around the world are tuned-in to celebrate giving back. Crowdfunding these donations to meet a goal is great way to make an impact and at the same time understand your donor’s appetite for online giving. 



Get your team involved by designating a point-person or committee that can steer the necessary decisions for the project. Prioritizing oversight of your crowdfunding strategy can help identify potential challenges, risks or opportunities. There may be an existing role that is a good fit or you can pull in cross-functional teams for diverse perspectives. For example, your Marketing, Fundraising & Development, and Chapter Services teams will likely want to contribute. Getting together an oversight team from the beginning will make sure everyone is motivated for the project to succeed. 

Leave a Lasting Legacy Through Crowdfunding

What is your long-term crowdfunding goal? One of crowdfunding’s largest benefits is its ability to make an impact with few barriers. There are two ways you can keep youchapter’s continued success at the forefront of your decision-making:

Have a plan in place to capture and securely store critical donor data. Each donation will bring new information that you can learn from. You may not have a roadmap on exactly what you plan to gain from the data, but you do not want to miss the chance to gather it for future use. Data can answer important questions like:

  • Who engages with our campaigns?
  • What communication channels are most successful? 
  • When are we getting the most engagement? 
  • How much and how frequent are our donors giving?

Learnings from these types of questions can allow you to better connect and motivate supporters. You can streamline your marketing approach or broaden it based on what you find. Drilling down into the data can uncover your supporters and help you recognize whose missingThe opportunity to utilize the data will present itself and you can rest assured that you had a strategy to capture if from the beginning. 


Crowdfunding uses technology and social networks to break down the barriers of traditional in-person or event based fundraising. Embracing alternative fundraising tools shows donors and chapters that you are willing to meet them where they are. Online giving allows for virtual connection and gives donors the freedom to make contributions on their own time for the amounts that makes sense for them. Every donor has individual routines, preferences and giving capacity. If they have a positive giving experience, there is a good chance they will be back (and maybe even hit the ‘share’ button). You’ve now opened the door to a relationship of giving in the future and crowdfunding makes that even more accessible.  

Instead of sticking to one strategy that may have worked in the past, you are embracing the enthusiasm of a new generation of supportersCrowdfunding is a powerful tool that allows for telling engaging stories. Donors will be left with a sense of goodwill that will steward them into future campaigns. Building your own crowdfunding engine can facilitate a streamlined solution for your chapters, removing the obstacles so they can focus on making a difference for years to come. 

About the author

Katie Carson is the former Marketing Specialist for Billhighway and greekbill. She oversaw the marketing strategies for all things fraternal.