Nonprofit Web Design Solutions: Crowd Funding Part 1

Crowd funding, sometimes referred to as crowd sourcing, is an online phenomenon that began fairly recently. It is based on age-old models of cooperative funding like the Irish Loan Fund from the 1700s, which provided micro loans to poverty stricken rural families and has evolved into popular micro lending models such as those developed by Dr. Mohammad Yunus, which providing much needed capital to small businesses in India. Cooperatives and businesses are now utilizing the internet to achieve similar goals to help small businesses with startup capital and, more recently, have shifted to provide online platforms for nonprofit organizations to achieve fundraising goals for specific projects.

Current examples of successful website platforms for nonprofit fundraising include,,,, and What all these platforms have in common is the logic of their platforms – they all typically display current causes for donors to easily find and get involved, simple membership signup forms for new organizations to come on board and post their causes, tracking systems to watch funding totals increase and goals reached, and social networking for donors and causes to communicate.

CrowdRise includes a voting function whereby users can assign points to members, not only based the validity of their cause or money donated, but also on the amount of effort they put in to recruit other donors and members. This “rewards” approach has proved very successful for CrowdRise causes to quickly become viral, spreading throughout communities quickly to gain new memberships. Additional assistance for the quickly gained popularity of CrowdRise is that its primary founder is actor Edward Norton, so the venture gets much more potent exposure than its competitors through television spots with Edward and other celebrities. These online donation platforms all make a profit by taking a small percentage of each donation, varying from 2% – 7%.

How well do these online fundraising platforms perform for causes?  Follow our next installment at:

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