Crowdfunding Working Group

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The Crowdfunding Working Group brings together leaders from organizations and social enterprises that use, support, or develop crowdfunding and peer-to-peer platforms as a mechanism for giving. Members are interested in understanding the unique motivations of crowdfunding donors and the dynamics that drive crowdfunding campaigns, in order to leverage the advantages they offer for the benefit of service providers and beneficiaries. As crowdfunding continues to grow in popularity, it will be essential to not only understand the landscape, but set the course for the future.

Recent Activity and Updates

July 2021 Meeting - Follow up and Next Steps

On July 29th, GivingTuesday convened the members of the Crowdfunding Working Group to conduct the third working group work session of 2021. Together, representatives and stakeholders from a range of organizations involved in crowdfunding and peer-to-peer giving activities lent their perspective on knowledge gaps and information challenges unique to this mode of giving and to social giving in general. The discussions revolved around key research questions and approaches that could equip those who rely on this giving mechanism with tools to make evidence-based decisions.

Striving to push beyond results measurement and identify areas of research that can inform strategies moving forward, the working group honed in on several potential research areas. The topics identified include questions that aim to both support new applicable insights and best practices for crowdfunders specifically, as well as questions about community dynamics that could result in valuable insight to be leveraged by the broader philanthropic ecosystem in a multitude of ways. The following areas of interest emerged as jumping off points to inform the next round of research scoping. We would love to hear from organizations and leaders who are ready to participate:

  1. How can we better define and segment crowdfunding and adjacent giving mechanisms to allow for more precise analyses? As crowdfunding and other peer-to-peer giving platforms develop and mature, distinct features, styles, users, and activities, and campaign types are emerging. Ensuring we have a shared sector-wide understanding of what “crowdfunding” and related activities do and do not encompass will enable us to identify trends that might otherwise be obscured. We will then be better equipped to explore topics like how giving via the various types of crowdfunding compares to broaders donation benchmarks, or the extent to which crowdfunding is potentially a superior mechanism for rapid response to emergencies.

  2. Recognizing that donors to crowdfunding campaigns are a distinct subset of donors with their own characteristics, what can we learn about these individuals to better steward them (or the people who influence them)? It is clear that a donor to a crowdfunding campaign must be engaged differently from standard org donors. Understanding their unique donor identity and engaging with them in a way that allows them reap the emotional rewards of giving could be key in converting them to recurring donors. What can we learn about them to ensure they are being reached in a way that aligns with their needs and expectations? What else can we learn about their offline giving behaviors, what other generosity based activities they are engaging in, and what type of philanthropic content is reaching them? What kind of affinity analysis could we conduct to inform our approach to engaging these types of donors, and especially the people who influence them to give?

  3. What crowdfunding best practices can we point to for organizations interested in launching a crowdfunding campaign? Crowdfunding offers a unique set of advantages (rapid and targeted messaging, network effects) that make it an increasingly popular option for organizations seeking to reach new audiences. What data-driven advice can we offer organizations that seek to leverage these advantages for their campaigns? Where are stewarding resources best allocated? What is the ideal communication cadence? What A/B tests can we design to determine what kind of asks are most effective (restricted vs. unrestricted amount, general cause vs. specific impact measure)? How do campaigns that allow for funding a cause compare to traditional, single-recipient campaigns? What can we discover and share with orgs about donor profiles who may be interested in their work but ignored in outreach?

  4. At its core, crowdfunding is social giving. How can we better understand the concept of community across cultures and the dynamics and trends of global charitable community giving, in order to inform our approach to crowdfunding? Grasping how people conceptualize their communities, how they communicate within those communities, and how they express generous behavior is fundamental to understanding how and why crowdfunding works. To ensure crowdfunding (and other types of philanthropic campaigns) remain relevant, useful tools for people who want to give, we must understand things like:

    • How the shift to engaging with networks privately instead of publicly correlates to changes in participation rates, activities, and the crowdfunding effectiveness.
    • How people are mobilizing (often in invisible ways) to support philanthropic outcomes outside of the formal nonprofit ecosystem
    • The giving motivations of those communities. If community is such a strong theme of 2020 how can our platform support and facilitate these interactions?

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