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Crowdfunding: How to Raise Money for a Mission Trip Online

A few months ago, we gave you 31 ideas for hosting fundraisers for upcoming mission trips. Many of those ideas were fun and creative – but they required a physical presence or a fundraising representative at your church to be on site. This time, however, we’d like to help you reach new supporters – moving beyond your friends and family by sharing best practices for how to raise money for your mission trip online.

First of all, what is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a fundraising method that has become fairly common for the modern non-profit organization. You often see these in situations like disaster relief (everyone donates $X to help with hurricane-stricken areas for example), or to step in and fund a medical bill for a friend who’s encountered an unexpected tragedy.

Why consider crowdfunding for your mission trip?

Crowdfunding in ministry has become a popular way for mission trip participants to hit their support goals. It leverages the collective effort of your personal network and the people they’re connected to, in order to generate donations.

Since each person who participates is encouraged to share the opportunity on their own social network, you end up reaching new and broader audiences with your message and fundraising campaign.

If you’re organizing fundraising efforts for your mission trip, crowdfunding offers three primary benefits, including:

  • Increased reach for your overall message
  • Automation of activities (such as sending receipts, asking for shares, sending thank you’s, etc)
  • Reporting that includes goal-tracking metrics

Additionally, both you and your contributors can benefit from the convenience of any time, anywhere donations. 

How do I get started raising money for a mission trip online?

Whether you’ve launched your local fundraising efforts or not, adding crowdfunding to your list of ideas is easy. The only thing you need is a bank account, time, and dedication.

Three steps to get your crowdfunding campaign set up for your mission trip:

STEP 1

Pick the crowdfunding platform that is right for you.

eFrom the ever-popular GoFundMe, to specialized platforms like DonateKindly, not every crowdfunding technology is created equal. Some collect fees, others charge for processing. Pick one that aligns with the needs of your fundraising campaign and assures the most money possible hits your pocket.

>>Keep reading for information about our recommendations for crowdfunding platforms.<<


STEP 2

Get started early and get the message out to your audience!

We recommend getting started early by creating an online presence. The most successful fundraising efforts get people excited and interested in a cause before launching. Try sending out updates via social media or starting a blog that highlights your mission and what you will be doing. Publish and share this regularly, such as once a week leading up to the campaign going live. If you are already sharing updates about the mission trip regularly, connecting your crowdfunding initiative will be easy!

STEP 3

Promote your campaign everywhere you can.

Let people know how they can get involved — and remind them often. Remember, just because this is an online campaign, you’re not limited to digital tactics alone. Yes, reach out via email and through social media, but don’t forget the basics, such as posters, letters, postcards, and friends telling friends! Don’t be afraid to share your story and your mission trip fundraising goal with everyone you know. It’s still important to ask someone to be part of the impact you’re going to make with the mission trip.

What are the best crowdfunding platforms for mission trips?

There aren’t necessarily any standouts specifically for mission trips, but there are a couple of popular crowdfunding platforms that are preferred by nonprofit organizations worldwide. Check out which ones we like and how they might fit into your fundraising activities.

GoFundMe  GoFundMe is quintessentially the most popular fundraising website for personal fundraising efforts. People know it and use it regularly. If you’re looking for a platform that already resonates with supporters, this one should be your first choice.

Kinds of campaigns:

  1.  Charity
  2.  Personal

 

Are there fees?

  1.  The platform is free
  2.  Transaction and processing fees are collected

Fundly Fundly is one of the top choices for one-time crowdfunding campaigns for nonprofit organizations. The platform allows you to create a customized fundraising page and promote your cause with online updates via social media.

Kinds of campaigns:

  1.   Charity
  2.   Personal

 

Are there fees?

  1.   The platform is free
  2.   Fees (including a platform fee, transaction fee, and processing fee) are collected if you can successfully raise money
  3.   Fees decrease with larger campaigns

 

Indiegogo If you expect donations from across the world to support your fundraiser, try Indiegogo. It is one of the only platforms that make global crowdfunding easy, accepting international deposits in USD, EUR, CAD, and GBP.

Kinds of campaigns:

  1.   Charity
  2.   Personal
  3.   Start-up

 

Are there fees?

  1.   The platform charges a fee
  2.   Transaction and processing fees are collected
  3.   Some fees are discounted for nonprofit organizations

Donorbox If you want to embed an easy-to-find donation form on your website, Donorbox offers the most flexible options. It accepts almost all online payment methods and includes the ability to schedule recurring donations.

Kinds of campaigns:

  1.   Charity
  2.   Personal
  3.   Start-up

 

Are there fees?

  1.   The platform is free if you collect less than $1000 per month
  2.   Transaction and processing fees are collected, but supporters can choose to cover them during their transaction
  3.   Some fees are discounted for nonprofit organizations

 

DonateKindly – If you are supporting a mission trip that is an ongoing effort, using DonateKindly can help you collect donations year-round. The system embeds a free donation tool directly into your website and is used primarily by nonprofits.

Kinds of campaigns:

  1.   Charity

 

Are there fees?

  1.   The platform is free
  2.   Transaction and processing fees are collected

Conclusion

Adding crowdfunding to your existing list of mission trip fundraising ideas can help you reach your fundraising goals faster.  Plus, it helps people decide to support the mission trip if they didn’t have an opportunity to give at an in-person event. 

Remember, the key to a successful crowdfunding campaign is choosing the right online platform to support your goals and meet supporters’ needs. No matter which platform you choose, the same tips for mission trip fundraising success apply:

  1.   Make it personal.
  2.   Promote your cause with fun and engaging content
  3.   Always personally thank your donors for their generosity.

Good luck, and may God bless you on your upcoming journey!

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