Crowdfunding Guide for Nonprofits, Charities and Social Impact Projects

HiveWire Inc. and the Centre for Social Innovation

Author +
Asier Ania and Christopher Charlesworth

Year: 2015

Crowdfunding is the pooling of small amounts of capital from a large number of people, using the Internet and social media, to fund a project or business venture. As crowdfunding continues to grow rapidly in Canada, it is clear that the charitable and nonprofit sectors are increasingly turning to this important tool.

HiveWire and the Centre for Social Innovation are proud to present the 2015 Crowdfunding Guide for nonprofits and charities. With insights gained from examining over 27K nonprofit crowdfunding campaigns, this comprehensive guide will help your nonprofit or charity in the journey for crowdfunding success.

This guide is organized with a stepwise progression, so please feel free to follow the numbered sections in sequential order as you move through your crowdfunding effort.

Download the Crowdfunding Guide


Crowdfunding is fundamentally about creating and exchanging value. We encourage you to think critically about what value you are creating, why people are interested in the work you are doing, and how you can build opportunities for the crowd to participate in your efforts. At its most basic level, crowdfunding is the aggregation of small amounts of money from a large group of people via the internet in order to fund something (e.g. a business, a project, etc.).


Crowdfunding typically involves three key players: the campaigner, who is looking to raise money for a project or venture; the crowd of people who support the work; and a platform that hosts the campaign and brings together the fundraiser and the crowd. The fundraiser will start a crowdfunding campaign by creating a project page on a platform, and then ask the public to contribute funds to their effort.

The rise of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter has made it much easier for fundraisers to find people willing to contribute to their campaigns. The growth of crowdfunding, and the associated success of many crowdfunding campaigns, is now heavily attributed to social media and networks.


STEP 1: Learn The Basics About Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding 101
How does it work?
Crowdfunding Engagement: Nonprofits & Charities
Why Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding vs. Traditional Fundraising
Why People Back Your Campaign
Key Factors of Success
Should Your Organization Use Crowdfunding
STEP 2: Building Your Campaign
Anatomy of Crowdfunding Page
Creating a Great Crowdfunding Video
Video Strategies
Campaign Types: There are two basic campaign types
Types of Rewards
Reward Strategies
Metrics of Success
STEP 3: Marketing Your Campaign
Preparing Your Networks
Conducting Your Campaign
Optimizing Your Marketing
STEP 4: Executing Your Campaign
Campaign Logistics: Time Management and Workflow
Campaign Roles
STEP 5: Post Campaign
Once the Campaign is Complete
Common Mistakes & Lessons Learned
Proven Best Practices
CSI / HiveWire / ESDC
Fact Sheet 1: Campaign Execution Checklist
Fact Sheet 2: Tools
Fact Sheet 3: Choosing a Crowdfunding