Crowdfunding and Younger Donors


By Robyn Furness-Fallin and Kali Righter

According to a recent report released by Soraya Alexander, Classy President & GoFundMe COO, Gen Z might just become one of the most charitable generations yet. She states, “While they aren’t giving the same amounts older generations are, they have the largest growth potential. This shows just how important giving back is to younger generations. They vote with their dollars and are willing to make sacrifices to give to the causes they believe in.”

The recent GivingUSA report for 2022 showed just that.

For the first time, Gen Z (individuals born between 1996 and 2010) gave more than Millennials (individuals born between 1981 and 1996) according to Giving USA 2022.

One of both Millennials and Gen Zs preferred giving methods is donation-based crowdfunding1 which is defined as asking for a small donation from a large group of people. Common examples of donation-based crowdfunding include raising money to cover medical expenses or an unexpected financial crisis or raising funds for local projects like a community garden or new park.2

The concept of crowdfunding may instantly call to mind GoFundMe, one of the most popular crowdfunding platforms, but the two aren’t synonymous. Crowdfunding is a strategy and GoFundMe is one of many tools one can use to run a crowdfunding effort.

For many nonprofits crowdfunding may feel out of reach for many reasons: their case for support doesn’t seem to match the most commonly funding efforts on crowdfunding platforms; their access to the technology and bandwidth to manage another platform are limited; they’re not sure that the time and effort of running a crowdfunding campaign are worth it.

While those are all understandable, the crowdfunding market is projected to grow to $3.6 billion by 2030.3 It is therefore well worth your time and energy as a nonprofit leader to figure out how your nonprofit can leverage crowdfunding to ensure its mission, critical work and impact within your community continues.

Peer to peer campaigns are an easy solution as they share many similarities with crowdfunding efforts:

  • Gifts are made online.
  • Communications happen through digital channels.
  • Stories are shared and asks are made from a first person perspective.

Here are some simple tips to consider if you want to explore the world of peer-to-peer giving:

  1. REPRIORITIZE peer-to-peer campaigns

    Peer to peer campaigns have been around for quite some time. You’ve likely either used them before or are using them now but in a limited capacity. Perhaps your first experience was negative based on the new technology of the time or the willingness of your staff and volunteers to adopt the technology. Perhaps they’ve found a comfortable home in a specific niche like special events, or perhaps you’ve always wanted to try it, but other priorities simply kept getting in the way.

Now is the time to refocus and give them some real attention and energy. It will take some time for these efforts to be fully adopted and reach their full revenue potential, so the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll reach that point with incremental growth and improvement each year.

  1. RESEARCH technology

Crowdfunding platforms can require additional fees, so the first place to start is by evaluating the technology you already have. Many donor databases either already include a peer-to-peer tool or offer one that integrates with your current database for a small fee. If you don’t have a donor database or yours lacks a viable option, you can also leverage tools like emails and your online giving site.

The most important thing to consider with the technology is ease – ease for your donors to give (think mobile-phone friendly, and the fewest clicks possible), as well as ease for you to manage all the individuals being engaged in the effort as either a campaigner or donor.

  1. REFOCUS communications

Individuals want to know WHO they are giving to in a clear, transparent way. They want to know their gift will have a true and sincere impact.

Work with your volunteers and staff that are reaching out to their peers to craft a story that truly taps into the impact your organization has that they are most passionate about. Help them find someone who was truly impacted and work with them to tell that individual’s story in a way that is respectful.


What has been your experience with crowdfunding?



  1. Blackbaud Institute “The Next Generation of American Giving”
  3. Statista
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