Why crowdfunding fizzled for nonprofits and why DIY is taking off.

Blog October 29, 2015 By Kevin Wolfe


Last year every nonprofit was buzzing about that trendy, new, crowdfunding stuff. But this year...crickets.

A quick search of Google news shows crowdfunding articles that mention nonprofits are down 47% for this month over the same period last year. During those same months, news of DIY or third-party fundraising grew dramatically. (Last year a DonorDrive press release was the only news article to mention DIY that month, while this year there were 43 news articles.) What happened that caused nonprofits to shift from this test drive of crowdfunding to permanently adopting their own peer-to-peer DIY software?

It’s fairly simple: It was a matter of control. Organizations quickly discovered that most crowdfunding sites gave them no control over donors, dollars and data. When they directed their participants to these sites, they were lured away by the smorgasbord of causes there. Organizations were sometimes having big fees ripped out of their donations before they received them. And nonprofits often weren’t even told who the donors were to thank them. Meanwhile organizations were discovering that DIY could give them complete branded control over self-directed fundraising with their own peer-to-peer DIY fundraising program.

DIY is a proven success.

As an innovator in the DIY movement, DonorDrive’s Personal Campaigns offered organizations an easy-to-use, branded DIY platform since 2009, long before the crowdfunding fad hit. As a result, many of our clients long ago started using DIY and made it a revenue stream. The moment their supporters knew they could create their own campaigns, they did. 

DIY is generating more.

Many organizations saw crowdfunding bring in pocket change. By contrast DonorDrive clients are not only seeing success with DIY, they’re seeing substantial amounts raised per campaign. Our recent research into DIY Fundrasing Superstars  examined DIY campaigns in DonorDrive that generated over $5,000 each to reveal that super supporters love doing them and many do them in addition to event participation. Plus, DIY campaigns bring in more than event participation, substantially more. The average DIY campaigner in DonorDrive raised 513% more than the average event participant. 

The average DIY campaigner in DonorDrive raised 513% more than the average event participant. 

For nonprofits the biggest task in starting a DIY program is teaching staff and supporters what DIY is and how it can be used in lieu of wedding gifts, to celebrate other life events, for remembrances, to fundraise in commercial marathons and much more. Once constituents know they can create their own DIY campaign, they usually just run with it from there.

Is this the “Year of DIY Fundraising?”

While we've seen a 54% growth in DIY campaigns in DonorDrive this year, the trend is nowhere near its peak. As a matter of fact, nonprofits are still exploring its potential and coming up with new uses for DIY all the time. As more and more organizations adopt DIY and dedicate staff to promoting their programs, we expect to see the growth pattern escalate beyond the end of the decade.

DonorDrive’s DIY data and CRMs.
Since an average DIY campaigner generates five times what an event participant does, organizations feel it’s vital to build relationships with these supporters. The extensive DIY campaign data available in DonorDrive, including custom fields, gives nonprofits a more complete picture of the campaign, the campaigner and their donors. DonorDrive syncs this data to best-of-class CRMs, including Raiser’s Edge (with ImportOmatic® 3.0), Salesforce®  and ClearView. By connecting DonorDrive’s proven enterprise-level DIY fundraising to their CRM, such as Raiser’s Edge, our clients have the most effective tools available today for building supporter relationships. 


Want more on DIY? We have a great book on how to build your own program. Download it below.