Donations and crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a way of raising money for a specific project using the internet and social media networks to raise small amounts of money from a lot of people (cumulatively, this can equal a lot of fundraising dollars).

It also allows you to describe and promote your cause to get your supporters, sponsors friends, family, club members and your community to donate so you can reach your funding goal.

You must reach the goal you have set out before any money is collected. For example, if your community pledge $4999 in total at the end of your campaign and your goal was $5000 no money is collected and no money donated to your club.

There are a number of crowdfunding platforms out there in the marketplace including:

  • Kickstarter
  • indiegogo
  • Pozbile
  • Gofundme

Your club will need to set up a page online through a crowd funding site, which is usually step by step and not complicated.

The page will need to provide a clear overview of a club project or cause (eg. Extension of the kitchen or more playing equipment), the amount of money sought and exactly what it will be used for.

The club project page also has the ability to host multimedia so clubs can post videos, music or photos to support their fundraising cause.

It is a good idea to put some thought into the development and creativity of the multimedia explaining why it is so important for people to support your club’s cause.

The objective of the multimedia is to be engaging and to get people to share it with their friends on social media.

When setting up your fundraiser you will also need to consider incentives and rewards for those who donate. Supporters of the cause can donate as little as a dollar but the more creative and awesome the rewards are, the more money your club is likely to make.

The most successful projects on crowdfunding platforms have offered a unique gift or product in return for a pledge, been well communicated, have been clearly set out with goals and were driven by strong social media networks.

Gifts for pledges can range from stickers to club memberships, in fact gifts for pledges are limited only by the club’s imagination but they must be seen as something of value in order to attract funds. For example, for a $10 pledge, the donor receives a club beanie, a $100 pledge gets a 1-hour remedial massage.

Why Crowdfunding?

Online fundraising requires minimal volunteer time and allows for most of it to be taken up in promoting the fundraiser and the initial setup online.

It also allows for funds to be raised externally to your club’s members and supporters and offers an easy accessible way for people to donate.

When should I hold this fundraiser?

Crowdfunding can be held at any time during the year.

Key Activities

These are the tasks you will need to consider assigning to volunteers at your club:

Before launching your crowdfunding campaign

  • Decide on the project or program you would like to raise funds for
  • Choose which crowdfunding platform your club will use.
  • Contact and register your club
  • Create any media you would like to include online
  • Set up the fundraiser on the crowdfunding Platform

While your campaign is running

  • Share and promote the online donations to your community and beyond
  • Monitor the page
  • Continue to update the wider community and your members and supporters on how the fundraising is going

After your target has been reached and your club’s campaign has finished

  • Publicly thank everyone involved along the way
  • Announce the amount of money raised in club newsletters, on social media, website and around the club
  • Ensure all rewards and incentives are carried out and fulfilled. This is important to ensure that future fundraising efforts will continue to be supported.

Who can help?

It is important to engage your members to help in raising fundraiser.

For a crowdfunding campaign you could approach them to help:

  • Set up the project or program that you will be funding
  • Set up the crowdfunding page
  • Share the fundraiser with their communities
  • Help fulfil all of the rewards and incentives promised to those who donated

You could also approach current club sponsors to see if they would help spread the word, donate funds or donate rewards or incentives.

Recruiting your people

It is important to create a culture of volunteering at your club to help not only with fundraising but also across the day to day running of your club. For more on how to create this at your club, click here.

Using technology to make it easier

This fundraiser can be very successful if technology is utilised well. This will allow the workload on your volunteers to be reduced and increase your fundraising dollars through increased reach.

Having this kind of fundraising option online means the page can be easily shared by your members and supporters. It is a good idea to remind your members and supporters to share the page throughout the year.

Another great part of online fundraising is that donations can be made at any time of the day or night.

Your club may then also like to use social media, email newsletters and your club website to promote the page to continue to reach as many people as possible.

You may like to live stream updates on fundraising amounts to help build excitement and awareness.

Financial Considerations

Crowdfunding targets are not reached 50% of the time, usually due to  a lack of promotion to the project/cause.

If clubs are going to use crowdfunding to raise funds they need to spend time to make their fundraising page interesting and drive the promotion using tools like social media.

Very few clubs have tried crowd funding. It will take time, effort and constant communication to get traction but when it does the money build quickly.

The money is not given to your club until you reach the target, and campaign is over. It is important for your club to plan around when the money will be coming in.

The more your page is shared and the more people that know about your fundraiser the more likely it is that you will be able to raise significant funds.


Crowdfunding pages are best promoted in-house using:

  • Club website
  • Email Newsletter
  • Noticeboard
  • Signs around the club (especially the canteen)
  • Blackboards
  • Club Facebook and Twitter.

It is a great idea to encourage your club community to share your page with as many people as possible as a tax deductible donation has many benefits for large groups in the community.

Communication considerations
A crowdfunding campaign’s success is heavily reliant on your club’s ability to communication online. You can use social media to promote your page and to keep the community updated on how your fundraising is going. You can also live stream updates on fundraising targets to help build excitement and awareness.

What can go wrong? (Risk Management)

Not reaching your target

The money given is a pledge. If the amount needed for the project is not reached in the set timeframe, all pledges will be cancelled and no transactions take place.

If not promoted consistently there is a risk of your club not reaching the target. It is important to ensure there are continual reminders and promotion in your community and regular monitoring of the donations.

Licenses and Permits

Clubs need to check with their state or territory regulatory body to make sure they have all the required permissions to have a crowdfunding campaign.

It is also important to contact your insurance company to ensure your public liability insurance policies cover the fundraiser.

Additional Factors to consider

Rewards and Incentives

Rewards and incentives for your community are important to help raise significant funds and to reach your crowdfunding goal. These are only limited by your imagination. Here is a list of some suggestions you might like to consider:

  • $1 donation will get you a hug and the clubs gratitude
  • $10 donation will get you a club sticker
  • $50 donation will get you a stubby holder
  • $100 donation will get you a club membership
  • $150 donation a club membership and club polo
  • $500 donation all the above plus the right to sit in the coaches box on one game day
  • $1,000 donation allows all the above plus something special and unique to your club.

Online Donations

While a crowdfunding makes online donating easy, your club will also need to consider those who are not comfortable donating online.

There will need to be an option available for donations to be made in person and then these may need to be manually entered on their behalf.

Keys to Success

There are a few key actions to help your club’s crowdfunding campaign succeed:

  • Plan your project, understand who you will approach and how. Most projects are busy on the first and last week then plateau during the middle, plan for this.
  • Clearly articulate why you are seeking funding and don’t be afraid to make it attention grabbing and emotive. You can use videos, photos and music.
  • Make donors feel special by giving kudos to the donor with appropriate and unique rewards, public acknowledgement and thanks.
  • Don’t beg but do be persistent and focused, keep updates consistent but not over the top. Celebrate and thank successes, include people to be part of the project’s journey and success.
  • People will donate because they know and love the club or because they love what you are doing. Work on engaging that emotional connection and value with donors. The video and gifts can reflect this most easily.
  • The ideal time frame for a project is 40-50 days, the average total donation is around $50. Try not to have too many donation options, (rather than $20, $30, $40 & $50 donor rewards, have $20 & $50) keep it simple and make it easy. Creative, unique and fun projects that enhance the community are the ones that are inviting for people to join in on. A project to raise funds for a new rubber dingy, to be launched with a bottle of champers, containing videos of the kids from the Surf Life Saving Club singing a song about why they need a new dinghy, and a message from the president explaining that the dingy is needed to save lives, is more likely to attract funds than a block of text that simply says: ‘We are a Surf Life Saving Club and we need you to help us raise money to get a new dinghy’.
  • Promote, promote and promote. Tell all your club members to visit the project page and donate and get them to share the page with their networks. Use Facebook and twitter to promote your page and cause.

Additional Revenue Opportunities

Your club can run any other fundraising activities at your club while your crowdfunding campaign is on, but be aware not to expect too much in terms of donations from your community.


This procedure should be treated as a guide only. Your club should seek advice specific to the needs of your club and event. Seek further details from authorities and service providers; especially in regards to insurance, licences, permits, spectator and participant safety.