Crowdfunding: The activity or process of raising money from a large number of people, typically through a website, as for a project or small business (Webster).
Most likely you have heard of Kickstarter, GoFundMe, Indiegogo and a few other similar sites. They are great sites for what they do and the people they serve, but can they apply to the church vertical? The answer is not as simple as one might think.

GoFundMe is a great tool and probably the platform most used by churches, ministries and nonprofits; its primary focus, however, is on personal fundraising, having raised more than $760 million in the personal space. GoFundMe charges 5 percent of your total donations raised, plus 2.9 percent and 30 cents for every transaction. Fees can add up quickly when you are raising money for a mission trip.

Kickstarter does not allow personal fundraising. It is strictly for new business ventures, products or projects. As with GoFundMe, a 5 percent fee applies, but the processing fee for transactions is higher, generally in the 3 to 5 percent range.

There is a new tool coming to market in the church, ministry and nonprofit verticals called giiive. giiive is a fundraising platform that serves churches, ministries and nonprofits. Its fee is a flat 5 percent for access to the platform; the processing fee is included.

There are many differences in what giiive offers that I consider advantages. First, giiive understands the church and nonprofit verticals, living them every day. The founders are believers who attend a church in the Atlanta area. They have a passion for serving the body of Christ. This is evident not only in their low-fee structure, but also in their service of only churches and ministries.

The giiive model is a top-down approach, meaning individuals can’t sign up for a giiive account on their own. The organization creates a giiive account and adds fundraising initiatives to the platform. Access has to be granted via email from the organization of which the individual is a part. For example, let’s say I want to raise $1,500 for a mission trip to Haiti next summer. My church signs up to offer giiive to its members. The church pays nothing. Members who need to raise money to go on the mission trip are able to construct their own microsite on the platform. The church controls the main message and content on the first page, and the individuals are able to tell a little about themselves and why they feel God’s calling to go on the mission trip. The church staff and volunteers are able to track and manage the progress and details of donations, tasks and deadlines through real-time reporting. As an individual (giiive calls them “doers”), I receive my donations online, and they automatically are credited to the organization and causes I have selected to be a part of or support. Doers also are able to track the progress of their donation goals and keep supporters updated on the impact of their contributions.

With giiive, the days of addressing envelopes—including self-addressed, stamped return envelopes and long, hand-written letters to potential donors—are long gone. Individuals are able to share their giiive page via social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, affording others the opportunity to share the page, as well. Because giiive is set up at the organizational level and not the individual level as other crowdfunding sites, every dollar given is tax deductible.

It’s not just limited to mission trips; giiive can be used to raise money for a new roof on the church, a new youth wing, chairs for the worship center, waxing for the gym floor or for a capital campaign.

So, if your church has been dabbling in the crowdfunding space or considering it, I urge you to explore what giiive offers. To learn more visit the website at giiive.com.

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