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The best source for news and information about crowdfunding for good.

Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: May 2016

Investor Relations for Crowdfunded Firms Made Easy

–KCSA Strategic Communications Launches CrowdFund Communications (CFC)
–First Investor Communications Platform Developed Specifically for Companies Leveraging JOBS Act to Raise Capital

Press Release – New York City, NY – May 16, 2016 – Starting today, companies will begin selling equity stakes to non-accredited investors via Title III of The JOBS Act. Potentially thousands of companies will sell shares to millions of new investors, and these new shareholders will want to be kept abreast of the material developments of these companies.

To meet the communications needs of these newly public-like companies, KCSA Strategic Communications has created CrowdFund Communications (CFC) – a platform designed to meet the needs of companies that equity crowdfund. CFC will offer these companies a mix of consulting services, mobile investor relations app, quarterly communications content (press release, shareholder letter) and other services.

“Equity crowdfunding will help thousands of companies to access growth capital, enabling them to achieve their full potential. By selling shares to non-accredited investors, these companies will have a responsibility to regularly update their investors. While these are not New York Stock Exchange-listed companies, communicating like a large public company can be accomplished easily,” said Jeffery Goldberger, Managing Partner, KCSA Strategic Communications. “We always counsel our clients to communicate like the companies that they aspire to be, and via CrowdFund Communications, KCSA is empowering these companies to communicate like Disney, Exxon and other large public companies – but for a fraction of the cost.”

KCSA has been providing public and investor relations services since 1969 and has worked with pre-revenue start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. The New York-based strategic communications firm is noted for its work with entrepreneurial companies in the technology, financial and professional services, biotech, life sciences and energy sectors.

“KCSA’s clients look to us as strategic partners who leverage communications tactics to help them achieve their business objectives. We partner with our clients and are invested in their success,” Goldberger added. “We know that companies leveraging equity crowdfunding are activating a passionate fan-vestor base that shows loyalty via investing dollars. Keeping these passionate shareholders updated and activated is the main goal of our CrowdFund Communications offering.”

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Goldberger concluded, “We believe in the power of equity crowdfunding and know that The JOBS Act will empower thousands of companies to create millions of jobs. By giving these companies access to a low-cost communications offering based on investor relations best practices, these companies will be empowered to effectively communicate like their larger, publicly-traded brethren.”

About KCSA Strategic Communications

KCSA is a fully integrated communications agency specializing in public relations, investor relations and marketing with expertise in financial and professional services, technology, healthcare, media, energy and public services companies. Since 1969, the firm has demonstrated strategic thinking and program execution that drives results for its clients in the ever-changing communications and digital landscape. The firm’s clients are its best references. For more information, please visit www.kcsa.com.

Legion M Announces Title III Crowdfund Offering

JOBS Act Enabled Round Opens up Financing for Everyone to Participate

Press Release – Silicon Valley, CA – May 16, 2016Legion M, a fan-owned entertainment studio, launched a Title III equity crowdfunding offering on Wefunder.com today. The Company is among the first to take advantage of this new component of the JOBS Act, which is opening up private investment opportunities in startups to non-accredited investors.

The offering which starts today is to raise up to $1,000,000 worth of class A common shares at $7 per share with a minimum investment of only $98 (14 shares). The offering closes on August 14, 2016. To learn more about the investment opportunity, please visit http://www.Wefunder.com/LegionM for all the details.

Legion M works with top tier Hollywood creators and producers to develop and monetize content together with the FANS. Legion M is backed by creative partnerships with Stoopid Buddy Stoodios (team behind Robot Chicken), Meltdown Entertainment, Animal Repair Shop / 42 Entertainment and more on the way. Legion M will be developing a slate of projects in the entertainment space, including but not limited to feature films, TV series, VR projects, games, web series, etc.

About Legion M

Legion M will be the world’s first FAN-OWNED entertainment company. FANS own the company, FANS get behind the scenes, and when Legion M is successful—FANS share the rewards! Legion M co-founders Paul Scanlan and Jeff Annison are the Emmy winning team who co-founded MobiTV, the pioneer and market leader in over the top and multiscreen platforms and content monetization, as well as the New York Rock Exchange which brought Fans and the musical artists they love together in partnership.

Legion M’s mission is to empower creators to push the boundaries, and empower Fans to be a part of the content they love. Join us at www.thelegionm.com.

About Wefunder:

Wefunder helps anyone invest as little as $100 in startups they care about. We’ve democratized investing so small companies can raise money from their best fans and customers directly online. “Kickstarter for investing” is finally legal on May 16th, 2016. Starting then, anyone can invest in the next Uber or local coffee shop… not just the rich. We’ve been preparing for this day since 2012, when we helped pass the JOBS Act that made this all possible, and were invited by Congress to watch it signed into law in the Rose Garden. Let’s break the monopoly of the rich and recreate a world where friends and local communities can invest in their neighbors. Let’s help build more businesses and save the American dream. www.WeFunder.com

5 Tips for Everyday Investors Participating in Equity Crowdfunding

Equity Crowdfunding under Title III of the JOBS Act is coming to fruition next week. Many questions remain and a steep learning curve is inevitable for both investors and entrepreneurs. Under the new guidelines anyone can participate in equity crowdfunding instead of just accredited investors who meet sufficient levels of wealth. Now anyone can become a startup investor.

Amro Albanna, CEO of ieCrowd, a startup with six years of experience and over 17 Million dollars already raised, has tips to help the everyday investor make smart decisions if they decide to jump in and participate in equity crowdfunding. ieCrowd currently has two products coming to market – Kite natural mosquito repellant that blocks mosquito CO2 receptors from detecting human blood and the Nuuma air pollution sensor to create a digital nose in smartphones.

“On May 16th and beyond, a large number of startup companies are going to try to raise money using equity crowdfunding,” said Albanna. “Having been in this business for several years now, I can offer the following attributes the everyday investor should look for as they choose a company to fund.”

  1. Already raised capital. Most of these companies are going to be raising money for the first time.  If you can find one that has already been in business for a while and raised capital, you can rest assured they have already learned some of the hard lessons of starting a business.
  2. Has a Board of Directors. Typically most startups begin as a one or two person show.  Single entrepreneurs can have a one track mind and it isn’t always moving in the right direction. Companies with a solid Board of Directors can demonstrate that professionals have done their due diligence and are on board to help with strategic direction.
  3. Knows how to deal with investors. There is going to be a steep learning curve with equity crowdfunding, both for entrepreneurs and investors.  Any company that already has investors knows how to keep them informed and meet their expectations.
  4. Diversifies its offerings. Investors can diversify by investing in several different companies, or by investing in one company that has products and interests in several different markets.  Initially the risk for equity crowdfunding is fairly high but the best bet for success is diversification.
  5. Has an exit plan. A startup that already has plans for an IPO or a purchase has more potential for a successful exit where everyone makes money.

 

NextGen Announces Title III Celebration Series To Highlight New Crowdfunding Rules

Upcoming Online Events Spotlight Regulation Crowdfunding and  Platforms That Enable Entry-Level Investors to Support Small Companies  

Press Release – LOS ANGELES, May 12, 2016NextGen Crowdfunding announces its Title III Celebration Series with four online events in May and June to build awareness for the upcoming Title III equity crowdfunding rules. The new Title III rules – also known as Regulation Crowdfunding – that take effect on May 16 will enable both entry-level and experienced investors to fund startups raising up to $1 million through crowdfunding in exchange for equity shares. A number of intermediaries have registered with the SEC to handle these transactions.

The four events will feature NextGen speakers and other industry experts discussing the Title III regulations, platforms where individuals can invest and companies seeking to raise funds:

  • May 16: NextGen’s Live Coverage of Title III Launch – Coinciding with the official Title III start date, this event will provide live webcast coverage of the launch of Regulation Crowdfunding. The event will also highlight and congratulate two of the initial Title III intermediaries (also known as platforms), SeedInvest Technology, LLC and StartEngine Capital, LLC, who have registered with the SEC to host Title III offerings.  The online event starts at 2:00 p.m. PT and can be viewed HERE.
  • May 25 and June 1: Educational Webinars – These events will provide investors with information about Title III Crowdfunding and how to pursue this type of investment. The events will also help small companies learn how to raise money for their businesses through Title III. The viewers of these webinars will have the first opportunity to preview
    NextGen’s new Event Center in Los Angeles. More information can be found HERE.
  • June 15: NextGen’s Official Kickoff for Title III Crowdfunding – Thirty days into the Title III regulations taking effect, this event will provide insights into the early traction in the equity crowdfunding industry. This event will also feature a panel of platform executives discussing how the new rules are working, in practice, for both investors and startups. The event, held in the NextGen Event Center, begins at 3:30 p.m. PT and can be viewed HERE.

“On May 16 at the first event of our Title III Celebration Series, we encourage everyone to join NextGen in congratulating and recognizing two of the initial companies that have registered with the SEC as Title III platforms, SeedInvest and StartEngine,” said Aubrey Chernick, founder of NextGen Crowdfunding. “Title III is a seminal moment for the crowdfunding industry, and we look forward to working with all the platform companies who will be hosting Title III offerings to help prospective investors discover the companies trying to raise funding in this way.”

Dr. Richard Swart, NextGen’s Chief Strategy Officer and a leading crowdfunding authority, will host all four events. Swart is an advisor to the Bill & Melinda Gates, Rockefeller and Kauffman Foundations and has consulted with governments around the world on crowdfunding regulations. Joining Swart will be SeedInvest Co-Founder and CEO, Ryan Feit and StartEngine Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Howard Marks. All three will share their opinions about how Title III crowdfunding is expected to grow as a new investment type.

The upcoming events are a continuation of NextGen’s mission to help people participate in equity crowdfunding. Since launching last year, NextGen has worked to educate investors about equity crowdfunding and highlight companies seeking to raise funds through the new rules. For more information, visit www.nextgencrowdfunding.com.

About NextGen Crowdfunding, LLC

NextGen Crowdfunding helps people explore the new era of equity crowdfunding. With unique in-person events and live streaming video content, NextGen enables individuals to discover, research and support specific companies launching crowdfunding campaigns. NextGen’s unique Ignition Events showcase the innovative companies and emerging businesses presenting equity crowdfunding campaigns. NextGen also provides educational content, including online webinars, boot camps and videos, to inform the public about equity crowdfunding. NextGen also provides education to, and visibility for, companies with equity crowdfunding campaigns. As a purpose-driven company, NextGen aims to encourage entrepreneurship and help spark a new economy. Visit www.nextgencrowdfunding.com.

Legal Disclosures:

In accordance with SEC regulations, StartEngine Capital, LLC is not permitted to engage in any crowdfunding transaction involving the offer or sale of securities in reliance on Section 4(a)(6) of the Securities Act prior to May 16, 2016.

Erosion of Personal Spare Time Drives Take-Up of New On-Demand Apps, Says Seedrs

  • Online poll of UK investors and entrepreneurs shows almost two thirds (65%) have less spare personal time than five years ago
  • Almost a fifth (17%) say they have more than 10 hours a week less than they did in 2011
  • The main thief of spare personal time is additional work, which requires 32% of investors and entrepreneurs to complete more hours than in the past

Press Release – London, 12 May 2016: The growth in development of on-demand apps for everything from cleaners to couriers is being partly driven by the erosion of spare personal time, says Seedrs, the UK’s No.1 equity crowdfunding platform.

Seedrs has observed significant growth in on-demand apps that choose to raise funds on its platform including the recently launched blow LTD, which provides an app designed to suit today’s time-poor consumers with beauty services. Other brands targeting the time-poor include Neardesk which offers same day bookable shared work spaces, Wriggle, an app matching users with last-minute deals at independent eateries, Yellowdog which releases spare processing power from people’s computers, giving their users money for nothing and Vrumi which converts spare rooms in people’s homes into workspaces.

According to Seedrs’ online poll¹ of investors and entrepreneurs, almost two thirds (65%) believe they have less free personal time than five years ago, while 28% say they have more time and 7% don’t know. 17% say they have over 10 hours’ less personal spare time, while over a fifth (21%) say they have between five and 10 hours’ less personal spare time and 16% say they have between one and five hours’ less personal spare time.

The main reason for the loss of personal time is that work requires respondents to complete more hours (32%). Having children has led 13% of respondents to lose personal spare time, while having an extra job takes up previously free time for 8%. Almost a fifth (18%) didn’t know specifically where the time was going.

Interestingly, more men (30%) than women (22%) said they have more personal spare time than five years ago. However the proportion of women who had lost more than 10 hours a week over the past five years was much higher (26%) than men (15%).

Jeff Lynn, CEO and Co-founder at Seedrs, said: “The need for on-demand apps is clearly demonstrated by the wide range of apps that have raised funds on our platform over the past few years, from the HiyaCar peer to peer car sharing app to blow LTD, our most recent successful launch. Our poll demonstrates one key reason why these apps are in such demand: many of us simply don’t have the same amount of spare time that we used to have for ‘life admin’.”

Seedrs has funded more than 340 deals and had more than £110 million invested on its platform since launching in July 2012 and, according to research firm Beauhurst, is the top UK investor in technology and the most active seed-stage equity investor in the UK.

1 Survey conducted online with 99 Members of the Seedrs community

Equity Crowdfunding Portal CrowdBoarders of Texas approved by FINRA and Registered with the SEC to Commence Title III Crowdfunded Offerings on May 16th

CrowdBoarders leads the way with historic approval for equity Crowdfunding services that will for the first time enable Entrepreneurs Nationwide to offer and secure funding from all public investors throughout America in exchange for private equity shares.

CrowdBoarders LLC, a Next Generation Social Investing Network, has been formally approved as a Funding Portal by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under Title III of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 for equity crowdfunding. The Crowdfunding Regulations which were approved last October will go into effect on May 16, 2016, allowing entrepreneurs to raise funding for their business of up to $1M per year via equity crowdfunding with any investors.

“Title III represents the future for all entrepreneurs seeking funding to achieve their dreams and also for the public to invest in private companies they personally believe in, social investing is set to become the new and exciting way for everyone to make their own investments in the same way that Uber has become the preferred choice for the public to travel locally”, said Danny Kelman, CEO of CrowdBoarders.

Learn more about the Art of CrowdBoarding at: https://youtu.be/LM-kl_8L_Dg

Learn more about the Art of Raising Money at: https://vimeo.com/162594181

CrowdBoarders: The Art of Raising Money! from CrowdBoarders on Vimeo.

“Superior Technology is the key to mass adoption so we were absolutely delighted with our FINRA approval, which was the final recognition and reward for 3 years of ‘cutting edge’ software development to produce not only a Funding Portal ‘purpose built’ for regulations but a critical technology advancement as the first Social Investing Network in its own right.

“Now we can offer not only a socially connected investment experience but more importantly to entrepreneurs ‘content driven’ rapid online access to potential investors nationwide at no cost whatsoever to them. While traditional finance companies also focus on high levels of investments and low numbers of investors, we are the exact opposite preferring to focus primarily on low entry points of $10-$50 for investors with high numbers of participants as the main keys to increasing the success rates and growth curves for both new companies and investors alike.

This we firmly believe is in the ‘true spirit’ of the JOBS Act which intended to stimulate the economy and create jobs,” Danny Kelman, CEO of CrowdBoarders further added:

“The US government has now effectively removed the major limitations previously experienced by all American entrepreneurs in accessing public funding and ultimately has now given us all the power to shape our own financial destinies be it as entrepreneurs or investors, these are very exciting times and we are very honored indeed to be at the technological forefront of this new Financial revolution”.

For more information about CrowdBoarders, please visit: www.crowdboarders.com

Or follow us on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/crowdboarders

About CrowdBoarders LLC

CrowdBoarders based in Dallas is an existing Texas Intrastate Registered Portal and the world’s first Social Investing Network where entrepreneurs build a ‘content rich’ CrowdBoard® to promote their business and the public can join in to become Crowdboarders investing in private companies and building their own online BoardFolio, this all takes place within a next generation socially connected experience with already 25,000 CrowdBoarders active worldwide CrowdBoarders has partnered with Legacy Texas Bank in the USA and UK Operations based in Liverpool in partnership with Santander Bank.

University of Illinois Foundation Selects Community Funded to Expand Community Engagement and Fundraising Capabilities

Press Release – FORT COLLINS, Colorado, May 11, 2016. Community Funded (www.communityfunded.com) today announced that the University of Illinois Foundation (uif.uillinois.edu) has selected Community Funded’s technology platform to expand fundraising capabilities at its three campuses.

The University of Illinois system is comprised of three distinct universities and the UI Health system, all of which are supported by central administrative offices. The system and its universities have regional campuses, research facilities, clinics, and Extension offices throughout the state. The University of Illinois System is the state’s largest institution of higher education, with more than 80,000 students.

“We’re excited to be working with Community Funded to provide our University system with a tool that will expand outreach and fundraising capabilities,” said Julia Miller, Director of Annual Giving for the University of Illinois Foundation. “Being able to provide this cutting edge technology adds a critical new layer of engagement that helps us connect what is happening on campuses with those who want to invest in our future.”

The University of Illinois Foundation will use Community Funded’s crowd fundraising platform, Day of Giving module, and consulting services to connect, support, and empower its current and future donors with meaningful engagement opportunities.

“Our team is honored to be working with the University of Illinois Foundation,” said McCabe Callahan, Co-Founder and CEO of Community Funded. “The strength of the University’s academic, research, public service, and healthcare programs is unrivaled and we look forward to helping grow support for these programs in Illinois and beyond.”

About Community Funded

Community Funded (www.communityfunded.com) provides powerful yet easy-to-use crowdfundraising solutions that help organizations achieve their development goals. We also offer education and training to ensure success. @communityfunded

Girl Seeks to Change the World with ‘Golden Buzzer’

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

Emma Maenhout, a 16-year-old girl originally from Belgium, and who goes by “Emma Moonwood” because no one in America can say her last name correctly, has an idea: a golden buzzer.

Her idea is that there should be a universal “like” button on the internet that we can hit that will signal our strong approval for a thing we observe there. She calls her button the golden buzzer and envisions that brands will adopt it in order to collect instant karma from loyal fans to drive more sales. In turn, Emma plans to charge the brands for the likes and to use a portion of those proceeds to help people doing things like curing cancer.

Emma explains the challenge she sees. “The problem is that we – the teens of this generation – see so much negativity on the internet and in the news all the time, that it feels like we are becoming immune for it. And I’m scared of growing up in that kind of generation.”

So, she’s created a plan to do something about it. In her own words, “That’s why I want to give the world a wake-up call. But in a positive way. By showing them every Thanksgiving a personal wallet of money that they have earned simply by being positive on the internet. Real money that they can claim. But only if they first agree to share a percentage with a world-changing team that they believe in. So that the next Thanksgiving they won’t only see the wallet again, but also the progress that their world-changing team has made… thanks to them.”

She’s created a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise money to build her minimum viable product. “Right now, I’m raising the money needed to create a prototype of my solution. Because my ‘positivity wallet’ will be connected to what that I call ‘the LIKE-button of the future,’ which will be a special emoji in the shape of a Golden Buzzer, like the golden buzzer you see in talent-shows–but only to use if ‘something is oh so good’ that you simply cannot wait to tell your friends about it.”

Emma Maenhout

Emma Maenhout

Emma envisions the business model driving real impact. “For example: imagine that you just bought a book that is amazing. Thanks to my Golden Buzzer-Emoji you will be able to send your positive feelings to your friends. And if they buy the book, too, thanks to your positivity, you will get a commission on the sales, but under one condition. You will have to share a percentage with your favorite world-changing team. Like a charity, foundation or social entrepreneur.”

“In my wildest dreams I see millions of young people gathering behind world-changers like Elon Musk or Steven Hawking to find new solutions in deep space to help our planet. While millions of others are helping so many other world-changers down on Earth,” she adds.

Emma thinks of her crowdfunding campaign as a lemonade stand; she’s selling access to some of the world’s influencers and celebrities. She says, “No, I’m not selling lemonade or golden buzzers… but ‘golden time’ with the great people, idols, stars of our planet. In other words: you can buy the opportunity to send a 2-minute video message for 25 dollars to one of the idols that are helping me. With the guarantee to get a personal answer back if… you manage to make them smile. And all money raised from those ‘positive moments’ will be used to fund my prototype.”

Emma is continuing to recruit more famous people to help with her campaign, she says. “I already have the first Belgian stars and some Americans. And to make sure that more and more idols join my ‘lemonade stand’, I have installed a first special buzzer on the internet. Allowing all famous, special people who love my idea to hit that buzzer on www.clickthebuzzer.com and… automatically one hour of their time will appear in my crowd funding.”

Emma has a grand vision for her golden buzzer business. “I like to be a social entrepreneur that thinks as sky-high as world-changing heroes like Elon Musk, James & Suzy Cameron, Mark & Priscilla Zuckerberg, Bill & Melinda Gates… That’s why I hope that the first experiment with my golden buzzer-emojis will BUZZ so loud (and will already have so much people, companies and ‘idols’ involved)… that it will wake up some of the giants of the world to help me to bring my prototype to the next level, and to scale this as fast as possible worldwide.”

“I want to help to create a next generation that feels valuable both on the internet and in the world. So that everybody truly becomes part of world-changing teams. Just like that one janitor that was sweeping the floors at NASA and that told President Kennedy ‘My job?… I’m helping to put a man on the moon,'” she concludes.

On Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 3:00 Eastern, Emma will join me here for a live discussion about her golden buzzer and her crowdfunding campaign. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

Emma’s bio:

My name is Emma.
I’m 16 years old.
I was born & raised in Flanders (Belgium) & have been living in Los Angeles for 3,5 years.

And this is my story http://www.clickthebuzzer.com

It’s as simple as that.
And I’m gonna prove it via a global experiment.
Just need 500 inspiring idols & a few great brands to help me with it!
Stay tuned in the next days and weeks.

Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to our content here.

Devin D. Thorpe

RealtyMogul.com Investors Help Finance Acquisition of Multifamily Property in New York City Suburb

Crowdfunding Platform Completes Equity Raise for Experienced New York Based Sponsor

Press Release – LOS ANGELES  - May 10, 2016 –  RealtyMogul.com, one of the leading online marketplaces for real estate investing, today announced that it closed an $860,000 equity investment in a 23-unit multifamily property in Plainfield, New Jersey – located just 25 miles outside of New York City. The sponsor for the acquisition is Clairmont Group LLC, a New York based diversified real estate company that is engaged in acquisition, development, management and advisory services.

The property, a 100 percent-occupied apartment building, is located near the commuter hubs of New York City and Newark, New Jersey. It is in close proximity to employment centers and public transportation and is surrounded by numerous multifamily drivers. RealtyMogul.com investors were offered the opportunity to help finance the acquisition by contributing equity capital.

“This property offers in-place cash flow as well as value-added opportunities that will come through renovation,” said Jilliene Helman, CEO of RealtyMogul.com. “The sponsor’s forward-looking approach, coupled with the property’s upside potential, makes this a prime opportunity for our savvy investor base.”

“We are excited to work with RealtyMogul.com as our capital partner and are looking forward to working with them on many deals in the future” said David Lubin, founder and managing partner of Clairmont Group LLC. “Our goal is to identify unique opportunities for our investors that offer capital preservation with attractive risk-adjusted returns and create long-term value through execution and hands on management in a strong New York metro market.”

The sponsor will leverage the investment to implement a renovation and operational improvement plan for the property. The acquisition aligns well with Clairmont Group’s strengths and experience, given its focus on tri-state area Class B multifamily acquisitions and its prior experience in managing similar rehab projects in New York metro area.

“Our investors are clearly demonstrating an appetite for access to high-growth sectors and markets, and we’re proud to deliver such opportunities,” added Helman.

About RealtyMogul.com

RealtyMogul.com is an online marketplace for real estate investing, giving individual investors real-time access to commercial real estate and professional real estate companies easier access to capital. Through crowdfunding, RealtyMogul.com gives investors tools to browse investments, do due diligence, invest online and have 24/7 access to an investor dashboard to watch how their investments are performing. RealtyMogul.com partners with professional real estate companies to source investment opportunities and curates all of the investments. For these real estate companies, RealtyMogul.com offers JV and preferred equity as well as mezzanine and first position debt. For more information, visit www.realtymogul.com.

Equity securities are offered through North Capital Private Securities Corp., registered broker/dealer and member FINRA/SIPC.

5 Design Tips to Increase Online Form Donations

This is a guest post from Ashley Walsh, director of marketing, Formstack.

Collecting donations online requires a lot more than putting a credit card form on your website and hoping the gifts flow in. To maximize your digital donor base, make sure to create a seamless giving experience, starting with your online donation form. Instantly amp up your donation form by adding a few key design elements to make it more user-friendly. Below are five design tips and examples to help you create a compelling online giving experience:

#1: Include a strong call-to-action at the top (and bottom!) of the page.

One of the easiest ways to motivate readers to donate is to incorporate strong, directional statements above and on the submit button of your online donation form. Including calls-to-action throughout the giving experience helps users feel like they are a part of a larger community that cares about your efforts. Take Youth for Christ Metro Pittsburgh as an example. This nonprofit’s donation form reminds donors that their gift directly helps the organization’s cause, and it thanks them for joining the effort before they even enter their credit card. Seal the deal with a solid submit button, including phrases like “Donate Now” or “Join Us.” Buttons with a specific call-to-action average a conversion rate of 44%, compared to just 10% for buttons that simply say “Submit,” according to a recent report.

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#2: Give context to a donor’s giving.

Along the lines of building community, many donors want to know how their gifts are going to be used at your organization. Using a small sidebar next to the donation form that includes a breakdown of how funds are applied at the nonprofit shows donors that their donations are utilized responsibly. When visitors hit an online donation form, they already have a strong desire to become involved in your organization. Little touches, such as assurance that their gifts will be valued, will make it even easier for them to complete the form.

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#3: Include proof of security.

With all the news around compromised data at multiple businesses, one major hesitation around online giving is payment security. After all, no donor wants to make a gift to a nonprofit only to find out the credit card info was compromised. Your form should apply multiple security measures to ensure that all donations are protected within your account. Make this known on your online donation form by including a security badge or other proof of protection.

#4: Maintain your brand throughout the donation experience.

Nothing is more jarring than clicking on a link to give and being directed to a stark donation form that looks like it was coded in 1995. If you’re using an online form builder to capture donations, take extra care to make sure your embedded form matches your brand. If your website uses certain colors or fonts, make sure those are also included on the donation form. Matthew’s House does a great job of seamlessly integrating its form with its overall branding standards:

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#5: Break your form into multiple steps.

One key way to secure recurring donations is to collect information about donors and segment their information into an email list for later marketing. However, the only way to do that is to make sure you get that key information in the first place. Unfortunately, visitors might be intimidated by a long donation form with a bunch of personal questions and become reluctant to provide information. Cushion this experience by breaking your donation form into multiple pages. Use one page to gather information about donation frequency, one to capture personal information, and one to finalize credit card information.

Apply these design tips to ensure the user has a seamless experience and can quickly provide pertinent information. Another quick tip: for an even better chance of getting users to fill out your donation form, consider broadcasting the form through sponsored social posts or an email invitation.

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