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A Beginner’s Guide to Crowdfunding

The power of social fundraising is becoming more and more apparent. Crowdfunding sites, which allow many donors to give online — usually in small amounts — to a project or cause are an increasingly popular way to raise money. Charitable crowdfunding campaigns have supported an array of causes, from conservation of the space suit Neil Armstrong wore on his historic moonwalk to emergency support for Syrian refugees. Because sites such as GoFundMe, Razoo, or Indiegogo’s new site can potentially reach a wide swath of people, they also can help broaden awareness of your cause.

Use of the approach is growing rapidly. Globally, mass online appeals — including both charitable and for-profit projects — raised $16.2 billion in 2014, according to Massolution, a research and consulting firm that releases an annual report on crowdfunding. That’s a 167 percent increase over the $6.1 billion raised in 2013. The firm estimates that global crowdfunding in 2015 will double, reaching $34.4 billion.

Campaigns on crowdfunding platforms, which have varying costs and capabilities, are generally publicized using social media and can range from fast-paced Giving Days to campaigns that last a month or more. But running a successful crowdfunding campaign requires more than simply clicking a few buttons.

Here we’ve gathered some resources to help you navigate the crowdfunding world.