Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

There’s a problem with crowdfunding…

There’s a problem with crowdfunding…

The problem is the name. Crowds are anonymous and amorphous. A big lump of strangers. You don’t have a relationship with the crowd.

Before you ask someone for money, it’s a good idea to have a relationship with them. Those people are your tribe. Tribes are communities. They contain trust. They have leaders that bring individuals together. They work together for the common good. The tribe forms part of the individual’s identity.

I’m not calling it crowdfunding any more: I’m calling it tribefunding.

A new donor is not a new relationship.

Tribefunding, not crowdfunding - quotation by Dave Pearce

When Dignity in Dying ran its fist tribefunding campaign we exceeded out target three fold. But why? I think there are several reasons for this; including a focus and connection with why Dignity in Dying exists (our purpose) and that it was part of a broader and more significant campaign backing the Assisted Dying Bill. Perhaps most telling, though, is who supported the campaign: 85% of donations came from our existing email and social media. With those on our email lists representing the vast majority. Or to put it another way, those people who we communicate with the most, in the most personal way, where those most likely to back us. Our backers weren’t a crowd, they were our tribe.

Supporting that campaign said something about those people and united them:

“I have written to my MP, but he does not support this bill, thank you for giving me a voice…”

A member of our tribe

This campaign was about so much more than money for billboards – it was about giving people a voice. It was about our mission. That’s why we didn’t call the campaign, “Help us fund 10 billboards”.

We called it,”Help fix our broken law on assisted dying”. One day, with the support of our tribe, we will.


David Pearce is Director of Fundraising & Marketing at Dignity in Dying & Compassion in Dying.


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