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So you’re considering crowdfunding as an additional stream of revenue for your nonprofit organization. You love the prospect of your cause being seen (and easily shared) by a larger audience.
A crowdfunding campaign does not run itself. You can’t simply throw up a fundraising page and expect it to yield fantastic results. Here’s what you need to do to maximize the success of your campaign.
Make A Plan
Choose your platform. While early crowdfunding sites did not start out with nonprofits in mind, there are now many sites to choose from that have produced great results for nonprofit organizations. Do your homework. What percentage of funds raised does each site take? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each? Is there a target demographic that one site reaches better than the others for instance?
Set measurable (and realistic) goals. How much do you need to raise to really make a difference for your nonprofit or to move forward with a specific product or service? What have other successful campaigns been able to raise? Too small a goal and you’re not fully utilizing this funding tool. Too much of a reach, and you can discourage folks from contributing to your campaign. Assess what you need, how much it costs, and go from there.
Plan your promotion of fundraiser and outreach strategy. Have a plan. How will you share word about your fundraiser? What networks will you leverage? Which social media channels will you use? How much lead time do you need in advance of the event? Who within your organization will be responsible for coordinating the fundraiser? What resources will they be given to assist them?
Find Your Followers
Build your tribe. Who are the people (both within and outside of your organization) who are its greatest fans and advocates? Recruit them. Have them help you spread word of your fundraising campaign. Encourage them to do their own peer-to-peer fundraising. These people are (or should be) the heart of your crowdfunding campaign. You don’t just need your village; you need your villagers’ villages too and these people are the key to that happening.
Publicize. Is the great work you’re doing newsworthy? You bet. So make sure it’s reported. Take advantage of free press coverage when/where you can. Talk to local radio stations and newspapers (both online and in print). People want to support good works. Let them know about you!
Tell engaging stories. This is your “why”. Why are you doing the work you’re doing? What difference is it making to people/the world at large? Your stories share your successes. They are your “proof” that the work you are doing matters and has value. People respond to emotional, compelling stories, so tell your organization’s stories.
Demonstrate impact. How does a donor know that you will be a good steward of their generosity? They know by the impact you can demonstrate. What has your organization accomplished in the past? Equally important, what could you do with their financial support? Show them how/where you can make a difference.
Maintain The Relationship
Branding of your fundraising page. You want potential donors to see a consistent presence across your website, social media channels and fundraising pages. Make sure that your organization comes across clearly, via your logo, messaging, etc.
Use social media for campaign updates. Your donors are invested in your crowdfunding campaign. Keep them updated on the campaign’s status. Are you close to reaching your fundraising goals? Did you benefit from a particularly generous donation? Are you struggling to raise the needed funds? Donors aren’t just interested in the impact of their donation; if they’ve shared the campaign with others, they’re also interested in seeing if/how their network has supported your cause. Campaign updates not only keep them informed, they can also motivate donors to propel additional engagement from others.
Acknowledge donations. Make sure you properly acknowledge all donations, regardless of the size of them. Use email, social media, and or handwritten notes (or better yet, all three) to let your donors know how grateful you are for their support of your work.
You have a plan, you’ve found your followers, and you’re fostering the relationships you develop. You’re ready to start crowdfunding!
Looking to update your fundraising strategy? Contact Heeren Content & Strategy for a free consultation!