Sometimes your fundraising drives such as bake sales, bottle drives or raffles just don’t generate the funds you were hoping for. If you have a large capital cost expense or project that you are trying to fund, then you really need to raise not just hundreds, but often thousands of dollars. Crowdfunding is a great alternative for raise big money relatively quickly.
However, running a crowdfunding campaign requires planning in order to set your organization up for success. There are also different phases of a fundraising program which you can capitalize on by calling on your members and larger donors at the right times. Timing is everything and knowing when to communicate and to whom to keep the interest up is important. Here are 5 steps you can take to maximize dollars and help you achieve your fundraising goal.
One: Plan Ahead
Crowdfunding should be more than just a last minute promotional idea. You will need at least a week or two in order to prepare your volunteers, staff and online presence. You will have to also coordinate bigger donors and give-away incentives with volunteers and vendors. Know also that fundraising teams raise three times as much as individuals, so don’t go it alone, you will need help.
You must have a well-thought out plan on who you want to target, and how you want to communicate with your core donors and members to draw in new funds. Typically, you want to have a campaign that runs for around 30 days for best results. Longer than this, and you lose the excitement and momentum. Too short and you don’t have time to get larger donors or sponsors on board for a bigger fundraising boost. You must also set a realistic and attainable fundraising target. Look at what you have raised in the past, and pull together your volunteers and staff to breakdown estimates of what they can expect to raise across new and past donors as well as businesses.
Two: Prelaunch to Members
In order to get the momentum going, and to show some donations already on your page, you should plan to do a prelaunch opening to members or even family and friends. Start with e-mailing or calling your core members, and also give your big past donors the “inside scoop” on what you are doing to encourage them to contribute early. You may wish to offer extra pre-launch giveways/incentives too for your high value members. Know also that approximately half of total donations are raised in the first and last 3 to 5 days of a crowdfunding campaign.
Three: Provide Updates
Communication is key to a crowdfunding campaign, and so keep your donors updated at least weekly on the status of where you are at with your goal, big donors and incentives. You can do this by editing your crowdfunding page itself and sending out e-mail updates or even calling around to your larger donors. The most successful campaigns provide an average of 4 or more updates during their campaign. Letting people know when you have reached 50% of your goal is very encouraging for donors to be aware of. Offering new giveaway incentives or mentioning a big donation from a corporate sponsor adds great clout to your cause and campaign. It has also been shown that adding video to your crowdfunding page, like we offer at Circle Fund, can increase engagement and donations by as much as three times versus just text only copy. Remember, donating is an emotional response to the story you are telling about your cause, and pictures or videos help convey emotion.
Four: Get A Boost Halfway
The half-way point of your campaign is a big opportunity to keep the momentum going. This is when you hope to get larger donors such as businesses involved to push your campaign onto the home-stretch of your funding goal. Throwing in new incentives or perks at this time is also a common way to move the needle to quickly close in on your goal. Listen to your donors, read the comments on your page and add perks that are specific to your local audience. Adding more customized perks along the way is a proven way to boost funds. Also, be sure to post on Facebook and other social media, and get a media release out to your local press. Local newspaper articles that showcase a personal story can have a huge impact on your fundraising outcome.
Know also that there are often two humps in a crowdfunding donation graph… the first is the initial launch half, and the second is the big donor final push. Be sure to communicate and update your crowdfunding page with status updates. Also consider buying targeted Facebook Ads in your area for the last few weeks to really ramp up the donations. The ROI on Facebook ads is typically very good, especially if you are getting around a typical donation of between $100 to $200.
Five: Thank You’s and Fulfillment
Follow-up on your campaign is vital to retaining your donors. Issuing an e-mail with the results and how the funds will be spent to make a difference in your cause is what donors want to know. Even if you did not achieve your goal, you can still celebrate your success with your year over year growth, new projects and other ways to show what a positive impact was made. Be sure to send out tax receipts and distribute any giveaways you promised. A call or visit adds a personal touch, especially for larger donors.
Get started for free with our fundraising platform that includes an easy to use crowdfunding page generator.