Getting Started With Crowdfunding!

Philip Manzano • May 24, 2017

Some useful tips for your first crowdfunding campaign! The post Getting started with Crowdfunding! appeared first on Keela.

Crowdfunding for Nonprofits

Crowdfunding. I know you’ve heard about it. And in all likelihood, you’ve probably participated in a crowdfunded initiative yourself. More and more nonprofits are starting to get into this trend, and for good reason. According to MobileCause , 71% of Millennials have fund-raised for a non-profit through crowdfunded initiatives. Crowdfunding is raising money, and it’s engaging new audiences. It’s a positive experience – but it can be a nightmare if not done correctly.

So, how does your non-profit get involved with these initiatives? Where do you even start?

Well, here are the basics.

Let’s start at the beginning . Crowdfunding is a term that refers to an effort to raise money with donations from a large number (crowd) of people. This means that the net is widened, and you are able to take advantage of social media to leverage a larger network of people. There are a few types of crowdfunding initiatives – but we are going to focus on how nonprofits can use them effectively.

For nonprofits, crowdfunding usually happens through websites tailored to showcase specific projects or causes and accept donations. They can also be done in-person, through community-building events. And since a lot of the elements can be digital, it makes sharing on social media much easier. You can attract a more diverse donor base with crowdfunding – and it allows you to build a stronger relationship with donors and potential donors, because these methods invite conversation, feedback and questions.

Crowdfunding has been gaining popularity, particularly with social causes related to the developing world. In fact, crowdfunding in developing countries is expected to top $96 Billion annually by 2025.

This means that there is a ton of opportunity and potential, but this requires a lot of planning.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. As with any project, success has a direct correlation to the amount of planning you put into it. Beth Kanter put together some great tips for non-profit crowdfunding. Here are a few of them:

Start with a Measurable Goal

As a team, figure out a dollar amount that you want to raise from this initiative. It’s best to fall somewhere in between what is reasonable, and what is an aspiration. If you’ve never done a campaign like this before, some questions to can ask yourself are:

  • How much do I need to raise to make an impact?
  • How much did similar crowdfunding campaigns raise?
  • How much does the product or service I want, cost?

These will help to put a sandbox around the fundraising goals of your campaign. It’s always good to go SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) with your goal-setting.

Rethink Donation Tiers

One of the staples of crowdfunding is to give rewards for various levels of giving. For example, receiving a gift basket if you give between $50 and $75. The logic seems fine – these rewards serve as an incentive for giving.

But that might not always be the case.

Some studies have shown that there is a chance that donors reduce their gifts because they feel guilty for receiving something in return. Instead, you should consider giving gifts that focus on impact. A great example would be a work of art produced by students of the initiative you are supporting. A gift like this will make donors feel closer to the cause, and helps to build a stronger relationship with your donor base.

Harness the power of story-telling

Nonprofits must tell powerful stories to talk about their work. Whether it is to raise money, or just spread awareness, nothing beats a good story. And the best part is that nonprofits already have the components to tell Hollywood-worthy tales – without lying.

  • Overcoming a villain: this doesn’t have to be a person, but rather a situation, or circumstance. Poverty can be a villain. When you have a success story of someone moving from poverty to possibility, you have a story of a hero overcoming a villain.
  • Quest: The hero of the story always goes through ups and downs, with plenty of adversity. Paint this picture with words vivid imagery. Really place your readers in the story, and let them know that they are part of the journey as well.
  • Tragedy: A great story always has a tragedy. Talk about how potential donors can help people overcome this tragedy.

Identify these elements within your own nonprofit, and build a story worth telling. This will compel your donors to participate in your crowdfunded initiative.

Know your champions

Although successful crowdfunding initiative usually involve the engagement of new donors, remember that you should not solely rely on this group. Right from the planning stages, you should have a good idea of who will contribute to this cause. Identify your Promoters, your Fundraisers and your Donors.

Promoters are the influencers who can get the word out about your campaign. Fundraisers are the ones who will sign up and become advocates you’re your cause, asking their friends for gifts. Donors are the ones who will give a gift because they care about your work.

Have targeted messaging for each of these groups, and be smart about how you engage them. Let them know how you want them to help, and keep it simple.

Now that you know where to start, check out some of the popular sites that give you the power to crowdfund. 

We can’t wait to see what you come up with!