Crowdfunding has exploded in popularity and can be successful regardless of what industry you’re in (including nonprofit).
Resourceful entrepreneurs have learned that relying exclusively on traditional fundraising means ignoring a potentially massive income stream. Thanks to the power of social media, and the myriad ways individuals and organizations can use digital media to tell their stories and connect with audiences, the power of reaching out to a crowd is unprecedented.
Look at our Introduction to Crowdfunding for an in-depth guide to crowdfunding across sectors >>
The potential of crowdfunding campaigns is dizzying. Forbes reports that gaming console Ouya was launched after crowdfunding generated $8.5 million in 29 days. The Dash (smart headphones) pulled $3,390,551 in less than two months. The Canary Smart Home security system gathered $1.9 million over 34 days.
These numbers aren’t out of reach for your organization.
At the same time, we know that at the very start, the process can seem overwhelming; those new to crowdfunding can feel a bit unprepared. With so many causes and people competing for attention, without guidance, it can be tricky to figure out how to launch a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Yet, the contributing factors to a successful crowdfunding project are straightforward: a powerful story, achievable project goals, an engaged community and a solid strategy. All of these things, properly executed, bolster and contribute to one another.
There are steps you should take before you hit ‘publish’ on your crowdfunding page to start your campaign strong, right out the gate.
Our years of experience have given us clear insight into the foundations for crowdfunding campaigns. Read on for our quick primer on how to launch a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Pick the Right Campaign
As businesses, organizations and as individuals, we tend to have more than one worthy project competing for resources, or it can be tempting to try to raise a lump sum to cover a variety of initiatives.
However, certain projects are better suited to crowdfunding than others. Projects with achievable, measurable goals and demonstrable impact are more likely to gain traction with followers.
People connect more when they know exactly what they’re giving to and why. For example, saying, “$10 will be able to buy x number of mosquito nets for a family” is more compelling than, “Any donation will be able to help families.”
If you have projects that focus on specific people or places, with visible impacts, all the better!
For specific examples of successful projects, see our blog here >>
Understand your campaign’s appeal and your specific goals. It’s easy to get excited about an overall project, but it’s important to remember that although you have in-depth knowledge of the importance of your work, your audience is often coming in cold, and has several other projects clamouring for their contribution.
Think carefully about your goal amount. Less is sometimes more in that audiences are more likely to donate to an achievable amount. At the same time, you don’t want to undervalue your campaign, hitting your goal early and realizing you had an engaged community willing to give more.
Offering rewards is another great way to encourage your audience to give. Even if your budget is strapped, you can offer them personalized thank yous, mentions on your website, admission to events or a copy of your final product. This shows that you’re actively involved in your project, from start to finish and after, and are appreciative of their effort.
Tell Your Story
Ultimately, the success of a crowdfunding campaign hinges on – as the name suggests – the support of the crowd, and their support is generated first and foremost by a compelling story.
Explain the field you’re working in, the importance of your project, and its impact. Include names and faces. Get your organization’s voice and personality involved and address your audience personally.
Take the necessary time to hone your message and wordsmith your campaign. Use bright words, avoid clichés and be specific. Remember that your audience wants to know who you are as a team, what they’re giving to, how their money will be spent and why your cause is important.
Video is a particularly compelling tool – preparing a clear, high-quality and engaging video can multiply your success. In a few minutes, videos can convey a sense of your team, the community you’re serving and the power of change.
If you don’t have the resources to compile a video, images can be just as powerful. Consider including a gallery with photos of yourselves, the community you work in, or of past projects. These inject life into your campaigns and instil confidence in your work.
Your story will be the backbone of your campaign strategy – treat it as such.
Get people talking
You don’t have to wait until your campaign’s live to get the buzz started – in fact, it’s better if you don’t!
Don’t be afraid to tell people about your upcoming campaign on your social media before you launch your funding page. The more support you generate before you hit ‘publish’ on your fundraising page, the stronger you’ll start, and the more momentum you’ll have to push your campaign.
For more on social media, click here to see our post on the Importance of Social Media to Crowdfunding >>
Social media is a great tool, but other avenues can be equally powerful. Tell family, friends, colleagues; spread awareness through interest groups; e-mail individual known influencers to recruit them as advocates – the bigger your network, the bigger your crowd. The bigger your crowd, the more potential donations.
Now that you know how to set up a successful crowdfunding campaign, we can help you by providing you an intuitive platform, stocked with features, and interface branded with your company’s unique image, messaging and goals.
We provide expert support and guidance along the way, as well as a wealth of how-tos, guides and industry insight to put you ahead of the competition.
Contact us today to get your work funded, and let’s Make Giving Happen.