crowdfunding: your magic fundraising bullet?

So, I’m gonna give it to you straight. I see a lot of organizations who think that crowdfunding campaigns are their “magic bullet” – that if they just did a crowd funding campaign, it would go viral and they’d raise tons and tons of money, like they’ve never done before.

I’ve also seen a lot of organizations who embark on crowdfunding campaigns because their super savvy board member or volunteer says that it’s what all the cool kids are doing. Sound familiar?

Now, I’m not hating on crowdfunding. In fact, I want to give you some insights on how to know if crowdfunding is for you and if it is, how to make it work for your organization in the long term.

In fact, I’m co-hosting a FREE webinar “Crowdfunding Success for Small Nonprofits” on June 15 at 1pm with Daryl Hatton, the CEO of Fundrazr, one of the leading crowdfunding platforms.

Read on for some tips on how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign, giving you a sneak peak of the content we’ll be covering in the free webinar.

You need a network

Traditional fundraising for big organizations has relied on a network of so-called “wealthy” individuals, and I’m sure, like most charities I work with, that does not sound like yours. Right?

The beauty of crowdfunding is that it has the potential to reach a broader network and engage more people at lower level gifts, which probably sounds more along the lines of what’s realistic for your organization.

But a lot of people underestimate the role of a network in mobilizing a crowdfunding campaign.

To be successful, you need your network working on your behalf. And to get them working, you need to have regular and compelling calls to action.

There is a lot more clutter of information online, so it’s not enough to send one email and leave it out in the online abyss, hoping that the world responds.

Try sending a series of emails throughout your campaign. And not all of them should be asks. Send updates, profile donors, share stories. It should feel to your network like there is movement and momentum.

Then, take that momentum online. This might seem obvious, but again, don’t just post once and hope it goes viral.

Post videos, stories, calls to action. Even post cat memes. Well, maybe not cat memes, although people do love a good cat meme.

And finally, go live, online. Whether it’s through Facebook Live, Instagram Stories or anything else, engage with your audience. Encourage questions give them something to tune in to.

Build a lasting relationship

Your job, after the campaign is over, is to start to build meaningful relationships with the people who gave.

Here are three simple ways to get you started:

  1. Thank your donors, immediately. If you can pick up the phone and call your crowd funding donors to say thanks, do so. Otherwise, try send out a very personal email (not auto responder) or have volunteers say thanks. You can also do something fun with social media, like do a daily video thanking all your donors and tagging them.

  2. Report back, at least a couple times. Using stories, let your donors know what they helped accomplish for your organization. Do this at least two or three times before you even think of asking them to give again.

  3. Take it off-line. What’s stopping you from reaching out to anyone who gave a significant gift and asking them to meet in person, or have a phone call? If someone you don’t know well made a sizable (and I mean sizable for your organization) gift through a crowdfunding campaign, your top priority should be in getting to know that person. Understand why they gave and how they found out about your organization. Ask questions and engage them. Keep that relationship going off-line.

For more tips on how to build a successful crowdfunding campaign for your small non-profit (and then sustain the support), join me and Daryl Hatton, CEO of Fundrazr for a free webinar. Register here!