First things first, let’s agree on crowdfunding as an effective method, arguably the most powerful digital tool, to fundraise in this day and age. Crowdfunding has a set of benefits unique to itself, which is why it has succeeded already in the West. Crowdfunding is designed in a way too, that makes it succeed in ways more traditional styles of fundraising cannot accomplish.
Some of the conveniences of crowdfunding are obvious enough to be visible to the average observer with no experience of fundraising. Crowdfunding is done almost exclusively online. This means that running a fundraiser on a crowdfunding platform is practically free. In fact, most platforms let campaigners start their fundraisers with zero outlay, and service charges are collected after the fundraiser closes.
Aside from the free and nearly instantaneous activation of campaigns that the crowdfunding model and crowdfunding industry best practices uphold, crowdfunding is a blessing because funds raised are angel-giving pools of money that donors choose to give. Funds raised are the campaigners, for all, and there is no payback. This also makes the method an accessible one; people who are ineligible for large loans, or cannot provide security against loans, or need funds so urgently that they cannot wait for financial institution vetting to come through. This section of people have the crowdfunding method available to them, like people who have no insurance cover to pull them through unplanned and expensive medical crises.
Additionally, since crowdfunding is a web-enabled mechanism to raise funds online, it allows for the participation of many people on every single campaign. Campaigners share, and are assisted by top crowdfunding agencies, to share their fundraisers on social media in engaging and noteworthy manners. They are empowered to have their narratives reach wider and diverse audiences, many of whom become donors to the campaign. Those crowdfunders who have large and dynamic social networks are possibly able to gain more traction from this particular advantage, but it is available for relatively low costs, if any, to all.
There is one right way to do crowdfunding, and that way is to draw attention to your campaign, online, and if you can, offline. This crowdfunding checklist is a good place to start, if you are looking for failsafe, beginner-friendly pointers on how that is done.
- Pick the right platform: Why are you crowdfunding? Some crowdfunding platforms support a select group of identified causes. Some have made their niche in medical crowdfunding, like Impact Guru, and others, like Wishberry only host creative campaigns. Choose a platform that serves your needs.
- Start your fundraiser: As soon as you know how much you need to raise, start a fundraiser on a crowdfunding platform. This process is free and simple and is done in under five minutes on the Impact Guru platform!
- Organize support: In the coming weeks and months you will run a fundraiser, and this is a big responsibility. Find friends and relatives who will help you manage your campaign. Pool talents and investments of time so your effort is distributed well.
- Write your story: We can’t emphasize this enough. Your fundraiser story will tell an online community why you are raising funds, and why this is an important cause to fundraise for. The story can make or break a campaign, so write your best story. Ask for help if you need to.
- Add visuals: Boost a good story with great images. Videos are a fantastic idea. Choose the best photos you have to supplement your story. Let people see what you want to do.
- Add documentation: If you are a medical crowdfunding campaigner, paperwork from hospitals or doctor’s prescriptions are your documentation. These are essential to add credibility to your project. NGOs should upload documentation supporting their need for funds, for this reason as well.
- Ask for a donation: This is not a separate part of your fundraiser, but this is your call to action. With this one, power-packed sentence, you will appeal to a body of donors and ask for contributions. Take time to phrase this well.
- Share: Once your fundraiser goes live, share the page on social media. Use tags and hashtags, connect people to it, and write brief and powerful posts asking viewers to share news, and donate.
- Plan updates: You will have to plan your social media strategy. Have at least a rough idea about where you will post (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and WhatsApp are your best options), how often, at what times, and what written and visual content you will post. Then divide tasks between your support group.
- Post frequently: Post often for better visibility and improving chances of others sharing your fundraiser information. But don’t post so often that viewers are annoyed. Post when you have something to say that adds to the campaign story.
- Report progress: Every milestone in your crowdfunding campaign needs to be shared. We suggest posting when you meet half of fundraiser. Emails donors who contributed to let them know. Update your fundraiser story if you have made progress with medical treatment, crossed a big hurdle, or have anything positive to say about the campaign.
- Ask friends to share: This leverages the influences of your friends’ social media networks too.
- Ask friends to create support fundraisers: Your friends can create support fundraisers on certain platforms like Impact Guru and which run just like independent crowdfunding campaigns and can be shared to reach even more people. The funds your friends raise go directly into your main fundraiser account.
- Talk to people offline: Crowdfunding is a digital tool, but campaigners and donors live in the real world. Word of mouth offline publicity for your campaign can create a buzz that may send donors to your online campaign. Tell your story to your friends, extended family, neighbors, colleagues, and the mainstream media.
- Host an event: Think about planning an event at your home or in your workplace. Get people playing games, contesting on a quiz, or organizing a bake sale. Ask event sponsors to put prize money, or sale collections into your crowdfunding account.
- Blog: Spend an hour on an easy day writing about your crowdfunding experience. Post it on your blog, or start one and post it, then share the link with your growing network.
- Thank your donors: Acknowledge donations in money, and also contribution through social media sharing, campaign management assistance, or any token of help. Send a thank you note to each donor when you close your campaign.
- Reward your donors: Finally, after you’ve used funds raised to make a difference, send emails to all donors, and post a social media shoutout as a final gesture to seal your campaign. Some campaigners send a small gift related to the crowdfunding project, but most donors are happy to see that their contribution has paid off.
Return to this checklist if you feel confused at any stage of your crowdfunding journey. If you have checked most of these items off, chances are you will have a successful fundraiser in no time. Good luck!