Crowdfunding has quickly emerged as a viable option for charities and nonprofits looking to leverage the power of the internet and the virality that comes along with it. However, being successful with crowdfunding isn’t as simple as launching a campaign and watching the money pour in. If you want to see results, you need to understand how to launch and market these initiatives.
The great thing about nonprofit campaigns is that crowdfunding is designed for generosity and charity. While large corporations can use crowdfunding, the results are almost always less than that of small nonprofits aiming to selflessly help others. People would prefer to give to an organization that instigates positive change than to a company that’s simply seeking to grow profits.
This means that, from the very start, you have an advantage. However, don’t confuse this advantage with a free pass. You still have to work hard in order to make your crowdfunding campaign a success. Here a handful of helpful tips to guide you along the way.
Study Other Campaigns
The best thing you can do is study other successful campaigns. You’ll extract a number of valuable lessons from these campaigns that can’t be explained in an article. Check out some of the recent campaigns on Plumfund, a platform dedicated to charity and nonprofit fundraising, for an idea of what works. Trends are always evolving and best practices frequently change, so this is a good way to stay up to date.
Set Obtainable Goals
Goal setting is a hugely important aspect of creating successful crowdfunding campaigns. If you study the elements that separate successful campaigns from “busts,” you’ll learn that one of the common denominators is having a goal. Rarely will a crowdfunding campaign without a goal succeed. And, most of the time, a campaign with a specific goal will at least be somewhat successful. Specifically, you need to set an obtainable funding goal.
“One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen nonprofits make in crowdfunding is setting an unrealistic fundraising goal,” writes entrepreneur Ben Lamson. “Nonprofits assume that these random do-gooders will stumble across their campaign and give. The reality is that we don’t shop for philanthropy.” Understand your limitations and set your goals accordingly.
Conduct a Friend Raise Round
There’s an interesting psychological phenomenon at play when it comes to donating money. People are much more willing to give when they see that others are doing the same. The reason is that people tend to place more value on the approval of others. If someone else is doing something, it must be “correct” or “appropriate.”
In order to accelerate your crowdfunding campaign and jumpstart giving, conduct a pre-raise or “friends raise” round where you secure advanced financial commitments. Then, once the campaign launches, these funds can be used as social proof that your campaign is gaining traction.
Pull at Heartstrings
As previously mentioned, part of the reason charities and nonprofits do so much better than corporations with crowdfunding is that people prefer to give to a good cause. You must use this to your advantage. Hammer home an emotional value proposition that connects with your target audience. This will give you the best chance to succeed.
Set the Right Donation Tiers
On many crowdfunding platforms, you’re allowed to set donation tiers and then reward donors based on the size of their contributions. If you’re using a platform with this structure, be strategic with how you set tiers. The idea is to always encourage people to move up another tier by making the reward slightly more enticing.
For example, you may send donors a bumper sticker if they contribute $10, but a bumper sticker and a picture frame if they donate $15. For just $5 more, many will bump up to the next tier. There’s a lot of psychological strategy behind this, so be sure to study the intricacies before deciding on a specific approach.
Use the Power of Social Media and Content Marketing
Crowdfunding’s success is rooted in the fact that it knows no boundaries. Unlike a fundraising event held at a conference center, you aren’t limited by those in your geographical vicinity. Thanks to the internet – and social media in particular – your campaign can spread like virtual wildfire. And if you do an effective job of pulling at the heartstrings of your target market, social sharing should come naturally.
Make Your Crowdfunding Campaign a Success
As you can see, a lot goes into launching a successful crowdfunding campaign. While it’s easy to look at other success stories and ignore the legwork that went into making them so effective, you have to remember that you’ll only get out what you put in. This may seem like a basic concept, but it’s the truth. Keep these tips in mind and work hard to develop a campaign that’s worthy of your cause.