As funding sources expand and retract, and the demographics of givers shift, nonprofits need to consider newer ways to fundraise. For the socially savvy bunch, crowdfunding just may be the answer.
When Indiegogo launched in 2008, nonprofits and social causes began to consider how to make crowdfunding work for them. After seven years of watching do-gooders learn the ins and outs of running successful campaigns, Indiegogo birthed Generosity as a destination site for very easy social impact fundraising.
“We found that our cause fundraising was growing very quickly, so in order to best provide a home for our cause fundraisers – both big and small — we have launched Generosity,” said Breanna DiGiammarino, Generosity’s senior director of outreach. “Indiegogo will continue to be the best site for other businesses or other profit-making ventures.”
The unique aspects of Generosity are that it has zero percent platform fees so that organizers get to keep all of the funds they raise (minus just the third party payment processing fees). Additionally, with it being a part of Indiegogo’s broader community, fundraisers on Generosity can receive help and support from Indiegogo’s Trust and Support teams and greater amplification throughout the Indiegogo community. Just in time for #GivingTuesday, here are five tips you need to know for successful crowdfunding on Generosity.
1. Crowdfunding should be a part of your organization’s fundraising priorities.
Crowdfunding is a sustainable complement to existing fundraising efforts because it can amplify a nonprofit’s existing donor base and bring in new, diverse donors. By using a socially integrated platform, nonprofits also generate instant awareness, ultimately leading to much more impact.
“The fundraisers that do it best are those that actually integrate their crowdfunding efforts in to their overall organizational priorities, so I encourage nonprofits to think through what it is that they’re trying to achieve as an organization and then think through the way that crowdfunding can be a core piece of that,” DiGiammarino said.
Rather than siloing a campaign as a little effort you may do on the side, DiGiammarino suggests nonprofits think about how crowdfunding can be a strategic part of the overall goal.
2. For your campaign to work, you have to stay engaged.
A fundraiser only does as well as the organization stays engaged with it, and as a result, organizations are only likely to prioritize fundraisers if they are a part of an important effort. Thinking through what you’re going to say, what you’re going to ask for, and what you’re going to give donors throughout the campaign is integral to the success of the fundraiser.
DiGiammarino recalls when the Parkinson’s Institute wanted to increase the age range of its donors a couple of years ago. They used an already-committed $100,000 donation from a family member as a springboard for the Indiegogo campaign that included personal update videos from five family members of different ages who all shared their story of what it was like to have a family member with Parkinson’s. At the end of the campaign, Parkinson’s Institute had reached multiple generations and raised more than $500k from more than 450 donors.
3. Frame your project in a way that is both attainable and aspirational.
Rather than throwing your entire quarterly fundraising goal at a crowdfunding campaign, DiGiammarino suggests setting realistic expectations so that people can see and get excited about helping. Thinking through how much your organization can raise in the first 48-hours after making the campaign live can help you establish the baseline of how your organizational fundraising will do. This projection can equate to roughly one-third of your overall funding.
“It’s really the fundraisers that get early momentum from their community that do well in the long run because that early momentum shows that your community cares about you, trusts in you, believes in you and that your fundraiser is worth moving forward,” DiGiammarino said. “The more discrete you can be, and think through how that aligns to your initial momentum, the better.”
4. Be very clear in your communications.
Generosity encourages its campaign owners to be very transparent about what they’re planning to do with the funds they receive and telling the general public exactly who they are. To that end, some nonprofits will link to their CharityWatch and Guidestar accounts so that potential donors can read more into what the organization does with their money.
Nonprofit communications professionals need to work with their teams to place the most important content (who, what, when, where, how much) at the beginning of text and video scripts. It is important to note that with crowdfunding, fundraisers or nonprofits that have videos in their crowdfunding campaigns tend to perform better than those that do not.
“I’d put in the first 30 seconds of your video very clear information about who you are, how much you’re raising, and why you’re raising it, and why the donor should care. And really get that right away,” DiGiammarino said. “You should clarify at the outset such as what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and how much it will take.”
5. Create a personal connection.
People want to be part of something bigger than themselves, and they donate to people, first and foremost. So even in a fundraiser that’s for an organization or a company, you can create personal connections.
It might be that you share the personal story of your nonprofit’s founder, or you might share the personal story of a donor, a board member, a volunteer, or a beneficiary, there are many different people to choose from. To successfully crowdfund, you need to create opportunities for personal connections over the course of the fundraiser.
DiGiammarino suggests that connections can also be made through things like your perks through the donation levels in order to make people feel like they’re a part of something.
“The perks that tend to perform well will help people to feel connected, like a letter from a beneficiary in exchange for their donation or a chance to come and meet the staff. You need personal touch points throughout your fundraiser,” she said.
Join See3, Generosity, and Common Vision on Thursday November, 12, 2015, for a webinar “How to Raise Money from the Crowd: Online Fundraising Advice from Experts.” Register now.