Even if you have created a powerful video and drafted a well-written story, your fundraising will suffer if you don’t diligently promote your campaign. Your fundraising efforts truly begin once you open up your campaign to donations. You need to tell as many people as you can about your campaign and repeat your message often.
Start with a personal email
Draft an email to send out to everyone on your master contact list. Then, even though it will take a little more time, personalize the email for each potential supporter and send it to them individually. Include links to your Funded Justice campaign page. Do not send the same mass email to everyone on your master list.
Your goal is get donations, so make sure you are clear about that. Ask everyone you contact to make a donation. If you only ask for “support,” you may get “likes” on Facebook, but not money. Don’t lose sight to the real goal. If you notice a lot of “likes” but no donations, contact the people who liked your post and ask them to donate and spread the word.
Some people (e.g., older relatives) may be unclear on the concept of crowdfunding. It might be helpful to give a brief explanation of what this it is: “Crowdfunding is the process of raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people (the Crowd). This is usually done using the internet. The crowd comes from family, friends, and people you know on Facebook/Twitter plus the people they know.”
Communicate and update with personal emails and your campaign page
Communication during the course of your fundraising is critical. Keep your supporters in the loop. If you are new to crowdfunding, it might feel that you are bothering your supporters. But frequent messages show others how important your campaign is to you, and they do like to keep track of your success, especially when they’ve had a hand in it. Also, constant communication will sometimes spur people to donate more than once, especially if you are close to a milestone or your goal. A good approach is to send 1-2 new messages every week.
Funded Justice gives you a blog as part of your project page so you can easily update your supporters as things move along. Successful fundraisers let people know how they’re progressing every step of the way. People are more likely to donate to a project that feels like it’s making strides toward its goal. Include pictures, videos, or links to news about your campaign. Maybe you learned how to upload a video to YouTube, or you had a great call with a local organization that might help. Be sure to blog about it.
You can also use a free service like MailChimp to give general updates to your crowd on how your campaign is progressing. This is especially useful when you reach certain milestones (e.g., 25 supporters have donated, you’ve received your first donation over $100, you’ve reached 50% of your goal). The milestones are up to you to set and communicate. (Note that MailChimp is free unless your contact list is extremely large.)
Communicate and update through your social media channels
Social media exists for one purpose only, and that’s to get the word out! Use it for that. Post information about the start of your fundraising on all of the social and professional platforms that you use (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). Then post regular updates as time passes and as you reach milestones in your fundraising to help build buzz. (If you don’t currently have a social media account, now is the time to get started; we recommend you start with Facebook.)
Everyday, there are so many posts on social media sites that your posts may be swallowed up quickly. Consider posting daily on the project’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. Pick a time everyday to post something. Even if you just post what you are doing today to raise awareness about your campaign, that’s enough. And don’t hesitate to ask for help. For instance, “Today I’m reaching out to everyone I used to work with at ABC company. If you can think of anyone there, let me know. Thanks!”
Send personal thank you’s in a timely manner
After a supporter makes a contribution, send them a quick thank you via email or Facebook as soon as possible. (You’ll be able to track who has donated on your campaign page.) Thanking people publicly makes them feel good, and it lets other people know that you appreciate any support. Don’t forget to ask donors to spread the word to their own personal network. Take advantage of this time, when supporters will be feeling good about their contribution and will most likely want to do even more to help.
Seek out media outlets that will have an interest in your story
Crowdfunding is new and newsworthy, and local TV and newspapers are always on the lookout for stories. Make a list of local papers and TV stations, and see if you can talk to someone there. When these outlets find out about the local angle and how you’re using crowdfunding to raise money, your chances of getting some publicity might be very good.
What about national and online media? Are you trying to right an injustice? Is it a David versus Goliath story? Would other people be interested in what you are doing? Are you raising money for a divorce or a women’s issue? There are many community organizations that could help you spread the word or even donate to your campaign. There are bloggers and magazines that would probably love to hear your story. Google “your issue” + blogger (without the quotes) to find people who write about your issue. Reach out to them. Bloggers love to help and be first with a story, and crowdfunding is new and a newsworthy story!