How do you start a fundraiser the right way? Successful fundraising for charity or personal causes starts with these four characteristics of compassionate crowdfunding.
Be Vivid: Paint Your Picture
Inspiring generosity begins with honesty, heart, and spirit. Begin your YouCaring fundraiser campaign page with a story that honors your unique cause. Use vibrant words that detail the area of need, as well as hopes and feelings about why your cause matters. Be specific about what difference it will make if people lend a hand.
Great visuals are vital to attracting donors to your online fundraiser. Add plenty of photos. Create a short video. When you create an emotional connection through your fundraiser page, you invite potential donors to care about your cause.
Be Connected: Reach Your Circle
Make your communications personal. Plan your outreach thoughtfully by making a list of everyone you know, then deciding the best way to let them know about your online fundraiser. Which friends and family would respond best to a personal call? Email? Text message? What would people in your social network prefer a personal message before seeing a broad announcement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram? Keep track of your outreach and responses via each channel.
Be Brave: Tell The World
Risk vulnerability when you tell your story. Although it can be scary to tell the world about the reason you are asking for help, it is worth taking the chance to inspire compassion among your potential donors. Build understanding, caring, and empathy by posting messages about your fundraiser. Ask your connections to share your story with their contacts, too. Read a few of YouCaring’s crowdfunding success stories for examples of communications that attract donors, and don’t miss our tips for how to use social networking for fundraising.
Be Persistent: Keep Growing
Become a consistent, trusted source of information about your cause. Many donors need to see and hear details a few times before they are ready to contribute to your crowdfunding campaign, so keep a respectful cadence to your outreach. On your YouCaring fundraiser page, use the Updates tab to share news frequently about progress, deadlines, hardships and celebrations. Add information on your fundraiser page frequently (you could use some of your social networking messages). Track the frequency of your posts, emails, and responses on your fundraiser page and your social network, and see what works best. Apply your learnings to your next round of updates.
How do your efforts match up with our checklist for successful fundraising?
How to Personalize Your Fundraising Website?
You found your way to this blog because you are looking for some amazing advice on your online fundraising website. Get ready, your about to get it. Although I might add a warning, the advice might be so simple, you may be tempted to disregard it. Let me assure you, this information is coming from some of the most successful online fundraisers I have ever met. Get ready to have your life changed forever. Creating a personal fundraising page online is a great start, but if you really want to ‘blow the roof off’ there are a couple other simple things you’ll want to do.
Be Passionate about what you’re doing and personalize your fundraising website. A great fundraising page has a lot of features. Let me list a few simple things you can do to change a “blah page” into a “bling page.”
People love seeing pictures. You can never have too many pictures. When you update your pictures, send a link out to everyone you know so they can check out your updated profile. Get them coming back to see your fresh updates. Get your friends and supporter involved with what you are doing.
Give as much detail as possible about your story. Who are you going with? Where is the money going to be used for? Who is going to be helped? How do you feel about going or what you are about to do? Let people hear your passion about your cause.
A video can add a ton to your fundraising website. It doesn’t need to be perfect, just let it be real. A short video is great. Passion! Let people see how much you care about what you are doing. Upload it to YouTube and attach it to your YouCaring fundraiser profile.
The more personal you can make your fundraising website the better. People want to support passionate causes, all you need to do is communicate this to them with a great fundraising page.
4 Simple Steps From A Fundraising Pro
I just had a revelation! Just because you have a fundraising website is on the web does not mean people are going to “come-a-running”. The great thing about promotion is it is totally in your control.
Let me show you how to work really smart and ‘sort-a’ hard which will bring you incredible results.
1. For a more personal touch, call your friends and family. Then follow up with a personal email. It doesn’t need to be a big deal, just mention it to them in regular conversation and tell them you will email them the LINK. This is a simple and very effective way to promote your cause. These people love you the most and want to see you succeed. Chances are they will want to help out. You are bold and courageous! You believe in what you are doing and it shows.
2. If you know them, email them. Email Everyone. I am always surprised when I hear about the large donations that come in for some people and they hardly even know the donor. Believe me when I say, “There are people all over the world wanting to help and be a part of something amazing.” You just don’t know who they are, until they send you the financial support. These people need to know about your amazing fundraising website. The more personal the letter, the better.
Use this Fundraising Checklist to enhance your efforts.
3. Remember all those friends you have on Facebook that you have never met and don’t know? No? Neither do we, but they are about to find your amazing fundraising website. Contact them all. Remember, don’t send out a mass email. Find groups of friends, contacts, individuals and make it very personal. Mass emails do not work and will just frustrate you. Be strategic, it is not hard. Send one Facebook email out to your church group, old school friends, all the guys at work, or try making a Facebook group. You don’t need to make it complicated, sometimes less is more. Just be sure to leave a LINK to your fundraising website.
4. Don’t forget about Twitter, your personal blogs and all the other social media sites that are popping up every day. Have fun and experiment.
Let me be really blunt. This is pretty easy stuff. What it boils down to is letting other know about your cause and where they can find your fundraiser page. This is what the most successful fundraiser do very well. Be smart and work ‘sort-a’ hard. Don’t be overwhelmed. Pick one step from above and start with that. You’ll be shocked at the results.
Consistency, Persistence, Endurance, & Perseverance!
This is a basic fact in anything if you want to do well, don’t quit. Most donors are not going to give to your cause the first time. Sorry, but it is true. Hey, people are busy, believe it or not, some people will not even read your first email. How rude. Well, now that you know that, it is time to get over it.
I can guarantee the vast majority of fundraisers will see a significant increase in giving on the 3rd or 4th personalized correspondent. Just remember to communicate clearly, simply and with passion. Eventually, the large portion of them will be interested in what you are doing. Remember to make it simple for them to find your fundraising website. When sending out correspondence, attach a LINK back to your fundraising page.
Your emails don’t need to be asking for money, let people know how the fundraising is going and give them the opportunity to give. It is simple. Here is an example:
The first email can be an introduction to what your doing, telling them about your fundraising website and send them a LINK to your page.
The second email can be about an update on what is new with a LINK to your page.
The third email can be telling them about some new pictures you’ve posted with a LINK to your page.
It really is not hard. Send out six updates and you’ll have an amazing fundraiser. Just remember to keep your page updated with fresh content. You’ll be amazed at how many people will want to see what is going on. It is a great way to remind people. Sometimes people just need a reminder.
At YouCaring.com we make all this real simple. Just log-in to your account and check out your dashboard for the details.
Communicating With Your Supporters
You already know that promoting your fundraiser is huge. I want to “dig a little deeper” into this subject. It seems this is where most people get stuck. I am going to show you how to get unstuck.
A general rule of thumb. At the beginning of your campaign mass emails are a no-no.
Why? Different groups of people in your life know you at a different level and should be communicated with differently. You’re probably going to talk to Grandma differently than Peter who you play softball with on the weekends.
Mass emails are impersonal. People are not as excited to donate when they receive a mass email. People are much more open if they receive a personal email, phone call, or just some good old fashion ‘face to face’ conversation.
You also want to control who donates first. You want to have the people who love you the most, give first. Why? The bigger the donations in the front end, the higher your average donation will be overall. When someone comes to your fundraising page you want people to see Ganny’s donation of $100 and Uncle Bob who invested $500 into your amazing cause. That is a strong start. If you send out a mass email, Joe from work might pitch in $5, which is great, but let’s leave him for later in your fundraising campaign.
Do yourself a favor and leave the mass emails for the very last step. You will be glad you did.
Divide Up Your Contact List
Group #1 The People Who Love You The Most! This group is your foundation. They consist of ma and pa, grandma and grandpa, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters. These are your biggest supporters and the one’s more likely to set the pace.
Group #2 The People Who Love You But Might Not Be Thinking Of You Right Now. These are your friends, extended family, friends of the family, and the people you work with. You will find a lot of these people will love to hear about what you are doing. They may not be as generous, but they will support you. Communicating with this group will be a little different than how you talk to mama.
Group #3 The People Who Don’t Know You Well Enough To Love You Yet. First of all, let’s face it, if they knew you as well as your close friends, they wouldn’t be able to help by love you. But until that happens, we need to communicate with this group in another way. This group will be people you have met a long time ago, high school friends, Facebook friends, and other acquaintances. These people probably won’t be the ‘big dogs’ in your fundraising campaign. That being said, do not ignore them. After four, five or six updates – you will see the donations coming in. No question. Been there, done that.
Contacting Your Group List The First Time- Let’s Make This Simple
Group #1 – if you really want to ‘hit a home run’
– Call each person in this group and tell them what you are doing, you don’t have to ask for a donation. If it comes up, great. Just be sure to follow the call with a quick email with a LINK to your fundraiser (Hugely important!). If you do this, you will be glad you did. Even if they give you money by sending it to you (it is best to have them donate it online to gain momentum), still give them your fundraiser URL address. This will help you keep them ‘up to date’ and an opportunity for them to pass on the good news about your fundraiser to others.
Once you get some donations, go to Group #2. Calling them would be good, or a PERSONAL email would be great. After you get some donation from Group #2, continue to Group #3. Communicate with these guys through email, Facebook, twitter….be creative.
Keeping The Campaign Rolling
Once you have contacted everyone for the first time, keep them up to date with what is going on with your fundraiser. Have fun with this! Post photos, a crazy YouTube video, write an interesting update. Every time you add fresh content, send out a quick email to everyone letting them know your fundraiser profile is updated. BE SURE TO INCLUDE A LINK TO YOUR PAGE! These emails can be short and quick and point them to your fundraiser page. Believe me, most people are interested in what you are up to. People are encouraged by others who live a life of risk and excitement. You’re a world changer and people are going to want updates. You will find many people will GIVE on the 5th or 6th update. At the very last moment, send out a mass email, thank everyone for following your fundraiser and give them a final update.
Pretty simple stuff really. You are valuable, incredible and completely capable of changing the world in your own way. People want to support you, connect with you and follow you. Start by making a list of your groups.