YouCaring wants your online fundraiser to be as successful as possible. Rueben Mayes outlines essential insights for fundraising, with a strong message to put aside any fear about asking others for money, in his Fundraising 101 TEDx talk. Before you start your online fundraiser, understand these 10 fundraising principles:
The Three Tenets of Fundraising
- Match the needs of your donor with the needs of an organization. Approach fundraising as a matchmaking process; you’re helping people by connecting them to philanthropy that embodies their values.
For example, if your online fundraiser centers on school needs, approach and connect with school parents, school staff, and the local business community.
- Recognize that philanthropy is an emotional transaction not necessarily grounded in logic. Your potential donor will respond more to an emotional appeal more than to a strictly logical one.
Bring honest emotion into your story. Describe the event that caused you to start this fundraiser. Explain what you and others have been through and why it matters. What are the consequences if money isn’t raised what? Make it compelling and show why others need to care.
- To raise money, you need a coherent goal. Fundraising takes place during the course of a set of meetings within a defined time period.
In the context of online crowdfunding, the first few weeks are crucial for your online fundraiser success. Communicate your goal clearly with specific details. Post updates frequently to share your progress with visitors on your site.
In order to make an effective pitch, Rueben Mayes argues that every donor needs certain assurances. The following tip will help you form solid connections with donors.
The Seven Keys to a Successful Fundraiser:
- Long-term commitment from the organization – in order to maintain your donors’ trust, your organization needs to follow through on its stated goal. One way to show your commitment to a fundraiser is by making a contribution yourself before asking other people to give.
For your own fundraiser, why not be the first to make a donation to exemplify the generosity you request from others?
- Build a case for support or a clear and consistent message that connects potential donors to the cause you represent.
Connect the dots for people to see why your fundraiser is important to them, specifically, and how their values and interests align with this cause. State these connections clearly. You will make it easier for them to identify with your cause and realize that they want to contribute to it.
- Explain what the local impact will be – how will this money impact the donor’s community? People tend to feel strongly about issues that affect their local community, so find ways to bring it home.
Show how the funding creates opportunities, new products or services, or greater quality of life. Descriptions, specifics, and dollar amounts all provide solid reasons to support your fundraiser.
- Seek to create measurable impact. When you can demonstrate change created by your program, you build trust.
For example, if kids in your after-school program tend to get better grades, find a concrete number to show donors. If you’re fundraising for an organization or program that hasn’t started yet, get hard data on the existing problem so that you can demonstrate your impact later on.
- Articulate how the money will be spent. Donors want to know how their money will be used. Will it cover operations costs, create scholarships, or benefit an endowment? Where is the money going?
People often want to know how their donation will actually be spent toward making a real, specific difference. Write frequent updates to show how donations are making things happen and transforming a bad situation into a much better one. Explain how the money you collected at different stages will make new things possible.
- Ask for the money! This is the most straightforward, most important, but often most intimidating step. People have a tendency to overthink things; true, you can’t know what’s going on in someone’s life that may prevent them from contributing. Mayes argues that by asking them, you’re including them in your organization’s mission and giving them an opportunity to get involved. Even if they can’t or don’t want to donate, people almost always appreciate that you reached out to them.
For your online fundraiser, the key is to share it on social media. Encourage your networks to share your fundraiser so that you will cast a wide net of of supporters for your cause. The critical step to online fundraising is telling your story and making it accessible to others.
- The final element is stewardship. People have an innate desire to be seen, and thanking them for their contribution is one of the most important parts of the fundraising process. Mayes suggests thanking your donors seven times, whether it be through a letter, an email, a phone call, or other forms of follow up. Even if your donor wants to remain anonymous, know that it’s your job to make them feel appreciated. Sometimes a heartfelt phone call can accomplish this more effectively than a plaque.