Are you preparing to start a crowdfunding campaign for yourself or on behalf of a loved one? If you’re new to crowdfunding, or if you’ve launched a campaign before, you know the process can seem a bit overwhelming at first. However, by strategizing before you launch your campaign, you’re sure to be on your way to fundraising success. Since there are so many variables to consider when launching a campaign, we’ve compiled this list of tips and resources to help save you time, energy, and get you started on the right foot so your campaign hits the ground running.
First Things First
The first step in launching your crowdfunding campaign is to make sure you’re building an online presence with the use of social media. This way, when you launch your campaign, you’ll already have a social following and therefore you’ll have potential donors and supporters who can share your campaign within their networks as well. Take a look at any successful crowdfunding campaign and you will see that it’s been shared hundreds, if not thousands of times on social media – the more, the merrier! Here are a few pointers to consider when developing your social media strategy:
- Build Your Social Networks – Most of you likely have a Facebook or Twitter account already, but if you don’t, it’s time to get on board! In just a few minutes you can easily create an account, import contacts, and start creating your online community prior to launching your campaign. Sharing your campaign across social media networks is the #1 way to gain exposure for your cause, build momentum, and receive the max amount of donations. For simple steps on how to create and use a Facebook or Twitter account, check out our post Creating and Using Social Media to Promote Your Fundraiser
- Create a Hashtag – Before you launch your campaign, create a unique hashtag that you’ll be able to add to all of your social media posts. Using a hashtag helps people to easily find all of your related posts, which will in turn help you gain additional traffic to your campaign. Continuing to use the hashtag in posts will help your fundraiser become more recognizable across social media, so be sure to always encourage your supporters to use the hashtag when they’re sharing your campaign too.
- Post, Tweet, and Repeat – It’s important to have a social media strategy in place before launching your campaign so you can optimize your chances of being successful. When you first share your fundraiser on Facebook or Twitter, it may gain traction right away and donations may start to pour in. Receiving donations right away is exciting of course, but you need to remember that consistency is key when it comes to promoting your campaign. The momentum for your campaign will stall or possibly disappear altogether if you do not continue to share, share, share – so just make sure it’s part of your plan to post, tweet, then repeat!
Six Tips For Launching Your Campaign
Study Successful and Unsuccessful Campaigns – Before you start your campaign, we suggest that you take the time to study several crowdfunding campaigns that have been both successful and unsuccessful; this way you’ll have insight into what you should do as well as what you shouldn’t do when running your campaign. Looking to successful campaigns as a model for your own fundraiser is also a great way to gain inspiration and learn what helped others to reach their fundraising goals. You can learn about several highly successful YouCaring campaigns by checking out our Success Stories page.
This fundraiser, Alan Gustafson – Living With ALS, is an example of a crowdfunding campaign that has all of the components for success. Alan has uploaded images and a heartfelt video of himself talking about his ALS diagnosis, how his life has been affected, his family, and what he’s raising funds towards. This campaign is frequently updated, it has been shared on social media 1.3K times. Alan has been able to raise $133,262 towards his goal so far – amazing!
Create a Website or Blog – Creating a website or blog is the perfect way to build your online community prior to launching a campaign. With your own blog or website, you’ll be able to add as much information as you would like about your cause rather than being limited like on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Utilizing a website or blog is also a great way to build momentum, gain exposure for your campaign, and make connections with potential supporters.
Write a Compelling Story Prior to Launch – In preparation for the launch of your crowdfunding campaign, we suggest taking the time to write a compelling fundraising story beforehand. It may take you several tries to write your story, and you may need to ask a few people to proofread it first, but this will help to ensure that you’re able to perfect your message. A compelling, heartfelt story will help readers form a connection to your cause, which in turn will inspire them to make a donation. For further assistance you can read this great article on How to Write a Proposal for Funding.
Gather Photos and Make a Video – Before you start your campaign, gather high quality images to be uploaded to your fundraiser. Images help potential donors visually connect with your campaign, and campaigns that use five or more photos raise twice as much as those with just one. Making an impactful video about your cause is an excellent way to prepare yourself for your campaign launch, as fundraisers with videos raise 70 percent more on average than those without. For additional resources on utilizing photos and videos for fundraising success, take a look at these great tips: How Images Can Lead to Fundraising Success Videos Are Powerful Fundraiser Tools.
Have a Plan For Accepting Donations Offline – Hosting offline fundraising events is a fantastic way to raise donations towards your campaign. Offline events like car washes, jog-a-thons, charity dinners, etc. can be done in conjunction with your crowdfunding campaign, and they’re a great way to rally your community together to drum up additional support. Additionally, some donors may prefer not to make their donations online, so in this case, we suggest having a PO box or mailing address that can be used for those who would prefer to send a check.
Become a Researcher – Researching the top bloggers and social networkers that relate to your cause is vital to your campaign. These people and networkers can help spread word about your campaign as they are the most likely to share it through an interview, article, or a social post. It’s also wise to research and seek out local places who would be willing to help promote your cause, such as the town newspaper, college/university websites, or a local businesses with ties to the community, etc.
Once you’re ready to launch your campaign, create your free online fundraiser and start raising money today!