You might be reading this article because you’re facing specific crowdfunding challenges. Or maybe your fundraising campaign is going better than you could’ve imagined. In either case, understanding the most common problems fundraisers face can help you become a better fundraiser—you can avert trouble before it arises, and take advantage of opportunities others might miss.
Challenge 1: How to choose a platform
The first and most obvious fundraising challenge is how to pick the right crowdfunding platform for your fundraising campaign. There are several steps involved, and it can be difficult to compare features when sites present themselves in different ways.
Solution 1: Do your research
Some key elements to look for in a crowdfunding platform:
- Platform fees (and other fees): How much of the money you raise will go to the crowdfunding site? At some sites, it can be 5% or more. YouCaring has no platform fee. For more details, see Which Fundraising Site has the Lowest Fees?
- Helpful and free resources: Does the platform create free resources available to you, including detailed guides to every step of the fundraising process, fundraiser ideas, and other tips, to help you make the most of your efforts?
- Trust and safety: Fraud remains an issue on some crowdfunding sites. Will supporters be able to trust that your campaign is legitimate?
- Overall credibility and track history: Look at reviews, testimonials, and news articles. Who owns the platform? Is it a for-profit corporation, a nonprofit or Certified B corporation created to serve the community?
- Customer service: Does the site have live chat support? Dispute resolution? Can you reach someone by phone if needed, or are you on your own? Don’t settle for bad or nonexistent customer service.
- Social media integration: A huge portion of donations come from people sharing your campaign on social media. It’s vital that your fundraiser is easy to share on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
- Mobile optimization: With more and more people donating on mobile devices, your fundraiser page should be optimized for mobile. That means the donation experience should be quick, easy, and clear.
- For an in-depth look at the differences between specific platforms, take a look at our blog posts 22 Top Crowdfunding Sites and Who Is YouCaring For?
Solution 2: Define your needs in relation to the platform
Different platforms suit different needs. What does your campaign need? Know what you’re looking for, and the decision gets a lot easier. Ask yourself:
- Who or what am I raising funds for? Charity, medical needs, personal causes? These are well suited for a platform like YouCaring. Business, real estate, honeymoon, creative project, new product? These are best served by other platforms.
- What fundraising model is the best fit? Do you want to reward donors with new products you’re launching? Give them equity for their donation? Or simply raise funds as a charity would?
- What resources do you need? Do you want the platform to help you ship products to donors? Manage a vast donor base for a fundraising team working in different locations? Help you communicate with donors? Provide tips and ideas?
For more information about which crowdfunding platforms best serve different types of campaigns, see How to Determine the Best Crowdfunding Site for You.
Challenge 2: How to write your campaign story
Solution 1: Tell your story honestly
In your fundraiser description, don’t be afraid to be honest and open. This study found that people are more likely to give to charitable causes when they’re given specific personal information. Similarly, people show more empathy toward specific people than toward a large, less identifiable group. In human psychology, this is known as the identifiable victim effect.
Consider including the following information and more:
- Your connection to the cause or beneficiary
- Why you (personally) are running this campaign
Beyond including personal information, there’s a lot you can do to sharpen your storytelling skills and give your campaign a boost. Looking for a great example? Check out how this fundraiser’s description for inspiration.
Solution 2: Use photos and videos to spark empathy
Photos and videos are rich with information—and a great way to build empathy. At YouCaring, we’ve found that campaigns that include more than one photo raise more than twice as much as those without. Learn the best way to crop a photo for your fundraiser. For more information on building empathy through images and video, see How to Use Empathy to Tell Your Best Story. You can also download our Campaign Toolkit for more help.
Challenge 3: How to overcome embarrassment when asking for help
Solution 1: Remember that people welcome opportunities to give (especially if they’re thanked publicly)
Shift your focus from thinking about your own embarrassment to thinking about what’s in it for the recipient—and for donors. When people want to appear compassionate to others, it’s part of a phenomenon called conspicuous compassion. Give donors an opportunity to feel good about giving, including the option to publicize your thank-you’s on social media and on your campaign page. Intrigued? There are endless ways to use psychology to boost your crowdfunding campaign.
Solution 2: Lean on family and friends for emotional support
Talk through any feelings you’re having about running the campaign with people close to you. If you feel like sharing your campaign means you have to swallow your pride, talk through it. The words of encouragement you’re likely to hear—and reminders that you or someone you love deserves support—can help you move forward.
Challenge 4: How to ask for donations
Solution 1: Show how donations will make a difference
This study found that people are more likely to give when they perceive that their donation will make an impact. Make it easy for donors—show them specifics of how the funds will help. An easy way to do this is to break down the costs you’re facing, and be transparent about where the money will go. When someone sees what a certain amount will buy, they’ll be more likely to donate that amount. See the example pictured below.
Solution 2: Review our tips about making “the ask”
You’ll find several ways to go about asking for donations, including in person, email, social media, events, and more. It’s important to use the methods that feel right to you. There are some key fundraising do’s and don’ts when it comes to asking for donations. New to fundraising? Try these eight donation request tips for beginner fundraisers.
Challenge 5: How to find new donors
Solution 1: Get local media coverage
Few things get your campaign as much attention as local media coverage—including interviews and event coverage. To get your campaign in the news, see our guides How to Get Local Media to Cover Your Fundraiser and Tips for Writing an Effective Fundraiser Press Release.
Solution 2: Use social media, events, and other tools to raise awareness
One thing seasoned fundraising teams know is that each avenue your pursue brings awareness to different groups of people. An event, for instance, reaches people that social media might not, and vice versa. Contests, challenges, special online content—explore the possibilities with these 15 simples ways to skyrocket awareness for a cause.
Challenge 6: What to do when your campaign stalls
Solution 1: Post more updates more often
Fundraising updates can have a measurable impact on your results. Our data shows that campaigns that post regular updates raise more funds than those that don’t. Why are updates so important? First, they keep existing donors engaged with your story, giving them something new to share with their own friends. Updates might even inspire follow-up donations. Updates also show would-be supporters that you’re making progress. Thank-yous to existing supporters might motivate them to donate. Updates bring other advantages as well—see How to Write a Fundraising Update for details.
Solution 2: Use marketing techniques that reach beyond your immediate circle
Try some advanced crowdfunding tactics—see our guide to Viral Fundraising and the useful article 20 Free Online Fundraising Tools. Run a social media contest. Start a YouTube channel. Connect with related communities, online and off. Create highly shareable content. Any one of these approaches has the potential to launch a wave of new interest.
Turn fundraising struggles into campaign wins
We hope these solutions to common fundraising challenges help you overcome (or avoid) them. Our blog and help pages are full of more useful, free information to help you make the most of your efforts, including Successful Fundraisers Avoid These Common Mistakes. And if you haven’t already setup your crowdfunding campaign, start today.