One of the biggest challenges faced by groups and networks is funding projects. A new method made possible by widespread adoption of the internet has proved a game changer for funding initiatives and is a potential winner for groups striving to make change. Crowdfunding, when combined with social media, can not only be a realistic avenue for fund raising, it can increase awareness and lead to more opportunities. Here’s how you can make the most of crowdfunding for your group or network.
Seize the Moment
There are several types of crowdfunding platforms. Some specialize in projects that offer some kind of business equity to funders. Others offer an incentive for funding relating to the project. Some crowdfunding sites simply ask for funds. When selecting a crowdfunding platform, your group will need to be clear about the best fit for its project. For example, A Handful of Keys was a successful crowdfunding project established by the Coloma Music Arts Association in California. They wanted a grand piano and raised the funds. For donations people could get tickets to concerts and other incentives, so the crowdfunding platform they chose had to support funding rewards.
The nature of your fundraising campaign and its purpose will drive your group’s decision making around what kind of campaign is best. For A Handful of Keys, it made all the sense in the world to offer concert tickets as a reward since the most likely donors would be the very people who were likely to make up the association’s audience.
Get the Pitch Right
One of the most important things to do when applying for crowdfunding is to get the pitch right. A badly written bid for the money will be unsuccessful, as it will be competing against thousands of others. Before you write your pitch, take a look at other successful bids online, especially those similar to your own, and how they are structured. Think about whether you’re offering any incentives to people funding your project and plan this carefully. Some people get specialist bid writers to create their pitch — so check out whether anyone in your group or network has those skills. Save Prajwala is an Indian group that aimed to establish a shelter for trafficked women. Their compelling story got them the $260,100 they needed to build the shelter. Another example is the Wobbly Bridge in Hexham, U.K., which was part of a crowdfunding campaign by the National Trust. Using a clear pitch and photos the bridge got the funding for repair work.
Attract Attention With Social Media
With crowdfunding, social media is a winner, as you can get your message out to a wider audience with an interest in your cause. Learn how to use hashtags effectively.
It’s critical to start with friends and family who have already committed to donate and then get them to share the message to their networks. Up to 30 percent of your donations will come from people you know. Crowdfunding bids are more likely to succeed if people see donations being made. In fact, a great way to fall flat with your campaign is to launch it on a crowdfunding platform without doing any other promotion and expect the platform to just deliver donors. Treat it like any other campaign and prime the pump.
Try sending a different social media message each day to keep things fresh and to hold people’s attention.
Using traditional media is another way of attracting attention, so write a press release for your local newspaper or radio station. Using the traditional media alongside social media is a really effective way of getting messages out about your project. The Ice Bucket Challenge raised a significant amount of money for the James McCarthy Foundation using social media to watch people making a donation and then pour ice cold water over themselves (memorable and funny!). People taking part then had to nominate another person to take the challenge and donate more funds.
Finally, once you have your supporters, don’t forget to thank them and keep them engaged with what you’re doing with their donation. You can create a mailing list and keep them up to date with developments so they know their money has been spent correctly. You also then have a group of supporters you can approach for the next project that needs to be funded.