5 Ways to Supercharge Your Next Crowdfunding Campaign

Crowdfunding is a powerful tool for non-profit organizations.  After running several successful crowd fundraising campaigns, it is my believe that every non-profit, no matter how small or large, can and should run at least one crowdfunding campaign per year for their organization.

While crowdfunding has massive potential, it does take planning and work to run a successful campaign.  Here are five ways your non-profit can supercharge its next crowdfunding effort to maximize revenue:

#1: Put Together a Crowdfunding Committee

One of the best things your organization can do to raise more through crowdfunding is to put together a committee to help with campaign.  Similar to an event committee or development committee, the purpose of your crowdfunding committee is to help you fundraise.

The committee you put together should be full of current donors and supporters who are very active online.  Committee members can be asked to spread the word about your crowdfunding campaign through e-mails to their friends and through social media.  As with all fundraising committees, your organization should hold regular meetings and stay in close contact with your crowdfunding team during the campaign.

#2: Talk Directly to Your Supporters… through Video

Non-profit crowdfunding campaigns that feature a video on the campaign page raise far more than campaigns that only feature pictures.  This is because video allows your prospects and donors to get a better feel for your team, your organization, and your project, as well as to see the impact of your work.

Your campaign video need not be expensive – it just needs to look as professional as possible.  Chances are that your non-profit already has a board member, volunteer, or staff member who has a high-quality digital video camera and tripod, as well as some experience editing online video.

Here’s a bonus tip: at some point during the video, feature someone from your staff looking at the camera talking directly to your donors.  Prospects and donors respond particularly well to crowdfunding campaign videos that include a one-on-one conversation (and ask) with a member of your team.

To see what I mean, check out the video for the Build Gateway Green campaign on Indiegogo.  It’s short, but powerful, because it mixes compelling pictures of the project with heartfelt messages from the supporters of the project, speaking directly to the viewers.  The proof is in the pudding: Build Gateway Green raised over $120,000 through crowdfunding in just one month.

#3: Treat it Like a Campaign – Not a One-Off Appeal

Remember that your crowdfunding effort is a campaign – not a one-off fundraising appeal.  This means that in order to be successful, you will need to carryout various activities (including building buzz and making asks) for the entire period during which your campaign is open.

Thus, your team (and your committee) should be prepared to send out regular updates and asks about your campaign to your donor list, as well as make calls, post reminders on social media, and include information about your crowdfunding campaign in offline communications.

#4:  Offer Lots of Perk / Benefit Levels

Many crowdfunding sites allow you to offer different giving levels to your donors, with donors at each level receiving different perks or benefits… things like t-shirts, tickets to your show, producer credits on your film, buttons, gift cards, etc.  Obviously, you want to make sure the perks are valuable to your audience, but also make sure that it doesn’t cost you more to send out the perks than you raise through the crowd-funding campaign.

I suggest that you use lots of perk levels – at least 4, preferably 5-7, maybe 8 or 9 if you really have lots to offer.  Offer a perk at the $1 level – something like, “a heartfelt thank you” for everyone who donates.  Then offer several perk levels in the $10-$50 range, more in the $100-$250 range, and some higher-level perks as well.

For a great example of a non-profit using perk levels to build strong support, check out Save the Historic Huntridge Theater campaign, which raised over $200,000 to fund renovations on a community space in Downtown Las Vegas.  Note that the perks offered are exciting, but closely tied to the work and impact of the project.

#5: Use Multichannel Marketing

Once campaign is launched, your organization will need to do some marketing to keep the dollars coming in.  Most successful campaigns do several rounds of marketing, depending on long it is running.

For example, if you’re running a 90 day campaign, you’ll want to figure out a way to be constantly marketing it over the course of those three months.  Some of the ways you can market the campaign include:

  1. E-mail Blasts – Send out e-mail blasts mentioning the campaign to your entire list.
  2. Social Networks – Mention your campaign regularly on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  3. Your Website – Put a link to the campaign front and center on your organization’s homepage.
  4. PR – Try to get the local newspaper, news radio station, or other media outlets to run a story about your crowd-funding campaign.
  5. Offline Buzz – Mention your campaign at offline events, in your snail mail letters, etc.

You’ll also want to stay on top of your campaign committee and other supporters and remind them to keep e-mailing out about the campaign as often as they feel comfortable.

Crowdfunding can be used by any non-profit to raise the money they need for a particular project or activity.  If you haven’t yet launched a crowdfunding campaign for your organization, give it a try.  With the proper planning and lots of hard work, you’ll be able to hit your funding goal and bring in new donors in the process.

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