Often used in conjunction with other fundraising efforts, crowdfunding is an effective way for organizations to raise a lot of funds through small donations from many supporters.
Since it’s a quick and easy fundraising idea, nonprofits can launch their campaigns within minutes. Even though it’s extremely convenient to create a campaign, you still need to put time and preparation into your fundraiser if you want to maintain your momentum and reach your goal.
Looking at examples of similar organizations that were successful will help you understand what features you should include in your own campaign.
There are three crucial components that can help your nonprofit reach your goals:
We’ll look at a Fundly crowdfunding campaign called Empower the Next 1,000 Women and created by the organization Leap to Success, a charity that seeks to build confidence in women who have experienced challenges such as domestic violence and homelessness.
Crowdfunding updates are one of the most underutilized features on most crowdfunding websites. However, posting your campaign’s progress along with other types of updates keeps your cause in your donors’ minds and ties readers to your cause.
It’s especially important for organizations to post updates because supporters will be curious to see how their money is being used. Plus, it helps to establish relationships with supporters that will be beneficial in your future fundraising endeavors.
For nonprofits especially, it’s vital that you establish lasting donor relationships so that supporters will want to continue giving to your cause. Crowdfunding updates gives you the opportunity to start the engagement even before the campaign ends.
Crowdfunding updates example:
The Empower the Next 1,000 Women campaign does an excellent job of promoting their cause through fundraising updates.
Let’s look at the first update:
While short and sweet, this update connects their cause to a nationally known event: Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Instead of directly asking for donations, this update encourages supporters to follow Leap to Success on Facebook (where they also posted the update) and watch a video.
With this approach, potential donors can discover more about the cause before contributing.
The campaign also uses the crowdfunding updates feature to thank supporters for their contributions.
Here’s an example:
This update does a lot of things well:
- It highlights a donor. Not only has this donor given a pretty significant contribution, but she is also a graduate of the Leap to Success program. By showcasing a donor who was previously a part of the program, the update helps illustrate its accomplishments.
- The update includes an image. The image draws the readers’ attention and helps connect them to the cause and the supporter.
- It includes a quote from the donor. Potential donors get an opportunity to see the impact their donation can have for the women this organization supports by seeing the success of one graduate.
The updates that Leap to Success posted are effective in connecting people to their cause and encouraging them to support the campaign. While the campaign is still running, Leap to Success has managed to raise $16,970, well over their $10,000 goal!
Best practices for crowdfunding updates:
Now that you see how the Empower the Next 1,000 Women campaign handled their updates, you can start using similar best practices to create your own crowdfunding updates.
Here are three ways you can create updates:
- Share more than just your campaign’s milestones. While it’s good to keep donors informed about your campaign’s progress, you can also post updates that highlight donors and offer contributors more information about your cause.
- Post frequently. Nonprofits should create a schedule so that they can post frequently and consistently. Donors will come to expect your updates, which will tie them to your cause even more.
- Include visuals in your updates. Visuals can get your readers interested in your content and complement your organization’s message.
For more tips on how you can share updates with your supporters, check out this helpful resource.
Pictures and videos can engage potential donors and give them an opportunity to see your organization in action, serving the people or communities you support.
With that said, no crowdfunding campaign is complete without at least one image. If your organization has the resources, you should also consider creating a video to engage donors further.
Crowdfunding visuals example:
Look at the Empower the Next 1,000 Women fundraising page to see how Leap to Success uses images and videos:
The first thing that donors see when they land on the page is a video that further describes the organization’s mission.
The video starts with compelling stories from the women the organization has helped and then describes the Leap to Success program.
Another video was uploaded after they reached their goal of $10,000 to thank donors for the support they’ve given.
In both videos, Leap to Success lets the women they serve tell their stories so that potential donors will connect with the cause and see the impact that their donations can make.
Along with the two videos, the fundraising page also has images that showcase the program.
Every visual helps potential donors understand the cause and how the funds will be used.
Best practices for visuals:
As you can see, including visuals on your nonprofit’s crowdfunding page can illustrate your cause and connect donors to the people or communities you serve.
When you add images or videos to your crowdfunding page, you should:
- Highlight volunteers or the people you serve. The key is to let potential donors see what your organization hopes to accomplish. By showing volunteers in action or the people you serve, donors can see your past accomplishments and understand why your cause is important.
- Pick quality images that match your brand. Using high-quality images will make your crowdfunding page look more professional. Make sure that all your visuals are consistent with your organization’s brand.
- Continue to post images even after the campaign ends. Keep posting images so that donors can follow your campaign’s progress and see how their donations are being used.
Your crowdfunding page should have at least one image, but it’s especially important for organizations to include more than one visual to convey their mission to potential donors. Plus, you can use those visuals when your share your campaign on social media, which we’ll cover in the next section.
One of the benefits of creating a crowdfunding campaign is that your organization has the perfect opportunity to raise awareness for your cause and potentially reach new donors.
For that to happen, you’ll need to use the power of social sharing. You can’t have a successful campaign without promoting your page on social media outlets.
With that said, you need to learn how to optimize your social media posts so that you can reach as many potential supporters as possible.
Social sharing example:
Leap to Success promoted their crowdfunding campaign on both Facebook and Twitter.
The following post was made on Facebook when they were close to reaching their goal:
This simple and short post manages to do a lot of things successfully. Here’s how:
- The post starts by thanking donors. Instead of immediately asking for donations, the post is focused on the donor by expressing gratitude for how far they’ve come.
- It also mentions that they only have just under $800 left to make their goal. By mentioning how close they are to reaching the finish line, donors are more likely to contribute to help them succeed.
- The post includes a link to their crowdfunding page. The post directs donors to where they can give, making it easy and convenient.
Let’s look at another example for Twitter:
— Leap to Success (@Leap2Successorg) November 28, 2016
This example shows how Leap to Success promoted their campaign on #GivingTuesday. Not only did they include a visual, but they also linked to their fundraising page and included a hashtag.
Best practices for social sharing:
With the examples above, you can see how important it is for organizations to share on social media.
Use the following best practices to create your social media posts:
- Don’t just ask for donations. If your organization wants to maintain a presence on social media platforms, you can’t always ask for donations. Post educational information so donors can learn more about your cause and acknowledgements to show that you care about your donors’ support.
- Use other events or holidays to encourage people to give. Leap to Success uses #GivingTuesday and Domestic Violence Awareness Month to help promote their cause. Your organization can also post on important days related to your cause to help raise awareness for your campaign.
- Use up to four hashtags. Hashtags help people find your posts. Plus, you can create your own hashtag and encourage supporters to use it. That way, you can follow the conversation surrounding your campaign.
Sharing your campaign will help you reach new donors and achieve your goals, so it’s important that you invest time into your social media promotion.
Leap to Success managed to reach their goal by updating donors on their crowdfunding page, posting engaging and emotional videos, and sharing their campaign on social media.
You can put your organization’s personal touch on these strategies to help your campaign succeed!
Check out the following additional resources if you want more ways to improve your crowdfunding campaign:
- Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits and Charities. Many organizations combine their crowdfunding campaign with a fundraising event to raise even more. Check out these ideas to see how you can add to your online fundraiser.
- Donation Request Letters. In addition to social media, you can reach out to donors via email or direct mail. Learn how with this helpful guide.
- Crowdfunding Examples. Want to learn more from other successful campaigns? Check out this list of crowdfunding examples for more suggestions.