Crowdfund campaigns can give charities the opportunity to raise money online. By campaign, we mean a project on a crowdfunding website that tells everyone what that charity is fundraising for and why. The charity then shares it as widely as possible – using online and offline marketing techniques to encourage supporters to make financial pledges to the cause.
You’ll need a clear idea of what you want to fund, great messaging to communicate your idea, a fundraising target and a timeframe in which to meet it.
Build your team
No man is an island, and it’s never been truer for a crowdfunding society. Getting a team involved and having individual roles and responsibilities not only spreads the load, it also increases the reach of the project exponentially.
Crowdfunding does not have to fall only on the heads of the fundraising team though – it’s an opportunity for everyone to get involved and to spread the word on their social networks, to their friends and family. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to come together to be creative about what the crowdfunding project could be and how the campaign will work for you.
AH20, a charity set up in memory of Anton Hawkins, who died in a car crash, used crowdfunding to bring in cash to get established; it’s worth noting that crowdfunding is a viable fundraising option for new charities as well as for established organisations.
Crowdfunding is a great way for small charities to broaden their network online, reach out to new supporters and raise awareness; it’s about more than the money, and a crowdfunding campaign doesn’t cost much. Typically, platforms take a small percentage of the total amount raised to cover administration costs.
When setting a crowdfunding target, charities will need to be realistic about the funds they need to raise, and understand how many pledges they’ll need to meet their target. Some platforms run all or nothing campaigns where the funding target must be met within the timeframe before funds are released. Others, like Indiegogo, allow fundraisers to withdraw whatever funds they raise. All or nothing campaigns tend to be more successful, with more funds raised due to the sense of urgency the chosen timeframe creates.
Simon Walker, head coach at Crowdfunder, said: “It’s important that people don’t try to raise a huge amount of money without thinking about how they’ll reach out to their audience and provide rewards that people will want to pledge on.
“Charities will need to think about how they can create fantastic rewards that benefit what they are raising the funds for – and giving their supporters a real, tangible reason to pledge.”
Reward your backers
Rewards-based crowdfunding means that when people pledge funds to a project they get a gift in return as a thank you. (As opposed to equity-based crowdfunding where businesses give away a share in their company in return for investment.)
Organising rewards is an ideal opportunity for charities to reach out to their local business community and ask for gifts or products that can be used as rewards for the campaign. Another way to create great rewards is by using your charity as a base for special events or ‘money can’t buy’ experiences. A great example of this is the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People campaign that offered a variety of rewards, such as a company away day at their beautiful HQ in Buckinghamshire, a bespoke pub quiz and personalised thank-you cards to raise funds to buy a new PupMobile for their charity.
It’s an ideal fundraising method, and registered charities are even able to claim Gift Aid on rewards, provided they meet the conditions as stated by HRMC.
Warm up your community
Charities are in a brilliant position for crowdfunding because of their already engaged audiences. All crowdfunding projects need to “warm up the crowd” before their project goes live, to build anticipation and ensure everyone knows about the campaign. Early-bird and exclusive rewards are a great way to get a crowdfund off to a great start. Email your database, use Facebook and Twitter to let people know about the campaign, get your audience ready to pledge and make sure they know exactly how they can pledge by sharing the link as far and wide as possible.
The campaign is live – now what?
Once you’ve put in all the legwork and your charity crowdfunding campaign is live, you need to keep the momentum going and keep spreading the word. The more people are talking about the crowdfunding campaign, the more people will pledge on it.
Set yourself up a bespoke hashtag on Twitter so you can follow who is talking about your campaign, and don’t forget to tweet from the platform you are crowdfunding on – of course, they want to see your project succeed.
Posted from : http://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2014/sep/17/crowdfunding-charities-essential-advice-fundraising