Running a crowdfunding campaign doesn't have to be difficult. Here are some simple tips to help make your campaign a success.


1. Think What Will Appeal to Donors

The people you reach with a crowdfunding campaign may not be familiar with what you do, so try and choose a project that will appeal to as many people as possible and where you can clearly show what the impact will be.

Imagery is very important. Think carefully about the pictures and/or video footage you use and avoid anything that is too disturbing or upsetting as this can put prospective supporters off.

When you’re filling in the campaign template, think about it from the perspective of a supporter and make sure you include the following information;

  • A little about your charity and its aims
  • The problem you want to solve
  • What you're going to do about it
  • Exactly what you need in terms of money, people, and/or goods
  • How you’ll use these resources
  • The timeframe for delivering your project

Be as specific as possible and set realistic goals. If your charity is local or not very well known you might want to think about running several small campaigns rather than one big one.

Before you publish your campaign, it's also a good idea to get feedback from some people who aren’t directly involved with your charity and ask them how likely they’d be to support it.

Don’t forget that, as well as raising money, you can also use WildCrowd to find volunteers and citizen scientists, and to request goods like pet food and building materials.

2. Plan Your Incentives

Rewards

You don’t have to offer rewards unless you want to. People who donate money to your campaign will automatically be eligible for the WildCrowd reward scheme and can take advantage of offers from a range of ethical companies.

If you do want to offer a reward, you just need to fill in a simple form and we’ll set it up on our system. We'll provide you with a list of promotional codes and when one of your supporters claims a reward we’ll email them one of these codes to redeem with you directly. It’s your responsibility to make sure they receive their reward promptly and to deal with any questions, so only offer rewards if you have the resource to do this.

Rewards can be a good way of building an ongoing relationship with your supporters for example. If your organization has a membership scheme you might want to offer membership as a reward when someone makes a larger donation. However you should be aware that offering a reward might have tax implications and could prevent you claiming gift aid if the reward is above a certain value.

Rewards don’t have to be expensive. In fact, it’s often the things money can’t buy that have the greatest appeal. We’ve listed a few more ideas below, but you might also want to brainstorm some of your own.

  • An invitation to an exclusive talk or event
  • A naming opportunity, e.g. a plaque on a new building with the names of the major donors
  • If you run an animal sanctuary or a nature reserve you could offer donors a guided tour
  • An invitation to a launch or new opening
  • A day shadowing a member of staff, e.g. a warden or a volunteer

Impact Levels 

Another great way to encourage people to contribute to your campaign is to show them how their donation will make a difference. This is easier for some projects than others, but it’s a great way to help bring the project to life. For example, a charity raising money for a project to vaccinate stray dogs might set impact levels for donations at £20, £50 and £100, enabling them to vaccinate four, ten and twenty dogs respectively. Or, if you’re raising money for a building project, you might ask donors to buy a brick or a window. People often donate more when they can see exactly how it will help.

3. Engage Your Existing Supporter Base

Talk to your most loyal supporters before you launch your campaign and ask for their help to get the ball rolling. People are more likely to give when they can see that others have given already. Studies show that, once you've reached between 30% and 50% of your target, your chances of getting to 100% increase considerably. It’s important to rally your existing supporters to help you reach these milestones as quickly as possible.

Once your campaign is live, email your contacts and use social media to tell everyone about it. Always include a link to your campaign page and don’t forget to ask members of staff and other people close to the charity, like trustees and volunteers, to share the campaign with their friends and family too. If you have corporate partners ask them if they'll promote your campaign to their staff and customers.

Many charities have high profile patrons with large followings on social media. A crowdfunding campaign is the perfect opportunity to ask for their help. Make it easy by offering to write the tweet or post for them, and don’t forget to include a link to your campaign page.

4. Reach Out to Your Community

Media coverage can make a big difference to your campaign, and sending out a press release is a good place to start. You probably already have some contacts you can use, but if not, reach out to your local media outlets with an email or phone call. If your charity is small and you don’t have a press officer, you’ll find lots of helpful information about writing a press release on the internet and we’ve also pulled together a few ideas here:

  • Think about the local angle for your story. It will be easiest to get coverage in the area where your project or charity is located.
  • Keep your headline short and to the point. It should be tweetable.
  • Make sure the first sentence grabs attention. Start with what you’re going to do rather than background information about your charity.
  • Your release should be no longer than one page of A4. That’s between 300 & 400 words.
  • Cover the five W’s: Who, what, why, where and when.
  • Include a quote, ideally from someone who will benefit from the project.
  • Follow up by phone to make sure that your release has got to the right person and to answer any questions.
  • Offer to be interviewed.

You might also want to consider holding a launch event for your campaign and invite journalists, supporters, community members, and other people of influence to attend. Talking to people face to face is always the most powerful way to get your message across.

5. Keeping the Momentum

After putting a lot of effort into launching your campaign, it can be tempting to sit back and wait for the money to roll in. But, it’s very important to keep reminding people that you value their support and you need their help to make the campaign a success.

Post an update on your campaign page at least once a week and use pictures whenever you can. For example, if you’ve received a donation of pet food, take a photo of a pet enjoying it.

  • Post regular updates on social media and encourage followers to share your campaign with their friends and family.
  • Celebrate and thank supporters when you reach key milestones. Elicit their help in getting to the next one.
  • Make sure you include a link to your campaign on your website, in newsletters and in blogs.
  • Always respond quickly to questions and comments.
  • Make sure you send rewards out promptly and respond to people who volunteer or offer to donate goods within 48 hours of receiving an e-mail alert from us.

Try and set aside about half an hour a day to manage your campaign. Obviously you don’t have to do everything yourself so ask others to help if you're short of time.

6. Celebrate Success

So far we’ve focused on how to manage your campaign, but of course that’s just the beginning. What really matters is what happens next.

Even if you didn’t raise quite as much money as you’d hoped, it’s important to thank everyone who contributed to your campaign, and tell them about any changes to your project. Have a look at our section on reporting back for more information about what to do if you have a shortfall or exceed your target.

Once your project starts you should post regular updates on your campaign page to tell your supporters how it’s going, it’s also a great opportunity to share pictures and videos of the work in progress. 

When the project is complete we’ll ask you to complete a closing report. This step is important because when people see how their contributions were used and what you've achieved, they’ll be much more likely to support you again.  

Hopefully you’ve found this section helpful but we’d love to hear from you if there’s anything we’ve missed or if you’d like to share your own crowdfunding tips.

Contact us at WildCrowd