Crowdfunding—where one posts an imagined project online and asks people to chip in to fund it—has taken off in the past couple of years. But the process can still be difficult, particularly if the person(s) behind the project don’t see momentum building early on.
Since it’s common for this to happen, Dave Boyce, CEO of Fundly, a crowdfunding website, took to the stage at the Social Media for Nonprofits conference at New York University earlier this month. Here are five tips from Boyce if the money is rolling in slowly.
1.How Did You Set Your Goal?
Some people set their goals too high, or too low. Boyce recommends using this equation: number of fundraisers, multiplied by $1,000, plus the previous yield from the list you are using. But the list must have played a role in raising money previously.
Everything else is a distraction said Boyce. “How much do I want to raise? That’s a distraction. How many Twitter followers do I have? That’s a distraction. Those are not indicators of how you should set your goal, because what you want to do is set a goal that you can reach, because everyone likes to be part of a winning team, and you want to set something that will build momentum and not discourage everybody.”
Boyce said that as long as the tools are easy and integrated well, volunteer fundraisers—such as community members or people on an organization’s board—will be able to raise $1,000 each by reaching out to their networks.
2. How Many People Have You Told?
“People become aware of it because their friend told them about it,” said Boyce. A friend tells 100 people; 15 of those people click through; seven of those people support (might not give money, but will plug into it, such as by presenting it to their network), and five people donate.
“If you’re freaking out about your campaign, did you get your fundraisers out there, and how many people have they told?” said Boyce.
3. How Compelling is Your Story?
“Does it make people cry? Is it visual? Is it specific? Do you have initial supporters? You can tell people to come somewhere, but when they come somewhere is it compelling? When they come somewhere, are their friends, who they know and are connected to on Facebook, right on that page? When you walk by a bar and you say ‘Am I going to go into this bar?’ Is there anyone in the bar? And if there are, are they my friends? Are they people like me? If so, I’m more likely to go in, if not, I’m more likely to pass by.”
When supporters to a campaign hosted on Fundly donate, they are listed on the page with small pictures so people can get a sense of who has been donating to the project.
4. Does the Beat Go On?
Boyce says there’s a rule of seven. The middle part of a project is up to you and your supporters, said Boyce: “You have to share and keep sharing.”
“Your friends love you, right? But they may have to be reminded.”
With email inboxes filling fast nowadays, you should come at people from different angles. People usually need to hear about something seven times before they’ll do something about it.
5. What Results Should I See by When?
Some of the projects on Fundly slowly yet steadily build momentum, increasing gradually over several months before a big push going down the home stretch.
“You keep updating them, you keep celebrating successes—even the incremental successes—and you rally this team all the way to the finish,” said Boyce. “And then all the fundraisers start to get excited because they can smell victory and then they start to share.”
If someone sees the relatively slow trajectory and gives up, they won’t reap the rewards of the boost that most projects receive later on, as their deadline approaches.
Power of Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding has definitely arrived, said Boyce after his talk. In 2012, $3 billion was raised through crowdfunding, double what was raised a year before.
“It’s changed the dynamic of funding forever,” he said. “It is the new world of fundraising for nonprofits, for social good.”
“Writing checks and sticking them in an envelope, I don’t really think about that,” he added. “But I trust my friends, I trust my social network, for recommendations on movies and restaurants, and that’s how I’m going to figure out where I’m going to give back to you, through my social network.”
Source: Epoch Times – Zack Stieber