Expert advice

Phil Geraghty, Peoplefundit

Crowdfunding is a great alternative to high street fundraising. It offers a great opportunity for charities to re-connect with the people that support them. It can particularly work if charities offer a new level of transparency to supporters through it, showing where money is going.

Warm supporters are essential: We work with campaigns for a 30 – 60 day warm-up period, before they launch their crowdfunding campaign.

Work out how many supporters you might get: Start small and pick a project which is easy for everyone to understand. We have an average pledge of £40 on projects, so a £4000 project will require 100 people to pledge. It will always vary, but that is a good place to start.

The crowd can be more important than the funding: If you can start to leverage the time, skills and marketing power of the crowd, then you actually have less need for money. Money is the catalyst that makes today’s society move, but in tomorrow’s world I hope there is a lot more emphasis placed on time and skills.

Danae Ringelmann, Indiegogo

Give the job to an intern: Crowdfunding campaigns are great jobs for college interns, they know social media like the back of their hand.

Videos and perks really work: Campaigns with a video raise 114% more on average. And, 92% of all campaigns that reach their funding target offer perks. Check out our Insights for more data on what drives success. See our guide to campaign basics, here.

There are five main reasons why people get involved: We call these the five Ps and they don’t just apply to crowdfunding. They’re Passion; Participation – because while they are busy and might not be able to devote their jobs to what they care about, this is a way to do something good; Perks – particularly for artistic and product campaigns; Pride – people like to feel they’ve been part of discovering something new; and, Profit (only available on equity crowdfunding platforms).

Maintain engagement: Have discussions online, use updates to poll funders and get their input and ideas on efforts.

Bret Conkin, FundRazr

This could really be the future for charities: The charity sector that adopts this method in their mix will find it a powerful and empowering method to overcome donor fatigue, marshall evangelists and create deep connection.

Set a realistic goal: Under £10k is a good first ask.

Be creative with media: Feature the beneficiaries (not the charity) in an inspirational way – images, video and story-telling. Gamification is proving effective. Operation Sharecraft 2012 was a video game challenge for Save the Children in response to the Kony 2012 backlash. Through it, we were able to engage a whole new class of donor. DC Entertainment matched every $ raised and more than $1m came in 84 days.

You don’t need to offer big rewards: We’ve seen an amazing response to charity campaigns without the requirement for physical rewards. Virtual rewards like shout-outs on social media often work well. Make it fun.

Share widely: Across charity and personal campaigns, successful campaign teams recently reported that 27% of donations came from “people they didn’t know”. This in turn can increase the friend base. We find that at 40% of a goal, entirely new supporters get engaged as momentum has been created. FundRazr gets 300% more visibility for your campaign on social networks than just using the Facebook share feature.

Learn from others and existing resources: Research other successful charity campaigns and look for a model that worked.

Enjoy yourself along the way: Be creative, innovate and enjoy the process. Your supporters will notice. Show some personality and laugh.

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