Last month we kicked off our first crowdfunding effort ever on behalf of a PSA campaign. Our goal is to raise the funds necessary to continue our Bullying Prevention “Be More Than a Bystander” campaign. Launched over two years ago, the campaign is incredibly compelling and has had a significant impact, but we don’t have a non-profit or federal government agency partner to fund the campaign to keep it going. So, we’ve asked the public for help through a program on Tilt.
What I’ve learned so far is that crowdfunding is really hard!! In my 15 years of working in PR/social media, I know how to help get exposure and awareness for important causes. But how do you get people to take that next step and donate money? Last year, 30 percent of the $5 billion raised through crowdfunding went to social causes so it’s definitely a growing trend for non-profits.
Here are some tips that can help with your program, regardless of your cause or the platform you choose (Tilt, Crowdrise, Kickstarter Indiegogo):
1. Make it Personal – Statistics are helpful, but there’s nothing more motivating than a compelling personal story. In fact, campaigns that have a personal video raise over 105 percent more than others. When I think about the reasons why I donate, it’s never about the statistics. 13 million kids are bullied each year which is startling. But the story of Caine in the PSA below or Ally who we featured in our petition on Change.org, that’s why I give. I can’t underscore the value of storytelling and video is a great way to do it.
2. Be Specific and Realistic – When you set your goal, think about the size of your network of supporters and partners and make sure the goal is obtainable. Non-profits like Charity Water have raised millions through crowdfunding but you can’t expect that to happen. Also, tell your prospective donor what the impact will be for every dollar level of their donation. It’s great if you can tie it to your issue. For example, our Bullying program communicates that you should donate, at the minimum, a total of seven dollars–one dollar for each of the seven in 10 people who have witnessed bullying in schools.
3. Keep it Short – Your program should be no longer than 20 to 40 days so you can create a sense of urgency. People tend to procrastinate. Also, before you officially announce the program, reach out to friends/board members/constituents to get them to donate so you’re not starting at zero and it looks like a program that has some momentum behind it.
4. Share Progress – Thank your donors and communicate progress regularly. Whether it’s through emails or mail, your donors want to hear about the impact that they’ve contributed to.
5. Leverage Influencers – Crowdfunding is community building. Identify the people who are passionate about your cause and are influential among your key target audience. It’s not always about the celebrity factor, and you need a marketing plan.
Lastly, write blogs like this one to get the word out further!
Please donate to help keep our Bullying Prevention efforts going!! It’s such a critically important campaign that can help so many kids throughout the country. Click here to support us! Every dollar counts!