What’s one of the main reasons that many nonprofit crowdfunding campaigns fail to reach their goal? Too often the communications campaign is institutional and not personal. If you have a campaign up and running now as part of #LatinxsBelong, or are planning one soon, check out these ideas to help build a broader campaign team and personalize your ask.
1. Understand the difference between traditional fundraising and crowdfunding
Crowdfunding is more than online fundraising, it’s SOCIAL online fundraising built on the power of sharing and collaboration. At the risk of generalizing, in traditional fundraising you make the ask on behalf of your organization, and the credibility of the ask rests largely on the track record and reputation of the organization. In contrast, in crowdfunding YOU make the ask for a cause you believe in and you invite others to participate based on their trust in YOU and the values you share.
For this to work you can’t use dry or technical language; aspire to explain the project in your own words and use language that directly encourages people to share the ask. A simple but effective way to do this is make sure that every piece of communication answers these questions in a friendly, down to earth way:
- What problem are we trying to solve?
- How will this project make a tangible difference?
- Most importantly, why should others care?
2. Bring on the Board
Your board members have the networks and influence to draw in donors from wide social and business circles and a vested interest in developing new revenue streams. Make them part of the campaign! Reach out to them personally, explaining the significance of this crowdfunding campaign, and encourage them to share campaign emails and social media posts. Don’t expect them to know how to do it intuitively; use the next board meeting or take the time to speak to them personally and explain how easy it personalize the campaign message so that it makes sense for them to share it to their friends, colleagues, and wider networks.
3. Empower the staff… all of them!
Don’t limit yourself to working with the development team when thinking about your campaign. Brief every member of staff and encourage them to feel part of it and also to develop and share their unique perspective on why the campaign is important to them and their daily work. The very nature of crowdfunding campaigns means that this is not a big request, but a small, additional activity which they can easily fit into their daily work. Follow Voces Mesoamericana’s example by uploading many staff profiles to your HIPGive project page to make people feel involved or offer fun prizes for staff members who share the campaign with the most people.
4. Recruit ambassadors and help them spread the word.
Pretty much everyone is on social media these days, but some people’s voices are louder than others. You might not have many celebrity ambassadors, as is a growing trend during #GivingTuesday for example, but look at your current list of supporters, donors, and volunteers to identify individuals who punch above their weight as thought leaders and have large followings. Rather than ask them to give money, ask them to share—and personalize—key communications throughout the campaign.
To sum up, the key to a successful crowdfunding campaign is developing a genuine and compelling reason to give and entrusting the sharing of this message to people at all levels of your organisation. Yes, by all means you should broadcast the campaign from your traditional communications channels—website, email, and special events—but remember that the emphasis should always be on social, or “people-to-people” fundraising.