How to Get Crowdfunding Donations
Crowdfunding is an amazing way to finance your dream. You can use it get funding for a nonprofit, a startup venture, or even a creative project.
However, I’ve spoken with many hopeful crowdfunders who end up launching a campaign… only to hear crickets.
No one’s taking action. No one’s donating to their campaign.
It’s really, really frustrating. It’s also disheartening.
I want to change all of that for you. With my podcast, Crowdfunding Demystified, I’ve spoken with six and seven figure crowdfunding successes.
On the show, I break down what works and what doesn’t when it comes to raising money. In this blog post, I’m going to share some of the strategies that you can use to get more crowdfunding donations.
Typically, I think of the term “donations” in reference to GoFundMe fundraisers or nonprofit crowdfunding campaigns. I tend to use the word “pledges” when it relates to Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects.
While my advice is geared towards the nonprofits and charity fundraisers in the audience, many of the tips are also applicable to other types of crowdfunding campaigns.
I’m first going to discuss two core exercises that you should go through if you’re angry because you’re not seeing donations to your current campaign. I’ll then go through a few fundamental tips for your crowdfunding efforts.
1. Why would people donate to your campaign?
People are smart. They’re not just going to randomly give money to an online crowdfunding campaign. They donate money for a specific reason.
Let’s pretend that I was to ask one of your donors “Why did you give money to this campaign?”
I want you to get out a sheet of paper and write down the main reasons that you believe these individuals would say they’d give money to your crowdfunding campaign.
These reasons could include:
- I want to feel like I’m impacting an important cause.
- I feel bad or empathize with this individual’s situation
- I want to help out my friend.
- I like this person and want to help them.
- I want to own such and such a product (if it’s a business-related project).
When you begin to write down your assumptions about why people would back your campaign, you’ll be able to hash out your promotion strategy much more easily.
2. Test the assumptions you’ve written down.
Let’s just say that you’re running a GoFundMe campaign and you believe that people will give money to your campaign because they’d want to help you out as a friend.
You then launch the campaign and… none of your friends give money.
You had an assumption, which turned out to be incorrect. There are a few reasons why this assumption could be incorrect, such as:
- Your “friends” aren’t actually your friends.
- Your friends don’t understand why you need the money.
- Your friends don’t believe their donation will help your situation.
- Your friends didn’t actually see your campaign announcement.
- Your friends don’t believe that your need for the funds is greater than their need for the money.
There are many more reasons that your assumption could be incorrect. I want you to take a second and write down all of them that you can think of.
Now… I can’t help you with #1, but I can help with some of the other items. Often times, our friends simply don’t understand what this whole fundraiser is about, why they should give money, how their funds will help, and maybe they don’t even know we’re running a campaign.
Unfortunately, it’s embarrassing to ask your friends for anything and you’re afraid of actually hurting the friendship. But, you have to get over these negative emotions and just do it!
Don’t plead and don’t beg, but it’s pretty normal to ask for genuine help when you need it.
If you are running more of a non-profit style campaign, you would do the same exercise and write down all of the assumptions that you have about your donors, like:
- Donors care about this cause.
- Donors are willing to contribute to help this cause.
- Donors understand how their funds will impact the issue.
When you launch your campaign and don’t see any donations, likely, it’s because one of your assumptions wasn’t correct.
For example, you might be right that donors care about the cause AND that they are willing to contribute to help it, BUT they don’t understand how their funds will impact the issue, and therefore, don’t see the value behind your fundraiser.
In this case, you’d need to communicate your activities more effectively, incorporate storytelling, and break down how their donation will specifically impact the cause.
3. People do things for people that they like and know.
While the reason for seeing funds is going to vary from person to person, there is one thing that everyone has in common.
In general, we will only buy things from or give money to people that we like, trust, and know.
Therefore, your goal should be to increase your own “likability” and allow people to get to know you through the fundraising campaign.
On the subject of likability, we tend to like individuals who are most similar to ourselves.
If you are trying to build rapport with someone, you find common interests, you discuss similar world views, and you try to find what “tribe” they associate themselves with.
Are they a nerd, or a hipster? Are they a Red Sox fan or do they hate watching sports?
We feel pretty normal towards most individuals online. We don’t like or dislike them. The people that we do like tend to be very upfront with their values and world view.
There’s a reason that so many people like celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence. They either admire her qualities, see themselves in her, or want to be more like her.
The only way that you can allow others to “like” you is to put more of your personality into your crowdfunding video and campaign page.
Similarly, this is the only way that you’re going to give individuals the feeling that they “know you.”
4. Create a direct outreach strategy
It’s very easy to fall back on the idea that you’re just going to hit the launch button and immediately have donations pouring into your campaign. Most people aren’t willing to do the work required to reach out individually to potential donors in their network.
You must be willing to directly email, text, and Facebook message individuals in order to get them to donate to your crowdfunding campaign. I’d recommend creating a basic outreach template that you tailor to each person.
When you begin to directly reach out to individuals, you’re more likely to get genuine responses than if you just posted your campaign on Facebook. In addition, you’ll begin to get some common objections like:
- I’m sorry, I don’t have the funds.
- I don’t trust this site with my credit card.
- Wait, so what actually is this for?
This will give you an opportunity to address the objections and then sign them on as one of your campaign donors. You can use tools, like the chrome app Boomerang to help manage these outreach efforts. I’ve put together a tutorial below that will explain more.
5. Stay “top of mind” with celebrations
There are a certain number of people who are going to donate to your crowdfunding campaign right away. Then, there are a lot that will be on the fence.
It’s important to keep your campaign relevant to these individuals throughout the entire fundraising process. You must stay at the forefront of their mind, so that they remember to donate.
One easy way to do is to celebrate every mini victory that you have throughout the campaign. Pretend that it’s a story that is unfolding, and that you’re sharing this story with your audience.
You can share just how grateful you are that X number of people donated within the first three days.
You can share that you’re excited you are, because you’re nearing your fundraising goal.
You can share an anecdote that relates to the fundraising effort.
Keep people tuned in to what you’re doing without spamming them or asking something of them every time you message them.
6. Communicate urgency to prompt action.
The only reason that we do anything is because we feel an emotion first.
Often times, that emotion comes in the form of urgency. This is why we set deadlines to make sure we get work done by a specific date.
Most crowdfunding campaigns have a specific fundraising duration so that potential donors feel that sense of urgency when it comes to your cause or initiative.
They only have a limited time to get their donation in before they can no longer support the project.
If your campaign has no fundraising deadline, then there is less of a push for people to take action right then and there.
At the same time, even though you might have a fundraising duration, you must also communicate that urgency to your potential donors. You have to underscore the fact that campaign will be closing soon.
7. Share your story and your vision
Most people aren’t going to fully read this blog post. It’s actually a lot of work to consume a long article or even a book that’s just strictly informational.
However, so many Americans can breeze through a novel written by Tom Clancy or Nora Roberts.
I can sum up the reason for this behavioral difference in one word: story.
A story is interesting and engaging. It makes someone want to ask, “so what happened next?”
By putting your story front and center, you’ll make it easier to consume the information on your fundraising page and make it easier for them to relate and empathize with you.
Along with sharing your story, I’d also recommend sharing your vision.
When you think about it, a vision is the complete opposite of a story. While a story tells what happened in the past, a vision tells what you want to happen in the future.
Often times, we tend to gravitate towards the “visions” that we want to live out. We pick and choose the stories that we want to embody in our own life.
How do you envision that these funds will make a difference? What change will they enact? Paint a picture for the donor using vivid and concrete language.
8. Put out the right energy and don’t beg
We will naturally tune into people who we believe are delivering value to our lives. We will naturally distance ourselves from people who we believe are taking value from our lives.
You should never beg for donations or plead for people to donate to your crowdfunding campaign.
Not only does this diminish the value of your fundraiser, but it also makes people feel like you are trying to use them to get what you want.
Instead, I’d recommend approaching the fundraising effort with a vibrant, upbeat, and positive energy. Sell the campaign.
9. Mange your own emotions
Finally, you must manage your OWN emotions when marketing your crowdfunding campaign… here’s why.
If you allow your own emotions to overwhelm you, you’ll end up feeling:
- Stressed: Which will make you resort to negative actives, like begging.
- Angry: Which will make you secretly despise others for not helping you, and hurt your marketing
- A sense of urgency: Which will make you resort to desperate measures out of the “hopes” that it will work.
No doubt, this is very difficult to do. But, if you’re able to understand how you’re feeling, it will be easier to be level minded and write up a campaign story that interest potential donors.
In addition, when we come from a negative emotional state, we tend to revert back to a “scarcity mindset.” We just want people to do things for us. We think that the world is against us. It tends to repel others.
When we come from a positive emotional state, we embrace an “abundance mindset” and tend to dish out generosity and good vibes, which in turn attracts people to us. They want to be around the positive energy.
10. Let’s get down to the tactics and strategies
I’ve shared A LOT of different strategies that you can use to get donations for your crowdfunding campaign. But, wouldn’t it be great if there were simple steps that you could just easily follow and put into practice?
That’s why I’m considering putting together a new training program that will go through the exact steps to take that will help you raise far more money on GoFundMe and related websites.
I already have two courses out there on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. This course would be 100% focused on crowdfunding personal expenses.
You can now join the waitlist for this upcoming course.
As we get closer to the enrollment date, I’ll start sending some emails out with more killer crowdfunding tips!
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