Are you looking to make your next online fundraising campaign an extraordinary, goal-smashing success? Maybe you’ve seen the stories of million dollar crowdfunding campaigns, and you hope that will happen as soon as you publish your campaign. . . . It probably won’t. However, with a few simple steps, you can shift the odds in your favor.
Like all other fundraising, online crowdfunding and peer fundraising takes planning, diligence, and active engagement with your prospective donors to meet your goals; the difference is that you can grow your networks, build your donor base, and engage new audiences with a little help from your friends.
Step 1: Build and test your campaign on Rise Fundraiser.
While we hope the process is self-explanatory, RiseFundraiser. has many advanced features and we cover them in the our User Guide. Our team is more than happy to help you set up and configure your campaign if you have any questions that are not covered in the guide, or in our “how to” section.
When you have completed your fundraiser, we recommend a “soft launch” to make sure everything looks good, and payments are being processed. Ask a couple of close friends, board members, or relatives to make donations to make sure there are no typos in the content, and that you are receiving payments properly.
Step 2: Build your team(s), recruit leaders and Champions
Many hands make light work. To reach a larger goal, create teams or delegate to chapters of your organization (friendly competition can be a good thing). You can recruit team leaders by adding their emails from the Campaign Manager interface. Team Leaders or Campaign managers can recruit team members/Champions, or people can join any team by clicking on the + next to the team name. There is no limit to the number of teams or champions you can have in Rise Fundraiser. Set reasonable goals for each team.
For more about how to recruit and cultivate Champions, you can review full guide here: How-To-Build-Champions
Step 3: Campaign Preparation and Promotion
Before sending your first big public announcement, make sure to:
- Hold a kick-off meeting or series of meetings with your team leaders and champions to make sure everyone knows when the campaign starts and ends, what their individual goal is, and how to use Rise Fundraiser.
- Make sure all the Champions have logged in to their accounts and set up their pages. Personal appeals from trusted friends is one reason that people give to a cause. Champions should upload photos and personalize their pages for best results. Fundraisers with engaged, active Champions will raise 2-3 times as much as those without.
- Draft a template email that Champions can use to reach out to their networks.
- Recruit some initial donors to make the first few gifts. As a general rule, if you have 5-10% of the goal committed by the time you start promoting, you’ll see better results– people like give to a cause with traction and momentum.
- Like Rise on Facebook — we can help promote your campaign from our account and help attract potential donors.
Give yourself a couple of weeks to get all of these tasks done. When everything is in place, and there are Champions engaged, then you’re ready to begin sharing your campaign. Currently, email and Facebook are the two most effective ways to generate traffic and donations to your fundraiser. Here are some tips for each.
Expect to spend 20-30 minutes per day monitoring campaign progress and engaging on Facebook:
- Go to your fundraising campaign page on Rise Fundraiser and use the Share button to post the campaign to your Facebook Page. Add a personal statement about why you are supporting this cause. Don’t forget to include a request to “Like and Share this post” as well as donate. This will give people who support the cause something easy and instantaneous they can do to help.
- Go to your Facebook page and add a comment on the fundraiser where you tag people and organizations that are likely to share or donate to your fundraiser. To tag them, type the @ symbol, followed by their name. E.G. typing “@Japhet Koteen” or “@RiseFundraiser.” People are more likely to read a post where they are tagged directly. Make sure you tag every Champion and Team leader in your campaign, with every post.
- Engage with people who respond to the post, thanking them for their support, encouraging them to donate, or answering questions they ask.
- When you reach a campaign milestone (1/3 of the way, 1/2 way, or some significant donation), add it to the comments on the original post, it will keep notifying people who have engaged with the post.
Expect to send a minimum of three emails to get a response from your donors.
- Use the built-in email sharing function on RiseFundraiser to generate emails to your network. You can connect your Address book directly. Remember to include a sincere, personal statement about why you support this campaign, and why you hope that they will too.
- Don’t expect a response from just one email. 3-6 days after you send the first one, send a direct follow up, making sure they received your first message, acknowledging that their time and money is valuable, but ask them to please support the cause
- You are not alone. Each time you send an email to your list, send a copy of your email to each of the team leaders and champions, and ask them to customize it, or forward it to their lists.
Now people are starting to hear about your campaign, it’s time to keep the momentum going.
Step 4: Ongoing coaching, support, and engagement
Your Team Leaders and Champions are the key to the success of your campaign. They are probably not professional fundraisers, and will need help, motivation, and inspiration to keep reaching out to their networks, engaging on social media, and making direct appeals for donations. You can make it easier for them by sending reminders, templates for social posts, offering incentives.
RiseFundraiser has a couple of tools that makes this easy:
- Use the statistics and reports to stay on top of the campaign activity. You can see which team is gaining the most donations, which Champion hasn’t logged in for a while, and how many people are donating and visiting the site.
- Use the Update feature to celebrate milestones of the fundraiser, add new information, or highlight an event. These updates are automatically shared with your entire team and the donors who have chosen to receive them. Champions can forward these emails to their network, or post the content to social medai
- If you receive a donation by check, or cash, the offline donation feature can be used to add it to the campaign tracker to show additional progress and help encourage
- If you receive a “matching donation” you can offer that as an incentive to a team or individual champion that has the best campaign page, gets the highest number of re-shares on their social media post, or receives the greatest number of donations on a certain day. Get creative with your incentives.