The last post I did was a case study on an organization called Athletes C.A.R.E. that successfully leveraged their promotional assets to raise 600%+ of their crowdfunding goal. Their campaign was an excellent example of successful promotion, and is by no means the only example. I mentioned in the previous post that there are three basic promotional assets that every would-be-nonprofit-crowdfunder should have: email lists, facebook & staff. Before getting creative with campaign promotion, successful appeals to these three audiences is an essential starting block. The communication you have with them is actually very short and sweet - all of the essential information about your organization and your specific crowdfunding campaign should live on the campaign page in your call-to-action video and extended campaign description. You don't want your potential donors getting bored with long-winded emails - you want to hit them with the essentials and then get them to the campaign page so they can donate. So, while every nonprofit is different, our core promotional plan is to:
- Donate to your own campaign. Even if it's just $5, you should know exactly what the donation process is and how to walk somebody through it.
- Identify 'guaranteed donors' way before you launch. This is anybody who you are positive will donate no matter what. Let them know when the campaign is going to launch and help them donate within the first hour that the campaign is live. This will get the campaign off of 0% immediately.
- Email everybody in your email list the day the campaign launches. Let them know a.) that you're running an online fundraiser, b.) that it's for a specific goal, c.) that you need to raise a specific amount, d.) that there's a limited amount of time to raise the funds, e.) why it's important to donate, f.) why it's important to share the campaign, g.) HOW TO DONATE.
- Make a facebook post about the campaign. Include a link to the campaign. Don't expect this post to automatically bring in donations. If the post gets in front of your followers, you should get some likes & comments on it - this is where your donations come from. Direct message everybody who likes or comments on posts about the campaign and ask them to donate. This takes almost no time, you can pre-draft a template message to send to everybody.
- Ask your staff (and anybody else linked to your organization) to start spreading the campaign through their own social networks. Give them an email template that they can send to friends & family. Give them facebook post templates that they can publish. Make it as easy as possible for them to promote the campaign personally.
- FOLLOW UP. After the first 7-10 days of the campaign, check on who has donated so far. Send them all an email that thanks them, encourages them that their donation is a huge support, and politely ask them to help you promote the campaign. If they've donated, they care about your cause. This means they probably are happy to spend 5 minutes helping you spread awareness. Give them an email template that they can send to their personal networks and ask them to get 5 people to donate $10 or more. REPEAT THIS PROCESS FOR NEW DONORS.
These steps are the foundation. The more creative you get with your promotion, the more money you'll raise. Here are some examples of outside-of-the-box promotion:
- Satellite fundraisers. Have people close to your organization handle outreach on your behalf. Give them all goals and deliverables (eg. $1,000 each in 30 days).
- Staff competition. If you've got a large staff, motivate them to promote the campaign through their personal networks by rewarding the people who raise the most ($100 = extra long lunch break, $200 = Exec Director buys you lunch, $500 = tickets to a game, etc.).
- Throw a party. Throw several parties. Just make sure you've got somebody there with a laptop to take donations.
- Know somebody people listen to? Have them tweet it, facebook post it, shout it out on TV, radio, etc.
- Partner with friendly businesses. See if they can do matching donations. If they can't, see if they can give your campaign a spotlight through their networks, or if they can run a staff competition.
- Ask people what they want as rewards - dinner with the executive team? Tour of your facility? Ask them what appeals to them and offer that as a special reward in the campaign.
- Throw another party.
This is a very small cross-section of the promotional potential for campaigns. The more creative you are and the more you think about what actually gets your supporters motivated, the more success your campaign will have. Nobody knows your donors as well as you do.