Crowdfunding is a fundraising tool that allows anyone to collect money online to finance their projects and ideas. There are a wide number of platforms dedicated to this, some of which function horizontally and others vertically. What's more, there are different types of crowdfunding: different campaigns may be based on rewards, donations, equity, or lending. For a non-profit organization, the reward and donation models is most suited and applicable for any social or cultural projects. Let's go over how to use this resource.
How do you build a crowdfunding campaign for your non-profit?
To create a campaign, you need to use a crowdfunding platform, like Produzioni dal Basso in Italy, for example, which hosts all kinds of campaigns which aim to collect money to bring projects to life (events, prototypes, books, etc.), or to support a cause, a personal endeavor, or a goal. You can decide whether or not to give donors something in exchange for their contributions (the reward: for example, if you're crowdfunding for a book, the reward could be the book itself).
Community: the support you need
Crowdfunding campaigns on Produzioni dal Basso can be launched by both private individual and organizations or companies, depending on their scope. When you decide to launch a crowdfunding campaign, the goal is always - or almost always, since crowdfunding can also be used as a communications tool - raising funds for an initiative, project, or goal/cause through the support of your community.
Community is one of the main ingredients for campaign-success. Your primary social circle is particularly important for successful fundraising, as is:
1) a clear objective that's immediately understandable;
2) a presentation video that's brief and compelling, or beautiful images that clearly explain the project (and the fundraising purpose);
3) effective communication, both online and offline surrounding the campaign.
Five questions to ask yourself
Now let's hone in on some practical tips for successfully setting up your fundraising campaign. Any crowdfunding project should effectively and concisely answer these 5 questions:
1. WHO ARE YOU? (the organization's identity and reputation)
meaning your story, the projects you've accomplished in the past, connections, and capabilities (as applies to the project, of course). Don't forget to include your social media, blog, or website or anything else that is part of your non-profit's digital identity. People who want to support your campaign want to be confident that they are putting their money into good hands.
2. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO? (project)
This is the reason why you're asking people for support, and it's important for your goal to be clear, measurable, practical, and be useful to the community your organization serves. A crowdfunding project is a communications project, so use clear, simple language to describe your goal, and remember that most visits and donations will come from mobile users. That means you'll only have a few pixels to tell your story: use short, compelling text, and always add photos and videos.
3. WHAT DO YOU NEED? (budget and costs)
It's important to define the right budget in a transparent way. We suggest writing out planned costs - in addition to the actual cost of the project itself, include any possible rewards, investments in communications, expenses for presentations, and so on. This will give you a clear overview of all your financial needs. Also, remember to indicate the "real" budget needed to bring the project to life: it's best to end up ""overfunding"" (exceeding your stated financial goal) than to declare a goal that's much greater than what you need, and risk not meeting it.
4. HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE? (length of the campaign)
Every crowdfunding campaign has a specific duration, but what's the right way to set that time frame? The budget you need to meet can give you an initial sense of this. How many people do you need to reach (and convince) to meet your goal? Statistics say that on average, the ideal time frame is between 45 and 60 days. In any case, when you set your time frame, keep in mind that for the entire duration of your crowdfunding campaign, your project will need to be monitored, updated if necessary, and you'll need to implement both online and offline communications. Furthermore, keep in mind that a campaign that runs for too long loses the sense of urgency for donors.
5. WHAT WILL YOU GIVE IN RETURN? (rewards)
Very often, a fundraising campaign's reward stimulates donations and participation. Think about publishing or music projects: it's very likely that people support these projects in part because of the opportunity to pre-order the DVD or book before release, potentially also at a lower cost than the - future - market rate. In the non-profit sector, projects are generally donation-based (meaning straightforward donations that don't include any reward), or the rewards model is used with symbolic and/or emotive rewards (for example, having your name written on a list of acknowledgments). People don't contribute to these campaigns to get something in exchange for their support, after all, but to feel part of a community and help make something important happen.
Once you've defined these points, you can create your crowdfunding campaign and propose your idea in a clear, effective way.
Use this short guide to make sure your project has everything it needs to best tell your story and... happy crowdfunding!