holiday crowdfunding image with gold present

It is December 19th and we have less than a week until we gather with family to exchange gifts and stuff ourselves full of delicious holiday feasts … and we all know the last few weeks before the holidays are when the gift-giving panic sets in.

You realize you forgot to buy gifts for a few relatives, friends and coworkers and head to an overcrowded, stuffy mall to sift through what’s left on the shelves with other last-minute shoppers, desperate to find a suitable gift. You end up giving them a sweater that may or may not be the correct size, or a generic basket of bath products, or just purchase a gift card because you have no idea what they want. And guess what? They end up giving you lumpy sweaters that aren’t your style, gift baskets and gift cards. So it seems you both wasted time and money buying gifts the other didn’t actually want.

But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if we used crowdfunding for the holidays to make life simpler for the gift-giver and help you get exactly what you want?

I started my own fundraiser on Mightycause as a place to send friends and relatives who were asking me what I wanted to Christmas since I was saving for a new laptop. Here’s how I started using Razoo to crowdfund the item I really wanted for Christmas.

Start a fundraiser

Making your page awesome on Mightycause is easy. Just click “Fundraise,” enter the amount you’d like to raise, fill out your page, set up your payment account, and publish. That’s it!

Think about what you want or need this holiday season. Do you have your heart set on a big ticket item like a new laptop (like I did) or a set of Beats by Dre headphones? Are you hoping to get a new iPhone or one of those cool virtual reality headsets? Look up the cost of the item (don’t forget accessories!) and enter the total cost as your fundraising goal.

If you want a few things for the holidays, just total the retail prices of those items and make that your fundraising goal. You can break down the costs in your description and the Use of Funds chart.

Choose the “Wishes” category for your fundraiser.

Just like any fundraiser on Mightycause, use your title, short story, description, and cover photo to make your case.

A few tips to make your story strong:

  • Make it clear you’re asking for donations as gifts. You can fundraise for things you want or need year-round on Mightycause, but since you’re creating a holiday fundraiser, write a sentence or two explaining that you would like donations to your page in lieu of any other presents this holiday season.
  • Keep it light-hearted. There’s no need to make a passionate emotional plea for a new gadget you just want for fun — you’re just asking your family and friends for a Christmas gift! Keep it light and friendly.
  • Explain why you want this particular item. It doesn’t have to be a deep story, but explain why this item is so important to you or why you need it.

And don’t forget: Link your page to your social media accounts to make it look extra snazzy!

Share your fundraiser

Remember how you used to write a letter for Santa that detailed everything you wanted for Christmas? Well, instead of sending a letter to the North Pole, you’ll be emailing a link to your fundraiser to family and friends to ask for what you want.

Personal outreach is important for any fundraiser, but for a holiday fundraiser it’s especially important. Consider who normally buys you holiday presents: your mom, your brother, your grandma, your significant other. Send them each an email with a link to your fundraiser explaining that you’d like them make a donation in lieu of a present this year.

Obviously, if anyone asks you what you want this year, let them know about your fundraiser and send them a link.

You should also share your fundraiser on social media — people are more likely to donate when asked, and you might find that a friend you don’t normally exchange gifts with is inspired to make a donation to your page.

Thank your donors

You wouldn’t open a present from your dear Aunt Tilly and then toss it aside without acknowledging it, so make sure you don’t do the same thing online by failing to thank her for her donation to your page. Yes, she’ll get an email from Mightycause thanking her for making a donation, but that’s not the same as getting a personal thanks from you.

Here are a few ways you can thank everyone who gives a gift through your fundraiser:

  • Pick up the phone and call them. Call your mother! No, really! You should call her anyway, but definitely call her to thank her when she donates to your fundraiser. A quick, polite, thankful phone call is a thoughtful way to let your donors know you appreciate their gift.
  • Send thank you notes. Presumably you know (or can easily find out) the addresses of the people who make donations to your page, since they will all be family members and friends. Pick up some nice thank you cards, write personal notes in them and stick them in the mail. It might seem old-fashioned but most people love being thanked in this way.
  • “Like” their donation. This shouldn’t be the only way you thank people who’ve donated to your page but a fun way to send some love to those who’ve helped you out is clicking the heart next to their donation on your donation timeline. This sends them an email notifying them that you “liked” their donation.
  • Respond to comments. Users are prompted to leave a comment when they make a donation to your page, so as your fundraiser takes off (and it will because it is amazing) you may find lots of supportive comments from people who made a donation. Mightycause has recently added tiered commenting so you can respond directly to comments. Not only does responding to comments warm the hearts of the users who left them, it makes your page feel active and fresh.

Post updates

When you post an update on Mightycause, it posts to your page and sends an email to all of your donors with your message. So when should you post an update?

  • When you hit a milestone. Woah, you’re halfway there! Time to post an update. Keep your donors informed of your fundraiser’s progress… they might come back to your page and make another donation to help you get to your next milestone!
  • When your fundraiser stagnates. It’s common for fundraisers to peter out halfway through. You’ve reached out to everyone you know, gotten some donations, and activity just drops off. Posting an update can help reinvigorate your fundraiser — post an update asking people to share your fundraiser on social media to help you gain momentum and reach your goal.
  • After you’ve reached your goal. Wrap up your fundraiser by posting an update once you’ve gotten the item you wanted for the holidays. Take a picture of yourself with your sweet new headphones, record a video, or just write a final thanks to your donors for helping you get what you wanted for the holidays.

Crowdfund someone else’s gift

Has your dad had his eye on an expensive new grill? Or, do you want to pool together money from your whole family to buy your mom a fancy piece of jewelry to let her know how much you love her? You can use Mightycause to get everyone together to chip in for big gifts for family members and friends. Just follow the steps above, but alter your story so that you explain why it’s important to purchase this particular gift for your friend or family member.

Happy holidays and happy fundraising from Razoo!

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