Your crowdfunding campaign can be a gold mine, and not for the reason you think. Fundraising is your chief aim … but is it your only one? Don’t let it be! Consider crafting a crowdfunding strategy.
Nonprofits that have evolved their crowdfunding campaigns are looking well beyond the obvious fundraising aspect, realizing their campaigns can achieve even more fruitful ends: influencer and donor cultivation, capacity building, employee retention, and more. Your crowdfunding strategy should consider more than to raise a lot of money! Use it to build powerful bonds within and outside your organization. Target your investment to those assets, and your fundraising can’t help but improve as well.
Here are five tips that successful organizations are using to evolve their crowdfunding campaigns:
Enlist Your Ambassadors
Fundraising is a numbers game, and you can’t do it alone. If you want to meet those lofty fundraising goals, you’ll have to enlist more help. Enter your Ambassador fundraisers: Our most successful clients are insanely good at recruiting and developing their most precious resource: individuals who want to do more than just give. Your organization has raving fans! You should identify, recruit, and train them to run their own fundraising campaigns under your umbrella, and be sure to give them plenty of time, care, guidance, resources, and expectations for success. Do not saddle yourself with all the outreach — harness your ambassadors and their private networks, and you’ll soar past your fundraising goals.
Many companies want to get involved in donor drives (particularly around the holidays) by rallying employees to give items like canned goods, toys, clothes, gift cards, or cash. But their influence and capacity has the potential to go much further. Along with direct donations, ask them to offer a matching gift to incentivize more would-be donors, or become fundraisers themselves by offering donations based on their sales during your big event (of which they will be a sponsor, of course). Even invite them to create their own fundraising page to encourage friends, family, and client networks to join them in supporting a favorite cause. Capture their instinct to do good and advance it to another level — this demonstrates their value to you as a partner, and allows them to share in your campaign’s success.
Community foundations and other nonprofits with a local/regional focus have a clear opportunity to use crowdfunding campaigns to galvanize an entire community. If your campaign takes place on a single day, holding public events and celebrations can help to make your larger community aware that something big is happening, and that you want them to be a part of it. Encourage volunteer participation to generate visibility — let them be your boots on the ground, stationing them outside of businesses and participating venues where they can spread the excitement to everyone they meet.
Big time giving is big time news! Do your part to get your event the coverage it deserves, whether that be via influencers, corporate partners, PR, or all of these agents. Sketch out your media plan and coordinate your resources, cultivating in-kind media sponsorships with local outlets to feature your event. The more work they can do for you, the more they’ll magnify your campaign and connect you to new constituents.
Empower Your People
Virtually no one is going to be more committed to your organization than your own people. They live and breathe your mission and devote their careers to helping you achieve it. Your crowdfunding campaign strategy is an ideal opportunity to incentivize your own staff to step up and manage these new crowdfunding strategies, or become fundraisers themselves. You’ll inspire them with new skills, give them insight into the constituent experience, and energize them with a reminder of all the ways they can pledge themselves to your cause. Add an incentive or two, with a dash of friendly competition, and you’ve got a recipe for fun that will increase employee loyalty and retention, and resonate well beyond the 9-to-5 workday.
Let these tips inform the strategy for your next crowdfunding campaign, and you’ll be well on your way to building a top-notch event and deep connections with your constituents.
Join me for “Evolving Your Crowdfunding Strategy To Grow Your Best Assets (Along With Your Fundraising Goals)” at the DMAW/AFP Bridge Conference on the morning of July 14th, when I’ll be diving into these and more of the latest crowdfunding trends with Amanda Nover of Bread for the City and Brandi Yee of ACT for Alexandria — two organizations that have mastered the art of evolving their crowdfunding campaigns to higher impact.