Are crowdfunding and capital campaigns like oil and vinegar?

crowdfunding and capital campaignsThe truth about capital campaign fundraising is that 90% of your donations will come from 10% of your donors. To raise hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions of dollars you need a few large donors. These donors typically give after face-to-face contact with board members, volunteers, and fundraisers.

If a large percentage of your donations come from a small percentage of people, what role, then, does social media, crowdfunding, blogging, case studies, and other inbound marketing strategies play?

First, Busting the Crowdfunding Myths

Fundraising platform Kimbia dispels some of the myths of crowdfunding fundraising. One of the main myths is that people who give through these sites give less than $25, when in fact the average donation on their site is $222. In 2013 this infographic reported the average gift at $88.22. These numbers validate the need for using these sites. In addition, 72% of these donors are first time donors, so you’re increasing your network. (PS–All those new donors mean you need to already have a donor retention program in place so you can increase your retention rates.)

Second, Crowdfunding and Capital Campaigns

As a digital marketing agency, we support various non profits through different types of fundraising events. We’ve helped a local non profit reach out during the annual #GivingTuesday event where their giving and participation doubled year over year. We don’t fundraise, but we do provide the support necessary for fundraising online to work well. While you won’t likely get a million dollar gift through social media, knowledgable use of social media, videos, testimonials, blogging and easy to navigate non profit websites increases your donors’ confidence that your organization is engaged and growing. Don’t expect online giving to replace the face-to-face conversation necessary to raise a lot of capital, but you can use it to supplement your efforts.

Third, Mobilize Your Supporters

You wouldn’t launch a capital campaign without some leg work. You want to make sure you can actually raise the money needed to complete your project before you announce the campaign. Most organizations raise at least 30% of their funds prior to launching the campaign. Your online fundraising campaign shouldn’t be any different. Do your homework. Create a non profit marketing plan for your online project. Reach out to volunteers, board members, donors and clients who have large followings on social media. Ask them to be the first to give. Give them the graphics, wording, and heads up they need to promote your online event through their social media sites. Create videos using some of these same people to tell why they give or volunteer with your organization. Ask those who benefit from your services to record testimonials about how you’ve helped them. When real people (other than you) do the asking, friends and family members are more likely to give.

Fourth, Don’t Ask Too Often

The general rule for social media promotion is 15:4. For every 15 non promotional posts on social media, you can generally get away with 4 promotional posts. Talk about the general work of your organization. Link to news articles that highlight the need for your organization. Post pictures of your volunteers. Talk about what’s working. Then make the ask. If you’re only posting to social media once a day, you’ll only make an ask for your campaign a couple of times a week. Not enough exposure? Refer to #3. Even though you may not be asking on your social sites, your donors, volunteers, and board members can be. Although caution them against asking too often as well. No one wants to alienate their friends!

Fifth, Be Specific

The most successful fundraising campaigns focus on something specific. Write blog articles, create videos, use memes that demonstrate what will happen if you can’t raise the money you need by the deadline or what will happen if you are successful. Stories make what you do personal. People give because of the effect an organization has on people not because they think you deserve a fancy new building.

Your largest donations may not come from online fundraising, but it can be a great source for recruiting new donors, building a donor retention strategy and building support of your organization online. Successful crowdfunding is just as time-consuming as running a capital campaign.

millennials and non profit engagement report

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