Launching a Crowdfunding Campaign? Ask These 5 Questions First

By Shelby Ballou


Crowdfunding has become extremely popular in the non-profit sector, as more and more organizations attempt to hit their fundraising goals in this way.

But crowdfunding is more than just filling out a profile on GoFundMe or Kickstarter. It requires a lot of thought and a strong digital communication strategy. After seeing several organizations try and fail at crowdfunding, we spoke to experts in the field to see what successful campaigns have in common.

Here are five questions that organizations need to ask themselves before launching a crowdfunding campaign.

1. Is your project clearly defined?

Successful crowdfunding campaigns identify what they want to achieve. Donors like to clearly see where their investment is going and are attracted to tangible projects with stories they can relate to, so having a target is vital. Instead of trying to reach your annual fundraising target with a vague campaign, try to make a specific, discrete project a reality.

2. Does it appeal to the masses?

Campaigns and projects need to have wide appeal. Wide appeal means you have a large number of supporters. If you’re not sure whether your campaign will be attractive to the masses, it’s smart to begin with some market research. If you don’t, your campaign may be doomed from the start.

You can assess your campaign’s appeal by observing about how often your topic or cause is mentioned in the news and researching (by survey or other means) if your topic or cause is something that people in a certain age range feel strongly about. The more people that believe in your cause, the more money you’ll raise.

3. Do you have the ongoing resources?

Social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, are critical to the success of a crowdfunding campaign because it gives you the opportunity to reach an extremely wide audience. It’s not enough to fill out a page on GoFundMe or Kickstarter and wait for the donations to start rapidly flowing in. You need to have a proactive and strategic approach, harvesting donors and interacting with them throughout the process.

4. Have you considered the before, during and after?

It’s important to think carefully about how you’re going to communicate with potential and active donors. Sending an email about the campaign to media outlets, past donors, and other supporters can go a long way in raising awareness and spreading your message.

Post-campaign activity is also important. Make sure you cultivate donor relationships after the campaign ends. Follow up with donors by informing them about how much money your campaign raised, goals you’ve achieved, and strides you’ve made in regard to your cause.

5. Do you have a reliable network of donors?

One of the biggest misconceptions we see repeatedly is that crowdfunding is a way to raise money from a new audience. Most of the time, this isn’t the case. You need to make sure you have an existing supporter base before you launch your campaign.

Funders like to back a campaign they believe will be successful. Seeing a crowdfunding page with no money raised isn’t going to raise confidence. Consider doing a soft launch before going public with your page.

[Original post here.]