During a trip to the Dominican Republic in November 2014, Quest Atkinson witnessed first-hand some of the most saddening situations the destitute communities in Puerto Plata are faced with. Yet in the midst of such darkness, she also saw the positive impact that Dove Missions has had on many lives. Quest returned from her vacation months ago and felt compelled to do more; to not be a bystander or a silent observer.

Quest will be teaming up with Dove to volunteer her time and skills for one month in March. She will focus on helping with curriculum redesign, leading workshops, and various community outreach activities in Puerto Plata. Quest decided to start a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to cover the costs of travel, accommodation and other expenses. I spoke to Quest about how she used FundRazr in conjunction with social media to promote her cause and reach her funding goal.

Quest Dove Missions

1. Why did you decide to turn to crowdfunding?

“At first, the thought of crowdfunding seemed so daunting to me. How could I ask the people around me to make a donation when they generally don’t contribute to any causes? How could I ask the many friends and family that I know are struggling financially? I was never cut out for sales and I felt like I needed to have a sales sort of attitude to try to ‘convince’ people to donate. Though the thought of being used car sales kind of pushy was scary and distasteful.

When I was preparing for a similar volunteer trip last year to Uganda, I realized that I was actually robbing others of something. I was stealing the opportunity for others to show their love and support. Though the generous outpouring of support that first time proved my initial inclinations wrong, I felt reluctant that people would be as generous this time, especially considering it’s only been six months since the last charity trip. Yet, it was undeniable that I would not be able to incur the costs volunteering for one month in the Dominican alone. I once heard someone say that the best way to give is to receive. For me, crowdfunding allows people to bless me so that I might be a blessing to others.”

2. How did you promote your campaign and create a community of support?

“Long before plane tickets were booked and rental arrangements made, before I even talked to Dove about my hopes, this all was merely a dream. I have a close group of family and friends who I share almost every detail of my life with. So this dream, as most of my millions of other dreams do, came up casually in many conversations. At first it was kind of said in passing, “The weather here in Toronto is so bad. I want to go to the Dominican!” But I couldn’t shake the burning desire to return to volunteer again so inevitably it lead to more serious discussions about my dream.”

Once my project had been set up on Fundrazr, I used the vast number of tools available to me to get the word out. The first steps I took were posting to the Facebook group and LinkedIn group I created. I then prepared a list of people that I knew might have an interest in what I’d be doing. I wrote each of them a personalized email explaining what I’d be doing, asking for their support, and outlining the ways that they could help.”

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The Gaza Toy Drive is a humanitarian aid mission that aims to provide children in Gaza, Palestine, with new toys, educational items, medical aid and clothes. They believe these are essential to having some semblance of a normal childhood, despite the many challenges that they face in life. They aim to provide children with things that represents a normal childhood from psychological and educational perspectives, and physical necessity and comfort.

The team is raising funds for the shipment of thousands of boxes collected from the good people of Ireland, UK and Denmark. Volunteers have worked tirelessly to pack over 7 containers full to capacity with new toys, books, bikes, clothing and medical supplies. Everything is itemised and packed and ready to be shipped, they have started crowdfunding to raise the necessary funds to get the goods to Gaza. I spoke with one of the organizers Ahmed Salti on how they have managed to get others involved in their mission, including Professor Noam Chomsky.

1. Why did you decide to turn to crowdfunding?

“Involving people that stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and reaching out to anyone that is willing to learn and participate in a humanitarian mission focused on children without any political affiliation has been our primary aim aside from bringing the very much needed items to the children in Gaza. Involving people and providing them with a platform/channel in which they can express their support without needing to take any side while raising awareness, documenting and reporting first hand stories of families and children prior to the recent attacks.”

2. How have you promoted your campaign?

Facebook has been an important tool to describe our mission and to involve people. We use major social platforms, like Twitter and YouTube. Additionally, we have reached out to organisations and media channels and websites to promote it further.”

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We are constantly improving the way you share a crowdfunding campaign and our 3 most recent features are sure to do the trick!

1. Import Contacts

Now you can select email addresses from your contact list to easily share your campaign with them. In one easy step, your campaign can reach all the people who care about your cause.

*Coaching Tip: Pick 5 of your closet friends and family members to email first as they are more likely to make the first donations.

FundRazr features contacts

2. Add a Team Member

We all know that 2 heads are better than one, and we think that’s true for crowdfunding as well! Now you can invite a best friend or family member to your campaign team so they can help promote your campaign. From providing updates to importing their own contacts to expand your reach, you’ll have double the chance of success.

*Coaching Tip: Pick someone who is close to you and your cause to team-up and help promote!

FundRazr features team

3. Share with a Click!

Sharing a campaign with each of your social networks can be difficult, but we’ve made it easy! With a touch of a button you can share your campaign across multiple social media accounts without ever leaving the site.

*Coaching Tip: Add a personal message each time you share to encourage your networks to visit your campaign!

FundRazr features

Stay tuned next week for more features.

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Chilis on Wheels is an initiative based in New York City, spearheaded by veteran vegan and social rights activist Michelle Carrera. Michelle decided to cook her own vegan chilis and provide them to the homeless and food insecure in need of a warm meal once a month. Most soup kitchens close their doors over the weekends and Chilis on Wheels aims to cover that need.

They’re raising funds to expand their service from monthly distributions to weekly ones, and add a component of a table in the park in order to expand the population that they serve. The team have started a crowdfunding campaign in order to cover costs for food, related supplies and fees associated with tax exemption. I spoke with Michelle on how her team pitched the idea to their friends and family, and what it means for them to provide a service in their community with the support of the crowd.

Watch Michelle’s pitch video

1. Why did you decide to turn to crowdfunding to raise money?

“We turned to crowdfunding because the entire effort was being funded out of pocket. When we turned to supermarkets for food donations, we were directed to register as a 501c3, a tax exempt organization. Unfortunately the fees associated with this registration were out of our budget and we turned to the crowd.”

2. How did you initially promote your campaign and create a community of support?

“We spent our social capital. Left no door unknocked. If I know you, I make sure you know about our campaign. If I don’t know you but know of you, you have received a message from us. Unabashedly.”

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With the ever increasing amount of noise on the internet it can be hard to get noticed. Crowdfunding for a project or cause can be a very rewarding process if you include the essential ingredients to success. Our FundRazr Coaching Team created this infographic on how to get your fundraiser noticed, this includes tips on activating your community and how to generate buzz for your campaign.

Share it, pin it, print it, but whatever you do … use it.
10 Steps to Crowdfunding Success Infographic

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The Nation of Love is an independent record label from mid-Missouri created by and for musicians.The Nation of Love’s mission is to create fresh inventive art with musical sounds. From March 14-21, they will embark on their first label-wide tour, performing in Austin, Texas playing several unofficial showcases during SXSW. This is one of the best times to get music heard by a large group of people and make meaningful and important connections in the industry. I spoke with Violet Vonder Haar from The Nation Of Love about how they’ve managed to bring their fan base together to crowdfund the costs of their tour.

Watch their video pitch below

1. What are you raising money for?

“To fund The Golden Hour Tour, a 7 day tour for a Columbia, Missouri based, independent record company, The Nation of Love. Featuring: Ruth Acuff, Violet and the Undercurrents and Future Kings.”

2. Why did you decide to crowdfund to raise money for your tour?

“We chose to crowdfund for a variety of different reasons:
1. For the obvious…We didn’t have all the funds to successfully pay for this tour.
2. One of the bands on our label that I manage, Violet and the Undercurrents, ran a successful crowdfunding campaign for a recent tour. It was a great way to include our fans in on what it is we’re doing, and to allow them to support us, even if they’re unable to attend our shows.
3. We at The Nation of Love really stress community and collaboration. By funding our tour with FundRazr we have been able to foster that community. People who donate to our campaign will forever hold a special place in our hearts as people who truly support independent music and art.”

3. How did you initially promoting your campaign and create a community of support?

“Our first set of promotion was through our Nation of Love email list. Since then, we have promoted through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, local press, as well as through personal messages and word of mouth.”

4. Did the record label get band members to each reach out to their fans too?

“We have! It’s worked well because of the number of people on the label who have separate fans behind them, supporting what we do.”

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5 Signs That You’re Ready To Crowdfund

by Hoda Toloui-Wallace 30 January 2015

As a FundRazr Coach, I work with thousands of people to ensure they are set up for success. Majority of people I work with are curious to know the formula for successful crowdfunding. Not everyone is entirely ready to take on crowdfunding, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up your dream. What it […]

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Erin Will Stop At Nothing To Volunteer In Haiti

by Hoda Toloui-Wallace 29 January 2015

In March 2015, Erin Segall has the opportunity to go to Jacmel, Haiti and be part of the Global Health Perspectives internship through Denver School of Nursing. This service learning internship will allow her to work with LOVE Takes Root, La Concord Orphanage and the new medical clinic to further my nursing school education. The […]

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Community Gives Hope To Toddler Natalie

by Hoda Toloui-Wallace 22 January 2015

Tarryn Rudolph’s close friend and coworker Meredith and her husband, Andrew, recently received devastating news that their 18 month old daughter Natalie has been diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, type 2. It’s a progressive neuromuscular disease that will cause her muscles to weaken and waste away. Natalie will never walk and will require a wheelchair […]

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FundRazr 2014: A Year Of Social Giving

by Tatyana Kapkan 20 January 2015

Crowdfunding is big. And it’s going to get even bigger in our lives. 2014 was the year of social giving on FundRazr. 298 thousand people around the world contributed $20 million dollars to help a variety of causes. We highlighted some of the remarkable ones that brought together large groups of supporters to turn dreams […]

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