If you’re reading this, it’s safe to say you’ll know the value of crowdfunding. A good crowdfunding campaign can be a core pillar of your fundraising strategy, raising money for your cause but also spreading awareness and turning your supporters into passionate advocates.
Most of us are familiar with setting up a campaign, and even with that initial marketing push, but after that it’s all too easy to lose steam – and that means you’ll see your results suffer. With this detailed guide, it’s our goal to give individuals and nonprofits a clear, foolproof guide to the strategies they can use to ensure their campaign’s success.
Keep reading – we’ll go through it together!
You’ve launched your campaign – now what?
‘If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
This classic riddle, also applies to crowdfunding marketing. If you create a crowdfunding campaign and nobody sees it, how can you expect your campaign to possibly be successful? In content marketing, the 20/80 rule states that you need to spend 20% of your time on creating content, and the other 80% promoting it. Crowdfunding works in a very similar way, so you need to be aware that once the campaign launches, the promoting work has only just begun.
Now, let’s go through some of the essential questions to ask yourself about promoting your campaign.
Who am I promoting to?
Let’s decide who you’re promoting to. It’s likely that the first people to see the campaign will be your existing network and supporters (watch this video if you are anxious about promoting it to existing donors), and the followers of all your organization’s social media channels. This is your current crowd – the crowd you’re already reaching – and they’re going to be important for your campaign success.
Crowdfunding is built on trust, and since your current crowd already knows you, they are much more likely to donate. Those first donations are crucial, because they act as encouragement and validation for following donors, showing them that this campaign and its mission are supported by other people.
Your current crowd are also the people most likely to spread the word about your new campaign. FundRazr has a post-donation workflow built into your that encourages donors to share the campaign with network and maximize their impact. Don’t despair if your crowd is not big enough (instead this this article), just start step-by-step engaging new people into giving and growing your crowd. Any nonprofit that succeeded at crowdfunding started from engaging their initial supporters and leveraged their network to reach new people.
How can I promote my campaign to new people?
If you’ve read the above, you understand the importance of your current crowd. But if you really want impressive results, you’ll need to grow your crowd, too: by introducing your campaign to new people. Most people think of paid advertising when it comes to this aspect of promotion, but there’s a lot more to it, too.
Let’s go through some of the ways you can reach new people:
- Ask your supporters to spread the word about your cause, especially on social media. Explain to them that their share is as powerful as a monetary donation, because it exposes new people to the campaign, who may then in turn, donate! When people come across your campaign because it’s been shared by a peer, they are four times more likely to pay attention and help than if they’d seen it in a different context, like an ad or in the news.
- Build up a network of trusted partners. Who else cares about this cause, or is also trying to raise awareness about the social issue you’re trying to solve? Reach out to these like-minded groups and ask them to share your message with their communities, and consider offering to share their messages in return, as well. Prepare a social media kit for these potential partners: it should include images, template messaging, a call to action and your campaign url link.
- Stay in constant contact with all sponsors. Remember, there’s a reason they’re supporting your organization – they believe in the work you do and care about your cause. They likely want to help more than you think – and not only in a monetary sense! Your sponsors, too, have networks consisting of their customers, fans and employees. Just like with your partners, your best bet here is to tell them all about your campaign and give them a social media kit for easy sharing.
- If you have the budget, you can of course promote your campaign on social media. However, be aware that this is a worthwhile investment only if your story is powerful enough to create a strong connection with a donor. “Cold”, or truly new, donors will need some time to warm up – they’re only just learning about you and your cause, so they’ll need more time to get to know and trust you. Instead of asking these cold donors for a donation right away, you can ask them to follow (FundRazr has a button to do this easily) or to share a story about your cause with their community. In this way, you can build your connection with them slowly and naturally and so they can donate when they are ready. (Watch “Build, Buy Borrow Your Crowd” )
- Is your campaign newsworthy? Then get it in the news! If your cause or campaign centers around a compelling story, and it probably does, then share that story with your local news media. Especially if your campaign has a local or timely element, local reporters just may jump right on it. (Read how to pitch your story to press)
Where am I promoting my campaign?
It’s critical that you distribute your campaign so that it reaches as many people as possible. A good starting point is drafting up a list of all possible channels, platforms and partners with whom your campaign could be shared.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind:
Traditional channels like Facebook or email may come to mind first for distribution, but FundRazr also supports sharing to what’s known as ‘dark social’ – these include private, non-searchable channels like Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp. With FundRazr, sharing functionality is right there on the campaign page, so you don’t have to copy-paste-share over and over. This feature means that it shouldn’t take more than half an hour to share your campaign to all these channels of communication. This strategy will guarantee that you’ll spread your message to your existing crowd.
Keep in mind that the time you share matters. For example, according to Sprout Social, the best time to share on Facebook is Wednesday, around 8 or 9 am. Other high engagement times include Thursday mornings at 10am, and Friday mornings, from 8 to 10am. Overall, the most consistent engagement is netted during regular business hours of Monday to Friday between 8 and 5, while the weekends show the lowest engagement, especially between 10 and 5.
On Instagram, meanwhile, the best time for nonprofits to post is Wednesday at 2pm, and the most consistent engagement happens Monday through Friday from 10 to 4. Other high engagement times include Monday from 2 to 3pm, Tuesday from 1 to 3pm and Saturday from 1 to 2pm. Sunday gets the least engagement, as well as every night from 11pm to 5am.
However, pay attention to your actual user base – your analytics may show very different trends for your particular crowd! Test out different testing times to find out what works best for your crowd.
- Here’s a sample list of places you could spread the word about your campaign:
- Your own website
- Relevant groups in Facebook
- Offline spaces (community centres, events, meetups, etc)
- FundRazr offers a widget that can build your campaign right into your website, so all your website visitors will see it without clicking through to your campaign. The process is super simple, as long as you have access to the back end of the website. [show process] A particularly effective strategy here is to temporarily replace the “Donate” button with a current crowdfunding campaign that you’d like to promote.
What’s the message to share?
If you’ve made it this far, we’ve gone over how you will spread the message about your campaign. But what will you actually say? The answer to this question has two parts. You’ll need to decide on both the general messaging of your campaign, and a related message that’s tailored for social sharing.
How you message your campaign on social media is important for attracting attention, and getting people to actually click on your campaign links. Your social media message needs to be three things engaging, urgent, and personal. The more your social media message encapsulates these qualities, the more likely people are to care enough about your campaign to click your social links, view, and donate.
Your CTR, or click-through-rate, depends on how engaged and active your social media community is, and it’s the most important way to measure the success of how you’re sharing your campaign on social media. Remember, social media algorithms will not not necessarily show your campaign content to every follower, every time you share. Instead, they will show it to your engaged audience – those who have clicked, liked, and shared. So, the more active and vibrant your audience is, the more people your message is going to reach.
If you’re worried that your first social media posts aren’t going to reach enough people, try traditional email sharing, or even better, chat tools such as Messenger or Whatsapp. The click-through rate for these private chats is close to 90%, so this is a guaranteed way to make sure your audience sees your message – at least for now.
Aim for a ten- to thirty-percent click through rate on your first social media announcement. If your organization uses Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel, you can easily integrate it in your campaign, so that you can monitor audience behaviour, website traffic and overall campaign performance. It is super easy, just go to the Marketing Tab in campaign editor and copy-paste the pixel.
Next, your actual campaign message is what your audience is going to see after they click a link on social media. For a strong campaign message, the following elements are critical:
- A storytelling format. Any successful crowdfunding campaign is built on a strong story. You have to educate your potential donors on why they have to give money to you and how you are going to use it. When crafting your message, try to be as personal and authentic as you can. Here are some questions you can use to to double check your story content:
- Does it explain why we are raising money and how the money will be used?
- Is the campaign story written in an emotional and authentic way?
- Does the campaign have images and/or video?
- Does the campaign describes the problem your nonprofit is trying to solve, and the real-world pain it hopes to alleviate?
- Des the campaign include proof that you can accomplish what you claim, via past results?
- Pictures and video. Your picture or video content should prove that your work is real and the problem you are trying to solve needs action from your crowd or audience. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words – don’t underestimate the power of images! FundRazr has a powerful gallery functional that can support thousands of pictures. Another neat feature is video recording capability within the platform that allows you to quickly record video and upload it to your campaign. When you’re uploading pictures and videos, keep in mind that every photo or video can be easily shared to your existing network, so choose wisely!
- Add urgency to your message, for example by saying “We need this money by September 1st, so that we can keep this animal shelter open for another year!”. A timely element will help donors along on their donor journey, showing them that while their shares and interest in your cause are great, the time to donate is now.
I’ve shared it my campaign – now what?
The first part of this guide was designed for an initial communication strategy, which is meant to inform and introduce people to your campaign when it’s new. However, campaign promotion doesn’t end with this initial push. For the whole time your campaign is live, stay in touch with your crowd, posting about your campaign at least three times a week. Don’t be afraid to ask and repeat yourself, you need to keep reminding crowd about your campaign.
Here’s some things you could post about:
- As-they-happen updates on the project
- Highlights of your charity’s recent activities
- How donations will improve the issue you’re working to resolve
- Impact stories from those your work has helped
- Fundraising milestones to celebrate (FundRazr automatically creates visuals for these that are designed for sharing)
If you are not sure how to create your post-launch communication plan, speak with our crowdfunding strategist (it is free!)
What about after my campaign?
Hopefully, you successfully met your goals! You’re almost done – just don’t forget to prepare a series of posts to thanking your donors, friends, supporters and community.
- Create a thank you picture and share it everywhere you can
- Record a short video thanking your donors, and reminding your community how valuable their donations will be in addressing the problem you’re working to solves
- When the time comes, get back to your community to show them the impact of their generosity by giving an update about how you used their donations. Seeing it for themselves will go much farther than words of thanks ever could.
CONGRATULATIONS on making it through this whole article on how to promote your crowdfunding campaign and ensure its success! By going through these questions and applying the answers to your campaign, you’re ready to launch knowing that your campaign will reach the right crowd to meet your goals.
Now get out there and crowdfund with confidence!