Is your school planning to run a Giving Tuesday campaign this year? If so, crowdfunding is a powerful and effective mass-fundraising strategy to drive results. Whether or not Giving Tuesday is right for your overall strategy, every private school regardless of size should run at least one crowdfunding campaign a year.
To ensure crowdfunding success for your school, create a campaign page through a service such as everydayhero that is easy to set up and contains the components proven to drive results. Your job is using those tools to craft a page that is emotionally compelling and draws people in to donate. To do that, optimize each of the five main ingredients of the crowdfunding page.
1. Select a project or program to support.
Crowdfunding works well for schools when it raises money for a specific project or program. For example, your school’s crowdfunding campaign might fund new science equipment, scholarships, or a new A/V system for your school. Alternatively, you can run a crowdfunding campaign for the annual fund. Either way, select a specific initiative and make sure the page explains why the project is critical for your school.
2. Set a realistic crowdfunding goal.
The crowdfunding goal should make sense based on the project scope and the size of your school. If you really want to raise money for a larger project, but you don’t have the donor base to pull it off through crowdfunding, you can always aim for raising a portion of the total fundraising goal.
For example, if you need to raise $100,000 to update your school’s athletic facilities, but your crowdfunding base probably can’t support that big of a goal, set the campaign for a specific aspect of the project such as $20,000 to pay for resurfacing the gym floor. You can then raise the remainder of the overall $100,000 project costs through offline fundraising activities.
Your objective should be to raise 100 percent of the crowdfunding goal. You don’t want to launch a $50,000 project and only raise $17,000. Instead, set a realistic goal of $15,000, and when you exceed the goal, it will build crowdfunding credibility with your donors for future campaigns. This conservative approach is especially key for schools launching a crowdfunding campaign for the first time.
3. Feature a well-produced video.
Most highly successful crowdfunding campaigns feature a compelling, well-produced video. Professional quality is great if you can get it, but if not, shoot the video with as high-quality a video camera as you can find, using a tripod (shaky videos look unprofessional), and a good audio input. Most schools have someone in their community who is good enough with video to be considered a hobbyist or “semi-pro” that can help.
The video content should appeal to viewers’ emotions by telling stories. Talk about the work you are doing, the work you’re trying to fund, and feature someone from the school talking directly on camera to personalize the campaign and make a connection with viewers. Further strengthen the message and emotional appeal by featuring someone impacted by the initiative.
4. Get to the point in the text context.
In addition to the video, the campaign page text further explains why the project is important. Most people will skim the page text, so the rules here are similar to direct mail—use short paragraphs with bolded headings to catch their attention and turn the skimmers into readers.
Because they won’t be readers for long, get directly to the point of explaining why the project is important—make it clear how much money you need and why. Talk about who is involved in and impacted by the campaign, and if you have giving perks, clearly outline them. Then make an ask—both the video and the text should have a defined ask such as, “Will you help us by donating to this project today?”
5. Highlight the perks.
Most crowdfunding sites like everydayhero enable you to set giving levels with perks or benefits for each. Incentives such as t-shirts, front-row tickets to school productions, parking spots, gift cards, etc., can help drive crowdfunding. The perks should be valuable to the donor but also shouldn’t cost more than what is being raised.
It’s best to have multiple giving levels with different perks—at least four, but preferably five to seven, and even eight or nine if you have enough incentives. Offer a perk at the $1 level—something like “A heartfelt thank you” for everyone who donates. Then list different perks for the $10-$50 and $100-$250 ranges, as well as some higher-level benefits.
Perks that are connected to the school’s mission and show appreciation for the donation typically work best.
Create a crowdfunding campaign page for your school today with everydayhero. It’s free to join—there are no subscription or upfront costs!
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