Fundraising Tips for the Digital Age

fundraising tipsDo you remember the days of elementary school bake sales? Child craft markets? Selling t-shirts to raise money for your lacrosse team to play three states away? Fundraising has likely been at least a small part of your life while growing up, and the rise in popularity of the internet makes fundraising even easier than ever. Websites like KickStarter and IndieGogo create platforms that artists, entrepreneurs and aspiring travelers can all use to raise funds for their own personal goals. Whether you’re creating a new form of 3D printer or your band is looking for a way to fund their tour across North America, there are a lot more convenient ways to raise funds without having to sit at a lemonade stand for weeks. By using these simple fundraising tips, you’ll be raising money in no time!

Online Resources

Online fundraising is one of the most popular ways to raise funds these days. Create an account, fill out all of the necessary information, and then post the donate link on all of your social networking sites! There are a handful of different websites to choose from, so it’s important to look at all of them before determining which is right for you.

Kickstarter:

Kickstarter is popular among creative types. Think a new album release, a big art installation or the development of a cool new piece of eyewear. It is not typically used for charities, personal fundraising, or businesses. They actually screen those applying and will not allow fundraisers that don’t fit their qualifications. Those who search around Kickstarter for projects to donate to are often looking for young creatives who are trying to reach their artistic goals. When using Kickstarter, you must raise what you ask for before any funds are released. If you don’t make what you desire, you unfortunately don’t get any of the money. On Kickstarter, people can donate for up to 60 days.

Indiegogo:

Indiegogo is a lot like Kickstarter, except they are a lot broader in their approach. While it appeals to artists, writers and musicians of any kind, it can also be used for raising personal funds and money needed to excel in a particular hobby, businesses or non-profits who are looking to raise funds for the greater good. Are you an aspiring white water rafter? Can you convince people that giving you money will make them feel as though they are donating to a good cause? You can create an account on Indiegogo and watch the money roll in. When using this website, people can donate for up to 120 days.

Causes:

Causes is geared towards individuals and non-profit organizations who want to make a change in the world. Acts of charity such as donating shoes, food or water to third world countries are popular on this website. It is also built right into Facebook, so many people throughout the network can view and donate easily.

Fundly:

Used for non-profit fundraising, political campaigns, sports teams and even personal fundraising, Fundly is becoming popular due to its ease of use through various social networking sites. Once you sign up, Fundly creates a ‘button’ for you that can be easily posted throughout your networks, and keeps your donators updated on new updates about your cause.

The Rewards

fundraising tipsYou know what a lot of people look for when donating to a particular fundraiser? What they’re going to get out of it. If it’s for a particularly good cause, maybe the good karma is enough for them. But if they’re donating so that you and your band can tour across the United States, odds are they want a t-shirt or a tangible copy of your CD in return for donating a couple of their hard-earned dollars. Many websites offer a place where you can enter in “rewards”. For example, if you’re an aspiring watercolor artist, someone donating $5 could get a handwritten thank you note with a small watercolor painting, someone donating $20 could get a 3×5 watercolor painting, someone donating $50 could get an 8×10 watercolor painting, and someone donating over $200 could get a personalized painting of themselves from you. The cooler your rewards, the more people will want to donate. These don’t have to cost you a lot of money (or any money), so feel free to get creative.

Extra Tips

  • Start earlier than you think! If you’re planning a volunteer trip to South America in three weeks and you need to raise $3000, are you going to start your fundraising campaign now? You should have started that months ago. The longer you give people to donate, the more money you’ll end up receiving.
  • If you are starting months earlier than you need to, make sure you keep reminding people of your fundraiser. If you post one link on your social networking site in March and the fundraiser doesn’t end until November, people are going to forget about it! Although you don’t want to irritate people by begging for money every hour, you should post a friendly little reminder every week so that people can donate when they have the funds.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask people directly. Don’t be pushy, but sending a quick little message to a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in years, asking how they’re doing and telling them about your fundraiser can go far. They’ll be happy to hear from you, and if you’re raising money for a good cause and they have some extra cash, they’ll be happy to send it your way! Besides, sending personalized messages makes it seem as though you’re truly spending time out of your day to think about them, and are much more effective than mass texts or emails.
  • When speaking to people directly, make sure to contact everyone you know! Even if it’s a teacher you had back in elementary school, you’d be surprised how many people are willing to help out.
  • Set a challenging goal, but make sure it’s attainable. Some websites don’t release the funds raised unless you actually meet your goal. If you know that you need $3000, shoot for $4000, not $10,000. If you get more money than you’ve asked for, that’s great! You’ll still get those funds. But asking for much more money than needed can work against you in the long run.
  • Include as much detail as you can about why you need these funds, and why people should donate to you. Are you trying to raise money to buy yourself a new flat screen TV? People probably won’t be interested in helping you out. But if you are trying to raise funds to fly across the globe to create a documentary on a third world country (and some of your funds will go towards helping others), then people will love to help you out. Don’t embellish or lie about why you need the funds, but don’t be shy about explaining yourself.
  • When all is said and done, don’t forget to send personalized thank you notes to every single person who donated, even if it was just $1.
  • You don’t have to do this all alone! Recruit your closest friends and family to reach out to everyone they know as well.

Raise That Money!

fundraising tipsIf you’re looking to raise money, don’t be shy. People can’t donate to your cause if they don’t know anything about it! Make sure you give an accurate description and plenty of reminders to people in order to reach your goal. By doing your best and recruiting the help of others, you can raise the funds you need for whatever you desire. If you’re looking for more ways of raising money fast, Udemy has a great course on raising money in the digital age! And hey, if all else fails, you can always host that bake sale.