Your organization has been testing the waters of social media for awhile, and now you want to venture into the world of online fundraising: you want to launch a crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding is a powerful tool, but it’s more work than just creating a page on a fundraising website. Here are some things to consider before you get started:
- Does your organization have a fundraising strategy?
- How does this campaign fit within that strategy?
- Who will run this campaign?
- Do you have the staff to sustain a campaign for 30-45 days?
- Are you prepared to schedule and follow through on the pre-campaign work, the campaign, and the post campaign follow up?
- Have you built your social networks and are you credible within those networks? A request for money is not the first exposure people should have to your social networks.
Why do I ask these questions? Any fundraising campaign – online or offline – has to fit in with your annual fundraising strategy. If your organization doesn’t have a strategy, you’re probably not ready – yet – to launch a crowdfunding campaign. Put the plan together first, then figure out how crowdfunding works within it.
Once you’ve got your organizational fundraising strategy together, consider how long you want your campaign to be. The average length of a campaign is 30-45 days, but one-day, weeklong, and other shorter campaigns are also successful. Just don’t plan anything for much longer than six weeks. Your audience will lose interest, and your campaign will lose impact if your community doesn’t see the immediacy of your need.
What’s the “hook” to your campaign? A need? An anniversary or other special date? An event? Your campaign will attract more attention if it has a specific time focus, i.e., “we’re raising $50,000 in the five weeks leading up to our organization’s fifth birthday,” or “we’re launching a one-day campaign as part of the national day of giving.”
Once you’ve figured these out, it’s time to start planning your campaign. Check back over the next few weeks as we look at sample calendars for the pre-campaign and campaign phases.