After you’ve decided to start a fundraiser and you’ve chosen the right platform for you, the next step is to raise money and hit your goal. In order to run a successful campaign, you’ll need to:

  1. Make it clickable
  2. Write a good story
  3. Create buzz
  4. Sustain momentum
  5. Go above and beyond

Follow the guidelines below to ensure you do just that.

1. Make it clickable

Focus on what will show up on social media: the title and the main image.

The title should entice people to click on your fundraiser. How? By being intriguing and relevant. You can make your title relevant by including the actual cause in the title. For example: Bring Joy to Kids in the Hospital or, Helping Our Hero Get Back on His Feet.

Choose a main image that is clear and related to your cause. Think about it this way: People are bombarded with thousands of images a day, so to make your fundraising post stand out, it should be an image that looks interesting to click on. If you can, include photos with the people (or animals, or places…) the fundraiser is for. Remember that most fundraising sites require horizontal images rather than vertical images.

2. Write a good story

The story is the most important part of any fundraiser. It’s what will ultimately lead someone to decide whether or not they will donate. Write the story with both strangers and friends in mind. This way, if someone you don’t know stumbles across your fundraiser, they will have enough information to move them to donate.

Here’s what to include for a great story:

  • The Hook: To hook your audience, focus on writing a great first line. It should create a reason for the reader to keep reading. 
  • Context: Let people know the basics of your story—the who, what, where, and when of the fundraiser.  
  • The Current State: Bring the audience into your moment. If this is a personal fundraiser, this would mean how you feel about your circumstances. If this is a fundraiser for an organization, focus on why it means so much for this organization to receive donations. 
  • Hope for the Future: What do you hope to accomplish with the funds you raise? How will donors’ support positively impact the future? If you can, frame your story in the positive—focus on a hopeful future, and show donors how they could be a part of making that dream a reality. 
  • Emotion: Connect with the audience by connecting with their emotions. Facts tell the story, but emotions move the reader to act. The more you can relay the emotion that lies behind your cause or circumstances, the more likely supporters are to donate.  
  • Get Creative with Formatting: Most crowdfunding platforms offer rich text options. For example, with GoFundMe or JustGiving, you can bold, underline, and italicize text. Consider adding photos and videos to your story to make it more visually appealing and put faces to names.  

3. Create buzz

First, write a hook that you can share on social media. Remember: Your audience on social media only has so much time and attention. Consider what you could share in your post that would really grab someone’s attention. Can you make your post inspiring? Intriguing? A cliffhanger? For example:

  • I’m changing the world. Click here to learn what I’ve been up to!
  • We’ve been living in the presence of a silent superhero! Read her story here.

Second, loop your inner circle into your efforts. Before or right after you go live, text or call five close supporters of you or your cause. Ask them if they’d be willing to share your campaign (or even donate!). Not sure who to ask? Consider friends and family members. Support from your inner circle is a key booster to getting started. This will arm you with confidence to share the fundraiser with your wider circle.

Finally, share your fundraiser on multiple platforms so that you don’t miss anyone. Every one of your contacts has a unique style of communication. Share by email, phone call, text message, Facebook (make sure to tag specific people), on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or anywhere else you communicate with people you know. Most crowdfunding platforms have easy sharing built into their fundraiser dashboards.

If you’re not sure what to say, GoFundMe has a variety of sharing templates, which you can use as inspiration. Ultimately, it’s important to ask people you know to share your fundraiser—even if they can’t donate. This ask will go great lengths towards increasing the amount of people who donate to your fundraiser.

4. Go above and beyond

Going the extra mile for your fundraiser can take it a long way towards improving its chances of success. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make a Video: Get creative: Bring your cause to life with a simple video that tells the story of your cause. Keep it short. 1-3 minutes is best. And, if you’re using a mobile device, film the video horizontally (in landscape mode).  
  • Get Specific: Share the impact that specific donation amounts will have. For example, if your campaign is raising money to buy coats for kids who need them, including the fact that a donation of $26 will buy one coat may encourage more donations. 
  • Reward Donors: Consider offering reward levels for certain donation amounts. These can (and for some platforms, should) be free rewards, like thank you cards or social media shoutouts. HoneyFund, Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and Patreon all offer the ability to add reward levels.
  • Change Your Profile Photo on Social Media: Change your social media profile photos so that they relate to your fundraiser. Add the link to your fundraiser in your profile description. 
  • Make Flyers: Hang them around your community. This is a great way to reach strangers. Some platforms like GoFundMe and JustGiving even create flyers for you. 

5. Sustain momentum 

Keep donors and supporters excited about your cause by posting updates to your fundraiser every week or so. Don’t forget to share them! Consider the following ideas for updates:

  • Share important milestones and accomplishments like: We’ve received our first donation or We’re halfway to our goal!  
  • Create ‘Mini Goals’ like: We hope to raise $500 by Friday! Can you share the fundraiser and help us get to our goal?
  • Publicly share thank yous to those who have donated or shared your fundraiser. 

Remember: The success of any fundraiser is a result of how well it’s crafted and how widely it’s shared. We encourage you to use all of the tips and tools we’ve shared to make your fundraiser as successful as it can be.

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