Running an Appeal Or Crowdfunding Page
A crowdfunding page or appeal page allows you to build urgency by fundraising for something very focussed. This is a temporary campaign to raise money against a specific target, over a specific time, for a specific need. This need can be existing or new, it can be anything that you can put a financial figure against. For example a project, equipment, an event or to continue your work for the next six months.
Crowdfunding campaigns raise more in donations as most supporters prefer to give to a specific need, rather than donating directly to your organisation. This is because transparency inspires confidence and it is very clear what donations are being used for. Donors are helping something very specific to be achieved. On average 27% of crowdfunding donors will go on to volunteer for the cause and 90% will promote the project via social media.
For a first appeal, set a target of between £500 and £5,000. This will make it worth the time but allow you to learn a lot from your first campaign, such as the average donation amount and what parts of your network respond. When a target is too big then it can put off supporters who can only manage a smaller donation size. You can always increase your target if you get close to exceeding it.
Once a crowdfunding page has reached 30% of its target then it is statistically likely to hit its target. This is because you have achieved the work of getting it off the ground. It is encouraging for new donors to see that a substantial portion of the money has already been raised. There is nothing more off-putting than going to donate and then finding an appeal being on £0 or barely started. To avoid this situation, there are two main ways to move on from the £0 mark as quickly as possible.
Firstly, there is the option of showing offline donations that you have also raised in the online total. If you already have a grant towards the same work or have had a recent cash donation, then you can update your online total at any time. This means that all of your hard work is shown in the target bar, even if it is money that has not been processed online.
Secondly, you could look at doing a ‘soft launch’. This is where you ensure that those closest to your organisation are ‘in the know’ about the date that your appeal is launching. You then encourage them to donate as soon as possible to get the appeal off the £0 mark, ahead of a public launch.
On your crowdfunding page, clearly explain what the need is, what your work is doing and what the outcome would be. Make sure that your wording makes it sound like the donor is the hero who is achieving this great outcome. Campaigns help to vary how you ask for support throughout the year, focusing efforts for both your organisation and your network. It is worth planning between one and four campaigns a year, depending on your needs, time capacity and how often you feel it is appropriate to ask your network for donations. Apply what you have learnt in your first appeal to future fundraising.
Tip: By running regular donor reports you can become aware of any trends. These reports are located within your Localgiving dashboard and can be easily downloaded. This makes it possible to see who donated, how much they donated, when they donated and which cause of yours they donated to.
Plan ahead, preparing any staff or volunteers. Get everyone involved in at least promoting the campaign, making the most of your organisation’s skills and assets.
Make a campaign video as this will enable you to get much more across than you can with just text. This can be anything from a professional standard to a homemade clip on a mobile phone of volunteers talking. Make sure that you have permission from those featured in any videos or photos.
Consider launching the appeal around an awareness day, an anniversary or an event. Special dates like these could also be useful in the middle of an appeal, to help maintain momentum. Decide if it fits into a time of year when your work is most active and people are most aware of it. The autumn and lead up to Christmas are when people are most generous, this is always a good time of year for an appeal.
Run the appeal for 3 weeks to 3 months, to give enough time to reach your network but not so long that you lose urgency or that you find it a burden to run. You can amend the dates within your account if you wish to run the appeal for longer.