A Beginners Guide to Crowdfunding

Discover what crowdfunding is and whether it could be a useful way for you to fund a charitable project or venture with our handy guide.

Expand your network of possible sponsors with crowdfunding 

Take your fundraising into the 21st century with crowdfunding, a practice that can have you raising hundreds of pounds’ worth of funds for a project through an online campaign. Whether you think it could be a great new form of fundraising or you want to know how to improve on your previous campaigns, we’ve put together some useful tips on how to successfully crowdfund.

What is a crowdfund fundraising campaign?

A crowdfund fundraising campaign is simply a page that you can set up on a dedicated crowdfunding website such as Crowdfunder or Just Giving. It allows you to reach out to both new and existing supporters of your cause and encourage them to get involved by donating to an upcoming project.

Individuals often use crowdfunding to raise money for a personal cause close to their heart, but it’s also helpful for larger fundraising projects such as raising money to build a new community centre or to help fund important research.

Creating a crowdfunding page is very easy to do and once you’ve set it up, you can share the link to it on your website, social media accounts, newsletter and any emails you send to your mailing list.

Could crowdfunding be for me?

Crowdfunding can be a very useful tool for raising money but it’s not necessarily the best form of fundraising for everyone. It can be highly successful if:

  • You are trying to raise money for a cause that lots of people are likely to care about.
  • You have a mailing list of potential donors that matches your target amount. If you’re trying to raise £20,000, you’ll want to have around 2000-3000 people on your list to consider a crowdfunding campaign.
  • You don’t have a way to set up your own campaign and donation collection system on your website.
  • You have a respected supporter, connection or trustee who can set up the crowdfunding page on your behalf to help it gain more sponsors.
  • You are able to make videos for your page as well as create exciting and informative text.

You don’t necessarily need to have all of these to make your crowdfunding project work, however they’ll give you a higher chance of having a successful campaign. The most important thing is that you have a strong believe in your campaign yourself- and plenty of determination to make it happen!

What skills will I need to successfully crowdfund? 

Crowdfunding may seem like a pretty straightforward form of raising money but as with all fundraising, there are some simple things you’ll need to do if you really want to make a go of it.

  • Have good communication skills

There can be thousands of crowdfunding campaigns running at any one time so it’s vital that you do all you can to make yours stand out. This starts with making sure you communicate your message clearly and in an engaging way on your page by taking your time with setting it up and having a clear idea of what you want to say on it beforehand.

Do some research on similar crowdfunding campaigns to yours that have been very successful, and always make sure you write yours in an easy to understand way that’s persuasive without being pushy. Outline your objectives, target amount and timeframe, and always include interesting images and links to other helpful sites (such as your website) so potential donors can find out more information about your cause. 

  • Engage your audience

To be successful at crowdfunding, it helps if you are a good storyteller that’s able to appeal to the senses and make people reading your copy feel like they’re experiencing things first hand. You should try to understand what drives them and what they’re passionate about, and ultimately make them feel compelled to donate straight away!

A great example of an engaging crowdfunding campaign is the Lemn Sissay Foundation Christmas Dinner 2017. The campaign page uses information and videos to help raise awareness and funds, with founder Lemn using personal stories of his experiences and hardships to help compel others to donate.

  • Reward your backers

Commercial crowdfunders often give equity to their backers as well as free products or discounts. It’s still possible and important to offer rewards even if you are asking for donations. It can be difficult to know how a donor would like to be rewarded though- some people prefer to do their giving quietly and don't want a grand gesture of thanks while others would love to be invited to an end of campaign drinks party. Everyone is different so think about potential rewards you could offer that would suit all of your backers. You could even try building up relationships with local businesses and ask them to donate something to give us a gift to your supporters.

  • Have a social media plan 

Having good social media and coordination skills are important as you’ll need to make use of several social media platforms if you want your campaign to reach thousands of people and ideally go viral. You should try to come up with a clear social media plan in advance, stating when and what you’re going to post. Make sure your messages and visuals are enticing, and use analytics tools to monitor which content is the most successful.

  • Don’t do it on your own

Don’t try to take on a campaign on our own as crowdfund fundraising only works well if you work as a team and share the work out. It’s important to make those who volunteer their time and money feel appreciated and that they’re personally making a difference!

There are plenty of amazing crowdfunding success stories out there for you to be inspired by including this story about Northampton Football Club setting up a crowdfunding page for a supporter who had his laptop and special effects equipment stolen. Even something as simple as raising money to help replace stolen items can make a massive amount of difference to somebody’s life, and shows that no issue is too small to be worthy of fundraising and support.

To inspire others to get involved in a crowdfunding campaign, why not share this page with them so they too can benefit from our handy tips and advice?

You may also enjoy reading:

A Beginners Guide to Social Media for Fundraisers

10 Best Fundraising Challenges

Ultimate Ideas for Online Fundraising

Fundraising Expert

Fundraising Expert is a driving force for effective fundraising and increasing donations. Helping you raise more!
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram