note: this lesson is also available as a 5 minute video here.
If only it were this easy. In reality, there is no magical community of funders just waiting to support projects on crowdfunding sites. At ioby, we look at your campaign page as one tool in your fundraising arsenal —something like an online business card where all your key information can live.
Think of your page as online business card, where all your key information can live.
But that page itself isn’t going to talk to your friends, meet your neighbors at an event, or get itself in front of new people. It’s your awesome network that’s going to chip in and make it a reality. In our experience, between 70 and 80 percent of yours donors will be people you reach out to directly, and most of the other 20 to 30 percent will be people in their extended networks. The ripple effect from the outreach work you do fuels the crowdfunding engine.
In our work, we’ve learned that less than one percent of people who see your social media post will become donors just because they saw it. Social media can be great for building awareness and creating “buzz” for your project, but it’s generally not a great tool for actually asking for money.
We can’t refute this one better than ioby Leader John Bailey, who raised over $13,000 to fund a tool lending library for his neighborhood in St. Paul, Minnesota:
“People like being asked. Our perception of fundraising can be: ‘I was cooking dinner and Greenpeace called me and I burned my food! It’s so annoying!’ Or, you get asked for money for something random at the grocery store and don’t know what to say. But when we’re asked by someone we know, it’s flattering. It’s saying: ‘I’ve thought about you and I know you would care about this.’ It implicitly suggests, ‘I hold you in high regard.’” - John Baily, St. Paul, MN
It’s true that your contacts may need to be nudged a time or two (or three) before they give, but most will be glad to do so.
Grassroots leaders successfully crowdfund for simple, everyday things all the time! We’re talking garden sheds, backpacks for kids, building renovations—even (one of our favorites) a lawnmower. Don’t be tempted to alter your project to be more provocative, or try to make it sound more glamorous than it is. Just work on explaining to prospective donors exactly what it is you’re raising money for and why it’s important