Crowdfunding is a powerful way to raise donations and boost your nonprofit fundraising. It is becoming an increasingly popular way to raise funds for specific causes by engaging donors.
Nonprofits and independent fundraisers are adopting crowdfunding to raise donations in order to deliver impact quickly. If you are a nonprofit with a strategic fundraising plan in the works, adding crowdfunding to your strategy is likely to lead you to success.
Crowdfunding campaigns typically highlight a single challenge and a fixed fundraising goal to overcome it. However, the key to executing an effective crowdfunding campaign lies in powerful storytelling – one which inspires giving engages your audience and attracts support organically.
In this post, we will cover what goes into creating a successful nonprofit crowdfunding campaign and how you can craft a compelling story for it.
Let’s get started!
Steps to create your crowdfunding story
- Define your challenge
- Understand your donors
- Share your impact and the broad purpose
- Speak through visuals
- Craft a concise description
- Call for action!
1. Define your challenge
Your crowdfunding campaign aims to overcome a challenge, for example, raising funds to build an animal shelter, fundraising for a community mental health program, fundraising for emergency medical assistance, bringing food assistance to a disaster-struck community.
Your nonprofit might be working towards a broader mission that impacts multiple communities or covers broader geography. But, your crowdfunding campaign should be focused on overcoming a portion of your broader mission – a single challenge.
Define the challenge you are facing in simple words. Your challenge might be complex but describing the situation in simple words is the key to increasing your campaign’s reach to a wider audience.
Your challenge should be crafted to express the distress that is being faced. It is possible that your crowdfunding campaign is not directly associated with a distressing situation but it might indirectly impact those in need, or it helps bridge the path to deliver necessary aid and impact.
Describe your challenge to bring light to what you are aiming to overcome. By mentioning the problem in your story, you are conveying the seriousness of the issue. This will help your audience and prospective donors understand why your campaign is important.
Let your challenge become the backbone of your campaign, it is what makes your crowdfunding campaign unique.
Pro tip: Start your story with the challenge. Describing your challenge at the start will make your donors aware of the problem. Talking about the situation of people you are aiming to help will draw the necessary attention.
Here’s how Feed the Frontlines NYC explains the challenge they are addressing in their crowdfunding campaign.
2. Understand your donors
Your donors are specific groups of people who resonate with the challenge you are attempting to address. And while you may want to spread your message to various cohorts of people, it is essential to narrow down your target audience and craft a crowdfunding story that appeals to them powerfully.
Lay down how exactly your donors can help. Explain how their contribution will help you deliver impact – in tangible terms. A $25 donation will go into buying food for a stray animal for a week, or a $100 donation will help bring funds to feed one family for a month.
Understanding your donors will help you target them better, donors resonate with the impact you will deliver. And understanding their thought process will help you speak to them effectively. If your donors are a younger audience belonging to a specific community, a specific language and phrasing might help you communicate better with them. You will also understand the most effective channels to promote your crowdfunding campaign- social media, emails, video content, or simpler text-driven storytelling.
If your cause is tied to a specific location, and it is possible that you are likely to draw more donations from their neighboring communities.
Pro tip: Take a moment to reflect on who will be your primary donors or major donors. For example, animal lovers are likely to donate to your animal welfare crowdfunding campaign. Tailor your storytelling to appeal to animal-lovers.
3. Share your impact and the broad purpose
Once you have described your challenge and understood your audience. It is time to pay attention to sharing your broader purpose, mission, and the impact you are trying to make.
Your audience is now aware of the challenge you are faced with and understanding how they can help. Involve them in your impact and the positive changes their contributions will bring. After understanding your challenge, your supporters are likely to get better engaged with your broader work and the good impact you have made so far. This will encourage them to take part in your mission. Make your supporters feel involved with your broader mission.
Crowdfunding platforms that allow you to share updates are perfect to drive donor engagement and draw more support. For example, Donorbox crowdfunding lets you add updates and share the progress of your campaign within your campaign page. You can also send email updates intimating donors about your latest work during the campaign.
Sharing updates about your impact makes your donors feel involved, which in turn might make them talk about your work, give more, or spread the message about your work to other people.
4. Speak through visuals
Visuals speak louder than words! Videos and photos are a great storytelling aid. They help you speak more effectively about your work or the challenge behind your crowdfunding campaign.
Create a compelling video to share what you are trying to achieve through your campaign. Use the videos and photos to capture the distress of the people or the situation you are working to eliminate. Or use visuals to showcase the impact of your campaign. Nothing works better than showing your work first-hand, videos and photos help you achieve just that!
If you are working to build a school for underprivileged children, create a video to showcase how the progress of your project, when a part of the building is completed – share a thank you message via video.
Pro tip #1: If you are new to video creation, it might seem that your challenge or impact is difficult to capture in a video or photos. Hire a video editor or a filming consultant to brainstorm how you can communicate through video. Be specific about the message you want your video to convey but at the same time, let your consultant offer advice on making it more impactful.
Pro tip #2: If you are confident about communicating your campaign only with a text description, take good images to reflect the same. While your storytelling is effective alone, photos can become the catalyst that adds to your story and add power to your crowdfunding campaign story.
5. Craft a concise description
Now that you have defined your challenge, understood your donors, and spoken about your impact, revisit your crowdfunding campaign story and make sure it is tied well together, concisely.
You need to convey your campaign in order to garner empathy, mobilize your donors and draw more support to increase donations. A concise story will draw and keep the attention of your supporters. If made too lengthy, they may lose interest. Even if they are interested in being involved with your campaign, a long story might lead their attention astray.
Make sure your story is structured in parts. It should cover all key messages you want to convey – from your challenge to your desired impact.
Pro tip: Eliminate content that is unnecessary. Evaluate if adding some parts is leading your supporter away from the specific cause of your crowdfunding campaign.
6. Call for action!
A successful crowdfunding campaign carries a powerful call for action. This includes asking your audience directly to donate now!
Now that your supporters are aware of your campaign, stress the importance of giving and how much their contribution is necessary for success. Use bold words to ask them to give. Your commitment to delivering impact should inspire them to get involved. Ask them to donate or to subscribe to your campaign updates.
With Donorbox crowdfunding, your donors are automatically added as your subscribers, but it also allows your supporters to subscribe without donating.
Use urgency to your story and call for action, once your supporters are inspired by your work, building urgency will nudge them into giving right away.
Resource: Here’s a good blog post we wrote to increase your donations.
Bonus Tip! – Update your donors
Storytelling is the most powerful marketing tool to catch attention. But, it is successful only when it is communicated effectively. Your entire crowdfunding campaign is your story in the making. This means that the success of your campaign is a part of your complete story
Make sure you are updating your audience and subscribers about the progress of your campaign. Keeping donors informed is important if you want your storytelling to create an impact.
Donorbox crowdfunding feature allows you to send updates to your donors and subscribers. Not only does this help keep your supporters involved, but it is also a great way to inform how far you have come in your campaign.
Pro tip: If your campaign is running for a month, send weekly updates to your supporters. If your campaign is for a week, send daily updates. Donorbox crowdfunding lets you send personalized messages via email and add social media icons to let your supporters share your campaign easily.
You may create amazing videos and use photos, but ensure that your story is visible to the world. Sending updates will keep your campaign alive and your donors informed. Letting your build the right rapport with your audience is necessary for your campaign.
Crowdfunding campaigns are very useful in raising donations quickly and taking a leap towards your nonprofit mission. Crafting a compelling crowdfunding story is the key to executing a successful campaign. Apply all-important tips into your crowdfunding campaign and wait for your efforts to bring out the desired results.
Fundraising is an ongoing effort for nonprofits, and we wish you good luck in your good work!
Head over to our nonprofit blog for more nonprofit resources and fundraising tips, and don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly newsletter to receive our latest updates in your inbox!