5 Steps to a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign
1. Set a Clear GoalIt’s important to create a budget. Outline all necessary educational expenses, including tuition, books and other fees. You should also show any money you have coming in from federal aid, institutional or private scholarships, and money you expect to receive from other sources. The difference between what you need and what you expect to receive should be your goal amount. Don't bump up your amount to include extra money for arbitrary expenses, such as partying or grabbing some fast food, as donors will be less likely to contribute. It doesn’t hurt to include a screenshot or link to a PDF of your budget, either; donors will feel more at ease when they know where their money is going.
2. Create a ThemeIf you want to generate some traffic to your page, you need a hook. Come up with a catchy title, a tagline and even some content ideas that can be used for emails and other communications. For example, you could have a page called ‘10 Reasons Why I Don't Want to be a Ramen Noodles Expert’ and highlight a different reason each week during your campaign. In your email communications, you could link back to your Pinterest page and include a different recipe for Ramen. Just have some fun and make it interesting!
3. Showcase Your TalentsI'm not suggesting you should add racy pictures or vulgar language to your page (please keep it clean), but you should include photos of yourself that will give donors an idea of who you are and what you want from life. If you're an artist, consider adding photos of your work or a video showing you actually going through the process of creating a piece of art. If you're a blogger, include a link to your website or recent posts. The more people get to know you, the more likely they are to donate to your campaign.
4. Recruit OthersDon't expect great results if you are the only one sharing your story. This is why social media outreach is a crucial component to any crowdfunding campaign. Get family and friends to share your page, and look for other avenues to get some exposure. It never hurts to contact your local newspaper or television station, either. Invite them out to an event, share your page, or drop them an email. It makes for a great human-interest story and it could even get picked up by outlets outside of your local area. The more people who know about your page, the more your funds will grow.
5. Stay EngagedThis is not a one and done process. Once you have your page up and running, you’ll need to keep people interested; send out an email introducing yourself, make a short video, host a fun event – do whatever it takes to keep the momentum going. Canvas your local area and connect with small business owners, as many may be willing to sponsor an event or allow you to put out a collection jar. Some ideas that are easy to organize include:
- Mom’s Night Out: Offer your services for a few hours on a Friday or Saturday night (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.), placing fliers at area grocery stores and kid’s clothing stores.
- Bowl-4-Tuition: Participants pay a set fee for a certain number of hours of bowling. Give out small prizes (coupons from local restaurants) for certain things, such as highest score or getting a turkey (three strikes in a row).
- Car Wash and Bake Sale: People get hungry and thirsty waiting for their vehicles!
- Online Art Auction: Take a few of your best pieces and host an auction from your crowdfunding page; set a time limit, put up pictures, and ask people to post their bids. Be sure to include an estimate for shipping, unless you plan to pay for that yourself.