• Crowdfunding for Individuals: The Beginner’s Guide

    Scroll down to learn more about the newest fundraising method that can help you raise money for nearly any project, event, or cause!

Crowdfunding for individuals

Crowdfunding for Individuals: The Beginner’s Guide

What is crowdfunding, anyway?

Crowdfunding is a fundraising method that enables individuals to raise money for projects, expenses, or events by reaching out to others and asking for donations. Individuals set up online crowdfunding pages and promote those pages on social media and via email.

What are the different crowdfunding models?

Keep-it-all (KiA) means that the fundraiser can receive whatever funds they raise, regardless of whether they reached their fundraising goal or not. The All-or-Nothing (AoN) model means that fundraisers must reach their goal before they can transfer funds to their account.

How much does crowdfunding cost?

Crowdfunding costs and fees differ from platform to platform. In general, though, you should expect to pat a platform fee (between 3% and 10% of your total fundraising revenue) as well as a payment processing fee (typically a percentage plus a flat rate per donation).

Note

Run a Profitable Crowdfunding Campaign! Grab our Top Crowdfunding Tips.

How Does Crowdfunding Work?

How does a crowdfunding campaign work? - Road map for crowdfunding

1. Set a Fundraising Goal

Setting a goal is a crucial first step for crowdfunding. Without a goal, your donors won’t know how close they are to helping you with your project or expenses.

2. Set up a Crowdfunding Page

Your crowdfunding page is how people will donate to your campaign. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of crowdfunding sites to choose from.

3. Customize Your Page

Create a unique and personalized crowdfunding page. Most platforms allow users to upload media, add a bio, post updates, and even change the background colors and font.

4. Promote Your Campaign

No one will be able to give to your campaign if they don’t know about it! It’s your job to get the word out via social media, email, and even word of mouth.

5. Post Updates and Acknowledgements

Your supporters will want to be kept up-to-date on the progress of your campaign. Post regular updates, and thank the people who’ve already donated!

Benefits of Crowdfunding

Raises Money Quickly

Crowdfunding is one of the quickest ways for individuals to raise money for a project, need, or cause.

When promoted correctly via social media, email, and word of mouth, a crowdfunding campaign has the potential to reach hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

Some campaigns even go viral and vastly exceed their goals! Of course, a crowdfunding fundraiser will only be successful if the campaign creator actively encourages members of their networks to donate to the campaign.

Spreads Awareness

Crowdfunding campaigns that seek to raise money for a specific cause can help shine light on that particular problem or issue.

For example, someone who’s raising funds for a rare illness can use a campaign to educate people about that condition and raise awareness about its treatments & symptoms.

The same scenario can occur for crowdfunding pages that highlight social, economic, or political injustices. Campaign creators can not only raise money, but they can also educate their peers about the issue they are crowdfunding for.

Brings People Together

Crowdfunding brings people and communities closer together and unites them under a common cause.

Individuals and communities can band together to help a friend, family member, or coworker who needs assistance with various expenses by contributing to a crowdfunding campaign.

Whenever the individual reaches a fundraising milestone or hits their goal, the entire community is able to celebrate with them and feel good knowing that they helped that person reach their goal.

The Best Crowdfunding Websites

Fundly

Fundly’s crowdfunding platform has something for everyone. Whether you need to start a fundraiser for medical expenses, travel costs, or your school, Fundly can help you!

Each campaign page has social sharing capabilities, and users can upload photos, videos, and updates using Fundly’s mobile app.

SalsaLabs

SalsaLabs has a crowdfunding/P2P platform for nonprofits that are want to raise more money by electrifying their supporter base. Their platform integrates with their other fundraising software.

Salsa’s packages range from $179 to $214 per month. This includes a multitude of other software solutions, as well.

Booster

Booster is a unique crowdfunding platform in that it enables fundraisers to create custom t-shirts that they then sell to raise money. Donors can also give to the campaign without buying a shirt.

Users can create up to five different shirts to sell on the platform, and they only have to order what they sell!

Learn more about picking the best crowdfunding website

How to Get People to Donate to Your Crowdfunding Campaign

Tell a Story

People want to know about you, your cause, and why you’re fundraising. Individuals probably aren’t going to give to a crowdfunding campaign without at least a little context first.

Use your campaign page to tell your story. Let people know what you’re raising money for, why it’s important to you, and how they can help.

Depending on the type of crowdfunding campaign you’re running, you could talk about the hardships you have faced or are facing and how you want to overcome them.

There’s no need to reveal every single personal detail, but your campaign’s story should have an individualized feel to it.

Ask Others to Share

One of the easiest ways to get more people to donate to your crowdfunding campaign is to encourage your network to share your campaign with their own networks.

The more exposure your fundraiser gets, the more donations you are likely to bring in. And asking your supporters to share it results in more exposure!

Most crowdfunding platforms come with sharing options for Facebook, Twitter, and email. You can include a short sentence in your bio about sharing the campaign.

If you recruit all of your supporters to share your campaign on your behalf, your reach could expand exponentially!

Post Regular Updates

A crowdfunding campaign is not a static fundraising method. Rather, it requires thoughtful updates and progress reports.

These updates not only provide existing supporters with the knowledge that their donations went toward something meaningful, but they also encourage others to give to the campaign.

As new supporters come across your campaign, they want to see that you’re actively promoting your cause or project and that you’re striving to meet your goal. A lack of updates ends up looking like a lack of interest on your part and a lack of faith in your supporters.

Provide Incentives

Obviously, not every campaign creator is in a position to provide incentives. This tip is mainly for arts and entrepreneurial projects.

If you are raising money for a creative project or product, you can offer incentives to your supporters in exchange for their donations. The incentives can vary depending on the contribution amount.

For instance, if you are crowdfunding to raise money for a film project, you could offer a pre-screening sneak peek to donors who give a certain amount. Incentives can be a huge motivator for donors who are on the fence about contributing.

Tips and Best Practices for Crowdfunding Campaigns

Pick the Right Site

The crowdfunding site you choose will play a large part in the success of your campaign. If you choose a site that is difficult to use or is cumbersome for donors, you might not reach your fundraising goal.

Make sure that you do your research before selecting a platform.

Pay attention to the costs and fee structure as well as the model that the platform uses. For example, if it’s an all-or-nothing model, you’ll have to reach your goal or you won’t receive any of the money that you’ve raised.

Knowing this kind of information is crucial before you begin your campaign. You don’t want to get halfway through your campaign and realize that the costs are higher than you thought or that there is an all-or-nothing component to the fundraising model (unless you purposefully chose that model).

Read reviews, visit the website, and maybe even call a representative before you make the final decision on a crowdfunding platform.

Choose the Right Time of Year

You won’t always have control over when you start your crowdfunding campaign. Memorial and funeral costs, for example, are an unexpected and immediate need that loved ones must cover regardless of the time of year.

But certain campaigns will do better at certain times of the year.

In general, the last 3 months of the year are the most lucrative when it comes to charitable giving. Usually, the holiday season puts everyone into a giving mood, and your crowdfunding campaign can capitalize on this good will.

If you’re trying to get funding for a seasonal product or idea, start your campaign at the beginning of that season. For example, if you’re trying to fundraise for a revolutionary new type of leaf blower, you’d do well to start your campaign at the beginning of autumn, not the middle of spring.

Try to plan your crowdfunding campaign around the time of year that will help you raise the most money possible.

Rally Your Peers

Some crowdfunding campaigns get a lot of their funding from complete strangers, but it’s always best to start out with the people closest to you.

Instead of setting up a crowdfunding page and hoping that random people will find it, share it with your friends and family members first.

And don’t just stop at online promotion! Whenever you talk to your peers, remind them of your crowdfunding campaign and ask them to help.

Of course, you don’t want to become a friend that promotes their crowdfunding campaign in every conversation, but in the early stages, it’s okay to be excited about your campaign and want other people to be just as ecstatic about it as you are!

Try Having a "Quiet Phase"

A “quiet phase” is a fundraising term that refers to an unannounced fundraising stage. It is usually reserved for large, nonprofit campaigns, but it can relate to crowdfunding, too!

During your campaign’s “quiet phase,” you basically ask for donations from those closest to you before you launch your actual campaign

Then, when you launch your campaign on a crowdfunding platform, donors think that you’ve already raise quite a bit of money and will want to jump on the bandwagon.

People will follow a cause if see that others have already made significant contributions. You can give your crowdfunding a bit of an edge if you start fundraising before the official launch of your crowdfunding page.

Upload Photos and Videos for Your Campaign

You don’t need to bombard your donors with a complete photo album or a full-length documentary about your campaign.

Instead, create a schedule for your uploads. Maybe you only need to post two photos a week and a short video every other week. This schedule will largely depend on the length and type of your campaign.

Crowdfunding campaigns for creative projects lend themselves well to regular media updates that let donors know the project’s status.

No matter what type of campaign you’re running, you should post an intro video or photo that lets donors know who you are and why you’re raising money.

Make sure that your media uploads look professional. People aren’t likely to give to a crowdfunding campaign if the first thing they see is a blurry photo or a shaky video.

Offer Incentives and Perks During Your Campaign

Some crowdfunding campaigns will have products or incentives attached to different giving levels.

For example, if you were raising money for your sports team, a $50 donation might be linked to a ticket to one of the games. A $75 donation might be tied to a ticket plus a cap with your team’s logo.

Offering different products can be a great way to encourage donors to give even more during your crowdfunding campaign.

Of course, you aren’t obligated to offer products or incentives; in fact, in some cases it might not even be possible considering the nature of the campaign.

But if you have it in your budget, and you want your donors to be acknowledged and remember your campaign, then products and incentives are a great idea!

Successful Crowdfunding Campaigns

Examples of successful crowdfunding campaigns -3

Man of Peace: The Illustrated Life Story of the Dalai Lama

This creative crowdfunding project started as a way for supporters to fund the illustrated graphic novel depicting the life of the Dalai Lama.

There are still 22 days to fund this project, but its goal has already been exceeded by over $2,000, taking it to a current total of $27,434.

The project has a total of 163 individual donors and has been shared over 3,000 times on Facebook alone!

This particular campaign includes videos and images of the illustration project in its current state, which show supporters how previous donations have affected the progress of the project.

Examples of successful crowdfunding campaigns -2

Scott Hart Memorial Fund

The Scott Hart Memorial Fund was a memorial fundraiser that raised nearly $4,000 more than its initial goal.

With 125 individual donors and an end amount of $13,450, the Scott Hart Memorial fund paid tribute to Scott’s life and helped support his surviving loved ones.

The campaign was shared nearly 300 times on Facebook alone, a fact that directly points to this campaign’s success.

Donors had the option to subscribe to the campaign to get updates and stay in the loop.

Examples of successful crowdfunding campaigns

The Hurricane Relief for Baja Anglers

The Hurricane Relief for Baja Anglers campaign ended up being just shy of their goal, but that doesn’t mean that the campaign wasn’t a success!

In fact, this crowdfunding campaign received over 200 shares on Facebook and had 69 individual donors.

One of the best things about this campaign is that it is Facebook verified. This means that the organizer is a real person (not a spammer) who used his Facebook account to create the crowdfunding page. The platform confirmed his identity, which gave donors peace of mind when they contributed.

Crowdfunding Checklist

Before you set off on your crowdfunding adventure, make sure that you take a look at this crowdfunding checklist. This is a general list of things that nearly every crowdfunding campaign needs to be successful. Your specific campaign might require other features or checkpoints that we don’t list here.

  • Financial Goal

    Every crowdfunding campaign must have a financial goal. Depending on the type of campaign you’re running, this may be easier to determine.

    For instance, if you know exactly how much money you’re going to need to cover a medical expense, you can simply list that as your goal.

    But if you’re trying to raise money for a general nonprofit cause, it might be harder to set a specific number. In this case, you should do a little research to see what similar successful crowdfunding campaigns have as their financial goals and use them as a guide.

  • End Date

    Next, you’ll need an end date for a campaign; you can’t fundraise forever!

    Research has found that the most successful crowdfunding campaigns reach their goal in about 40 days.

    Keep your external deadlines in mind when you set up your campaign. For example, if you’re raising money for an international mission trip, you’ll need to have access to your funds before you leave. Your deadline, in this instance, should be about 2-3 weeks before your trip date.

  • Photos and Videos

    Before you start fundraising, you’ll need some introductory photos or videos to demonstrate what exactly you’re raising money for.

    For example, if you’re trying to crowdfund for your puppy’s medical expenses, you could post videos and photos of him to show supporters what their money will be going toward.

    The nature of your crowdfunding campaign will dictate the types of photos and videos that you use. Just make sure that all of the media you use looks professional and demonstrates the cause or project that you’re trying to raise money for.

  • Network of Supporters

    Successful crowdfunding needs a crowd to help you meet your fundraising goal. So before you start, make sure that you have a network of supporters behind you.

    These supporters can be friends, family members, coworkers, or people with similar ideas or ties to the causes you’re raising money for.

    You should, at minimum, be friends with these supporters on a social network (preferably either Facebook or Twitter) and have their email addresses on hand. It’s easier to crowdfund online than it is to ask in-person and hope that the person remembers to donate.

  • Crowdfunding Platform

    We’ve got a whole article on picking the best platform, but we’ll discuss it briefly here.

    Having a great crowdfunding platform is essential for your fundraiser’s overall success.

    Keep costs and fees in mind as well as the usability of the platform for both you and your supporters. If a platform is difficult to use, your supporters might not want to contribute to your cause. And if it’s hard for you to navigate, it will result in frustration and added stress.

  • Acknowledgement Plan

    Once your campaign is over and you’ve (hopefully!) reached your goal, it’s time to thank all of the loyal supporters who helped you.

    How you thank your donors will largely depend on the size and type of your campaign. If you had thousands of donors, it will be hard to write individual cards for each supporter.

    But if your campaign was successful thanks to the support of a core group of donors, you should personally thank each one. And don’t forget to post a final update on your crowdfunding page that thanks everyone for their support of your campaign.

Acknowledging Donors After Your Crowdfunding Campaign

Why Acknowledgements Are Important

Crowdfunding acknowledgements are a way to say “Thank you!” to all of the supporters who helped you reach your fundraising goal. Without them, your campaign could never have been a success.

Whether they gave $10 or $1,000, every donor deserves to be genuinely thanked.

A simple thank-you or an acknowledgement on your crowdfunding page can make donors feel like their money was well spent and that whatever project or expense you’re using the money for will be a worthwhile one.

Thanking your supporters will also encourage them to give to any future crowdfunding campaigns that you might start.

Tips for Writing Crowdfunding Acknowledgements

If you do plan on writing individual cards or letters to your supporters, it’s important to keep them genuine and personal. Your donors don’t deserve boiler plate acknowledgements and cookie-cutter thank-yous.

Instead, try to reference the donor’s amount and any connection they have to your cause.

For example, if a cancer survivor donated to your general charity crowdfunding campaign for cancer research, reference that in your acknowledgement and thank that individual for contributing to the cause.

Your acknowledgements should also be sent out in a timely manner, within two weeks to a months, when possible.

Top Crowdfunding Tools

Get the top crowdfunding tool so that you can start your fundraiser.

Now that you know all about crowdfunding, it’s time to select the perfect crowdfunding platform.

There are tons of options for you to choose from. Whether you’re raising money for a general cause, or you’re trying to fundraise for a particular mission or organization, there’s probably a crowdfunding tool that can work for you!

Crowdfunding Tips

Learn crowdfunding tips to help you improve your campaign.

Even seasoned fundraisers need some help every now and then. Luckily, we’ve found the top tips you need!

From the nitty gritty of setting up a crowdfunding page to learning how to ask for donations, this article’s got you covered. There are seven tips that you can use to propel your crowdfunding campaign forward and raise more money.

Crowdfunding Statistics

Learn important crowdfunding statistics to learn how you can improve your campaign.

Did you know that the crowdfunding sites have helped people all over the world raise nearly $35 billion?

Did you also know that the crowdfunding industry is set to grow to over $300 billion in the next decade or so? These statistics (and many, many more) can be found on Fundly’s “Crowdfunding Statistics” page. Take a look!

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