Crowdfunding campaigns over the internet have enabled countless individuals, teams, groups, and small companies to raise the funds that they need to make their dreams and hopes come true.
Campaigns include nearly everything from cryptocurrencies such as Filecoin and the first fully solar car, to generating enough money for an important social cause or charity. However, it’s not all success stories and, as it happens, the list of online fundraisers that fail every year is much longer.
There are several reasons as to why a crowdfunding campaign may fail online, but the most common reason by far is the inability to find, target and reach their target audience. In other words, it’s a simple case of poor, if not completely non-existent, digital marketing. The whole crowdfunding concept is based on the idea of finding people who are or might be interested in seeing your idea/cause come to fruition. It’s also based on the fact that at least a good percentage of those people will also be willing to financially invest in your idea. Since identifying, targeting, and converting leads is a huge part of what digital marketing is all about, let’s get started on how to market an online fundraiser campaign successfully.
The Core Aspects
There are several aspects to marketing any online fundraiser and depending on what it is that you are looking to use those funds for, the tactics will need to adapt accordingly. Nevertheless, the following few are going to be critical and constant aspects of marketing any fundraiser campaign online.
- Concept: The vision or cause behind your fundraiser
- Platform: The online platform/site which you will be using to create the fundraiser
- Social media: No digital marketing campaign can afford to skip the social media these days
- Email: When done right, email marketing still has a very high rate of conversion
- Content: Any and all written, audio and video content which would be used to get your message across to the target audience
Next, we will be elaborating more on each of these core aspects to help you successfully market your online fundraiser.
There is very little to suggest here because most people think about unique fundraising ideas when they already have a vision or cause. Nevertheless, it is still important that you take note of one critical fact: even if your vision is grand, people will only be able to see what you show them. To succeed with a fundraiser, you must be able to communicate your vision or cause to people with perfect clarity. This is part of what a marketing team does as they create content to share your vision with others in seamless clarity.
Choose a platform with minimal fees, built-in support for marketing tools, and a clean, easy-to-use UI. In that regard, Givebutter is a truly unique fundraising platform compared to any other. Their fees are not just low, but completely non-existent since they are the world’s first and only free end-to-end fundraising platform for both online and offline campaigns. In fact, if you take a look at this short list of unique fundraising ideas on their blog, you will notice that Givebutter focuses on offline fundraisers just as much as they do on online crowdfunding projects.
Social media is a vast term nowadays and so much bigger than just Facebook, but Facebook is still one of the most important social media platforms till date. Which social media platform should be your primary platform of focus for marketing the fundraiser depends more on the nature of the project itself. For example, if you are looking to raise awareness about a lack of proper medical equipment and supplies in your small rural town’s primary healthcare facility, you may find several of Facebook’s Groups & Communities marketing tools to be highly suited to your requirements.
Also, it is better to focus your resources on one or two social media sites while marketing a fundraiser, than to thin them out over several platforms at once. This is an important consideration and a major difference between regular business marketing and marketing a fundraiser campaign. While both of them are targeted marketing campaigns, marketing a finished product/service is not the same as marketing an idea, vision, or cause. Among other things, a small budget is one of the biggest obstacles to manage here.
Influencer marketing is a new social media trend which can vastly work in favor of your fundraiser’s popularity, without costing anything. For example, several major, minor and micro influencers across Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, and YouTube are often interested in promoting a good cause without charge. They may do so to improve/change their image, or simply because they believe in it. What you should be more concerned with is finding the social media influencers who are preferably:
- Big enough to matter or at least have a decent following that consists of your target audience
- Relatable to the fundraiser’s cause in some way
- Interested in promoting the idea/vision for free/minimum charge
- Interested enough to contribute themselves
When you stand to gain more by targeting businesses than individuals, email marketing is going to work better than standard social media marketing. As stated before, it varies in accordance with the nature of the project than anything else. If corporate clients are on your mind, then getting the attention of relevant companies could be best achieved via well planned email marketing campaigns.
Not that targeted emails don’t work when you are marketing your fundraiser to individuals, but you will need to be selective about your email list, frequency, and relevance. Someone concerned with the environment may not be interested in your email about a ground-breaking new smartwatch, so adding them to the list would be wasteful. Curating the list requires investing in quality software, which will increase your marketing expenses significantly. As corporate investors are likely to invest a lot more than the average customers, such expenses are cost-effective while marketing a fundraiser to corporate parties.
Finally, we need to discuss the content which you or your marketer will be creating to promote the fundraiser. Since content is a part of nearly every aspect of your marketing efforts, it is important to explain what it is at its core. All audio, video, graphic, and written content serve one core function, which is to communicate your messages to your audience. It is up to the creator to decide how each of those messages will be delivered and via which medium.
As things stand today, marketing content does not need to rely on any one or two of the content delivery mediums to communicate with their potential investors/pledgers/subscribers. Watch this simple whiteboard video to learn how even a budget video production with vocal instructions and handwritten captions can simultaneously harness the power of audio, video, picture, and text in less than two to three minutes.
If you choose the proper platform for launching your crowdfunding campaign, you will find that they are themselves interconnected with several digital marketing tools and social media platforms to make the job of identifying and targeting potential investors/pledgers much easier. Keep an eye on how much they are charging for marketing your campaign though, in addition to percentage cuts.
If you work with a fundraiser platform that does not charge money for any of that, you should be able to channel those saved funds and market your fundraiser via other mediums with a bigger budget.