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Small crowdfunded contributions can have big returns

Ready to kick off an online crowdfunding campaign? Here's a simple step-by-step guide.

1. Choose a crowdfunding platform

Choose the crowdfunding site that's best for your particular cause or project. As you weigh your needs along with the strengths and weaknesses of each site, ask:

  • What forms of payment are compatible?
  • How long can campaigns last?
  • What, if any, percentage of donations does the site collect to cover costs?
  • How compatible is each platform with social media sharing?

2. Choose a funding focus

Online crowdfunding works best for concrete, specific projects. For arts groups, for example, crowdfunding can be a great way to raise money for a film, performance or gallery exhibition. For service-oriented groups, crowdfunding may be appropriate for initiatives such as buying school supplies for an underserved community or sending supplies to an area struck by a natural disaster.

3. Reach out to potential donors

Before you go public with your campaign, reach out to your warm contacts. As a general rule, raising at least 30 percent of your target before going public increases the odds of reaching your goal.

4. Consider #hashtags and mobile giving for your crowdfunding marketing

Online crowdfunding leverages the ease and convenience of social media. A strong crowdfunding campaign uses hashtags (think #bringbackourgirls) and mobile giving (text2give in the U.S. and JustTextGiving in the U.K.) to highlight campaigns and make donations easy.

5. Promote on social media

Make it easy for donors to share their support and to encourage their own social networks to click and give. Posting messages that say "I just donated!" and encouraging friends and family to do the same makes the most of the platform — and helps turn donors into fundraisers.

6. Follow-up with donors

Use social media to thank donors and to show them what their donations can do. In fact, research shows public acknowledgement may be better than membership premiums. Small contributions can have big returns when each donor's entire network is activated.

7. Crowdfunding requires constant attention

Social media moves fast, so don't let your campaign get lost in the shuffle. Keep engaging with current and potential donors. Post stories, updates, goals, profiles, thanks and milestones to help keep topics trending.



MissionBox editorial content is offered as guidance only, and is not meant, nor should it be construed as, a replacement for certified, professional expertise.




Baltimore-based writer and educator