How to Start a Fundraiser Online in 6 Simple Steps

/ no-code hacks / 8 min read
Farzad Rashidi

The best thing about fundraising is that anyone can do it.

However, in order to make the most of it, you have to take the best route to create and promote your fundraising campaign. This includes defining clear goals, using the best fundraising platforms, using the right strategies and promoting your campaign through the best channels.

While this may seem like an overwhelming amount of factors to account for, we've created a simple 6-step plan to ensure that your next campaign will be a success.

Let’s get right into it.

Step 1: Define Your Fundraising Goals

Before you kick off your campaigns, you'll need to define your fundraising goals.

This will allow you to come up with fundraising ideas that align perfectly with your fundraising goals.

Some of the most important fundraising goals you should be thinking about are the following:

  1. Raise a specific amount of money
  2. Secure new donors and recruit supporters that will help you reach your goals
  3. Create and expand fundraiser awareness
Defining your goals like the ones listed above will help you stay on track for what your fundraising is really about and where you want to take it.

Below, you can see how the first goal in relation to raising funds has been defined and set for a current Kickstarter fundraising campaign.

Image Source: Kickstarter

Additionally, what your goals might be will depend on the nature of your fundraiser. Is it a personal fundraiser or a fundraiser for a local business? Always remember that your goals are affected by:

  • The industry you're in and/or
  • The product you're aiming to launch.

The image below comes from another current Kickstarter fundraising campaign and it’s a great example of how a company is fulfilling the third goal mentioned above.

Image Source: Kickstarter

The company’s fundraising activities, such as the video interview depicted above, are a great way to give potential supporters the opportunity to get to know the project better, thus making it more likely for them to engage with it and support it.

When discussing fundraising goals, it's helpful to focus on financial goals as well as goals in terms of the numbers of supporters that you want to reach. It’s absolutely necessary for you to know and understand the nature and specificity of your monetary goals before you start to raise funds.

Having a clear idea of your financial goals and target audience from the beginning will give a good definition of a rather big part of your fundraising activity and strategy.

In other words, knowing this and setting up your fundraiser goals accordingly will form the basis of your online fundraiser. Ultimately, it will help you gain confidence in your future steps in terms of your fundraising efforts.

When it comes to monetary goals, it’s extremely important that you try to set as realistic a goal as possible. You don’t want to start big and be unrealistic in terms of your financial goals.

Step 2: Choose Your Online Fundraising Platform

When starting your fundraising activity, few steps are as important as choosing the online fundraising platform that will host your fundraising campaign.

To help you make this decision, we've compiled a list of the most prominent fundraising online platforms.

1. Kickstarter

Image Source: Kickstarter

Insights:

  • Great for creative projects related to the arts
  • Funding is all or nothing so you have to be accurate when setting your goals. If you fail to reach your monetary goal, you get nothing.

Kickstarter is a platform that supports creative projects where the creators of the projects are entirely responsible for creating the fundraiser, setting the project's monetary goals, and deadlines.

2. GoFundMe

Image Source: GoFundMe

Insights:

  • The platform is free to use for many fundraising campaigns
  • Can be difficult to find an audience outside your personal network.

Well-known crowdfunding platform GoFundMe is designed for individuals and personal fundraising pages. The platform doesn’t necessarily focus on creative projects.

3. Indiegogo

Image Source: Indiegogo

Insights:

  • You keep all funds even in the unfortunate case your campaign doesn’t meet your initial objectives.
  • Not as well known as other fundraising platforms, so has less of an established community

Indiegogo is quite a special platform that hosts a number of diverse fundraising campaigns. It’s an international crowdfunding site where imagination in terms of the projects’ topics is promoted.

4. Fundly

Image Source: Fundly

Insights:

  • The user interface is excellent and makes it simple to get a campaign up and running
  • Doesn't have fraud protection

Fundly is one of the best fundraising sites when it comes to non-profit organizations fundraising, charities, and schools whilst being a good choice for a personal fundraising page as well.

5. Paperform

Another great choice for hosting a fundraiser online is Paperform. With the ability to fully customize forms, including for taking donations, Paperform can be a great choice for fundraising. Paperform’s easy-to-use form builder is a great option for taking payments, getting donor information and more.

You can create your landing form from scratch or use one of the available templates.

Step 3: Define Your Fundraising Strategy

Next, you'll need to define your fundraising strategy.

In other words, you'll need to answer some basic questions in relation to your fundraiser that will help you set your fundraising strategy, in the same way you defined your fundraising goals as we discussed earlier.

Here are some of the steps a fundraising strategy should involve:

  1. Appoint a fundraising coordinator.
  2. Set your parameters and outline your goals.
  3. Identify the methods that you’re going to use to raise money. To clarify, one of the first questions that you might find useful to answer in relation to defining your fundraising strategy is how are you going to raise money?

That may seem like a simple question, but the answer to this is basically the basis of your entire fundraising strategy.

  1. Identify the online fundraising platform that’s the most appropriate for your needs.
  2. After you’ve chosen the online fundraising platform that you’re going to use, you might also want to think about how you’re going to leverage this platform.

Put another way, what other channels and content formats are you going to use to promote your idea?

  1. Monitor the situation and make sure that all your fundraising efforts are working according to plan. If you notice that something isn’t right, try to understand why and then make it work.
  2. Give back to all your donors and supporters and say thanks. We will elaborate more on this point later in this post.

The specialities of today’s world and the focus on digital means and activities indicates that a rather big part of your strategy is going to be happening online.

Given current situations like the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s better for business fundraisers as well as fundraisers for personal causes to use digital means.

Based on this, you need to come up with a fundraising strategy that will mostly involve online fundraising activities. This fundraiser project plan template is a great way to plan out your fundraising event and ensure everything goes smoothly.

Image Source: Visme

Below, you can see how some online fundraising events are presented.

Image Source: Visme

Now let’s focus on the look of the content that you publish online in relation to your fundraising campaign in the next step.

Step 4: Promote Your Fundraising Campaign

This step is about promoting your fundraising campaign and it’s a crucial part of your fundraising activity. You want your fundraiser to get noticed and be set for success.

For that reason, make sure that you’re using as many channels and online platforms to promote your fundraiser as possible.

For example, you might want to use social media ads and content to promote your fundraiser. Another idea might be to use email marketing services thus promoting your fundraiser through email and reaching out to people that would be interested in your idea.

You might also consider creating and distributing press releases to get the word out even more. In general, when it comes to promoting your fundraising campaign, it’s important that you get creative wherever possible.

Think about your ideal audience. What do they like? What websites do they frequent? As with any content that gets posted on social media and other online platforms, you should try to make it as compelling, well-made, and beautiful as possible. Look at the most funded projects on Kickstarter for inspiration.

Step 5: Give Back To Your Supporters & Donors

Giving back to your supporters and donors is essential. While a certain amount of motivation comes from the act of giving, the most successful fundraising campaigns offer some kind of reward to people who contribute.

Pebble Time smartwatches are a great example. This project is the most funded in the history of Kickstarter, accumulating more than $20 million. Part of their success was formed because they provided backers with exclusive offers and promotions based on the amount they pledged.

These rewards ranged from extra accessories and free engraving to extra products on top of the initial purchase. This shows that you appreciate your customers and value their contribution, while also encouraging further donations. It's a win-win.

Step 6: Deliver On Your Promises

This last step mostly applies to companies and non-profit organizations that go into crowdfunding in order to achieve some financial goals and bring to life their business projects.

At all times, you should remember that you’ve started your fundraising efforts for a specific reason; the fact that you’ve managed to raise funds gives you the opportunity to make your ideas come to life. Deliver on your promises.

You owe this to yourself. To your team. To your backers; and the people that believed in your idea, and pledged their hard-earned money on it.

Additionally, this will give you the opportunity to create a strong community that believes in your products and/or services, therefore making it possible for the community to engage with you online.

Wrapping Up

In this post, we’ve broken down how you can start an online fundraiser in six simple steps.

You shouldn’t forget the importance of choosing the best and most appropriate online fundraising platform that will help you cover your needs, achieve your goals, and reach your financial targets.

Additionally, the promotion of your fundraising campaign should be a step that you pay attention to.

Last but not least, give back to your supporters because that will make your fundraiser successful, and don’t forget to deliver on your promises and build what you’ve promised.

Be effective and creative with your campaign - you can make it happen. Good luck.


About the author
Farzad Rashidi
Farzad Rashidi is the co-founder of Respona, and he also runs the marketing efforts at Visme, where he helped the company gain over 5 million users and pass 1.5M monthly organic traffic.

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