If you are trying to raise money for anything, whether it be a startup business, a film, pay medical bills, or a charitable cause, then you need to understand the power of crowd funding.
I’ve always loved fundraising. Many years ago, I fundraised $350,000 for kids in the foster care system to help them find permanent loving homes. But things have changed a lot in the world of fundraising since then. The power of fundraising has shifted online. And if you aren’t using this incredibly effective platform, then you are missing out.
I first heard the term, crowd funding a few years ago when I was building my own software product. A friend suggested I use KickStarter to help get Actionplanr off the ground because my burn rate at the time was moving at a fast clip. I looked into it and submitted my information, but was declined because back then they did not support high-tech startups.
Fast-forward to today and a slew of crowd funding platforms have popped up everywhere, for everything imaginable, and it is not just the early adopters using them.
Simply put, crowd funding is just another term for fundraising online. It’s using the power of the Internet and the online crowds to fund a good cause, a project, an idea, or even a politician. The crowd funding platform business model takes a certain percentage from the funds raised. There are many different types of crowd funding platforms. Some specialize in the high-tech space, while others specialize in creative fields like film and music.
Rally.org is the crowd funding platform we are using to help Matt Fahey pay for his cancer treatment medical bills. Matt is a family relative and also an award-winning (Emmy) cameraman for the popular reality TV show, Deadliest Catch. You can read all about Matt’s story along with updates (he’s documenting his entire cancer experience) at DumbAssCancer.org.
With the initial overwhelming success of DumbAssCancer.org (our goal is to raise 65K), I thought I’d share what I’ve learned so far in the world of online fundraising. So here are 8 crowd funding tips I’ve come up with based on my experience over the last 30 days.
We researched twenty-two different platforms and we found feel rally.org was the best in cost and quality combination.
- Cost: Rally charges 5.75% (others charge 7-7.9%) fund raised (normal credit processing fees are around 3%( more money ends up your causes hands. This fee provides secure credit card/bank transactions, a dedicated rally page that never expires, unlimited fan fundraising pages, social networking tools, phone and email customer support, and more.
- Quick and easy to get your fundraiser launched
- Attractive look and feel
- Flexible: You can use it to fund anything (making movies, build playground, helping pay medicial bills, fund college, product development, political campaign and more
8 Steps On How To Raise Money Online
Matt has colon cancer and he is handling it with humor and grace. So DumbAssCancer.org seemed appropriate. We tried buying the domain name, DumbAssCancer.com but it was already taken and since it was charitable cause .org is more appropriate.
Step 2: Keep it simple and learn from good examples.
Launch a simple website using WordPress. It took us about a day to build the initial DumbAssCancer.org website. We posted photos of Matt, shared his story, and asked people to contribute.
Rally.org had a story about Devin’s Drive at rally.org/devinsdrive and we used his story for inspiration. Feel free to use Matt’s story at rally.org/dumbasscancer and dumbasscancer.org to get ideas. You don’t have to have a website to get started, you can launch by just having a rally.
Rally Page for Dumb Ass Cancer
DumbAssCancer.org Home Page
Step 3: Spread the word.
Once the site was built, we emailed it to family, friends and colleagues and shared it using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Our family and friends helped spread the word and soon after, Matt’s friends and fans began storming the Rally.org site with donations.
Step 4: Have a genuine and authentic story.
When we initially launched DumbAssCancer.org, Matt was in Alaska filming. By the time he arrived back to his hometown, word had spread over the Internet like wildfire. He was incredibly moved by all the support. This is the genuine and authentic letter he wrote in response to all his supporters.
Step 5: Engage your supporters by posting and updating often.
People become your supporters because they want to see you succeed. They want to feel like they are making a difference and are a part of your success. Make sure you thank and keep them posted as the journey unfolds. Matt is documenting his entire experience he calls cancerland and updates his supporters of the process. In addition, we update the site with special events, most recent contributions and prized items we are auctioning off. Initially we posted daily at our rally.org/dumbasscaner.org which would then be emailed to all supporters, posted on Facebook and tweet on Twitter. After about 2 weeks we slowed down to a couple times a week when we had news to share.
Step 6: Capitalize on the momentum.
As DumbAssCancer.org’s supporters and funds began to grow, it caught the attention of the team at Rally.org. And like any good win-win opportunists, they contacted us to talk about ways to help spread Matt’s story to a wider audience. It worked because Matt will be sharing his story as it unfolds at The Huffington Post.
Step 7: Host an online auction over a certain time period.
Cindy Harmer, big fan of The Deadliest Catch donated an autographed cap from the crew of the boat, Cornelia Marie. The cap went to the highest bidder for $2,000. The winner will pay by making a donation through our Rally.org/DumbAssCancer site. Thank you Cindy!
See full example at dumbasscancer.org/signed-deadliest-catch-cap-auction/
Step 8: Merge the online with the offline world.
Host an offline fundraising event and promote online. On February 17th, Matt’s friends are hosting Ass Aid 2013, an auction with live music, comedy, slideshow, and stories where it will be live streamed. Supporters who can’t be there will be able to view the event over the Internet.
See full example at dumbasscancer.org/ass-aid-2013/
A step-by-step action plan for crowd funding.
If you are just getting started with crowd funding and you want to learn more, you can grab a step-by-step crowd funding action plan template right here at Actionplanr with links to more valuable resources. Actionplanr has the “cheat sheet” on crowd funding so that you don’t have to start from scratch.
To use this template load Actionplanr and then click on the Templates button. Look for “Raise Money Online to Pay Medical Biils’ under the community section and follow instructions.
As always, you can customize all templates to fit your needs.
If you don’t have Actionplanr yet you can go to actionplanr.com/installer and install the free trail and then follow the above steps.
There you have it. Those are my 8 tips on crowd funding. Do you have a crowd funding tip to share? I’d love to hear about it on the comments below.