How can NGOs participate in Crowdfunding?

Dr Saumya Arora About Dr Saumya Arora

Dr. Saumya Arora is a development professional with cross-disciplinary experience in project management, resource mobilization, donor relationship management, community mobilization and project execution at the field level. She is currently working towards building fundraising and resource mobilization capacity of community-based organizations, apart from developing functional linkages with donors across the world.

As the name suggests, crowdfunding is a way of raising funds (funding) from a large number of donors (crowd) by mediums like internet, social media and mobile phones. Lot of social enterprises, start-ups, and even nonprofits are successfully raising funds by doing crowdfunding campaigns. How NGOs can make their crowdfunding plan and how to actually implement it, here is a short and simple guide about the process and steps to plan one:

  1. Planning the campaign: Every successful activity has undergone meticulous planning first. So plan your campaign well in advance to make it successful. Plan the campaign timing, duration, and other details. Plan for human resource, which would mean both picking a team with suitable and enthusiastic people from your organization, and involving volunteers also. One can really say that in case of crowdfunding effort, ‘the more the merrier’ is indeed true.
  2. Deciding a theme: Pick a theme that resonates well with your mission, vision and the core objective of your nonprofit. The theme has to be well-timed, catchy and appealing to the donors. For example, if children’s day is near, an organization working on child rights can tap the potential the opportunity holds, as it will be well-timed and lot of content will be already floating around social media and internet so it will also save some effort to make your cause known.
  3. Mapping and tapping your network: Your network is your most valuable asset when you are planning a crowdfunding campaign. Map your network, and classify it. Be it individual or corporate or another nonprofit, map it all, and classify in terms of who will be your advocate or ambassador of your cause, who can just spread the word, and who can actually donate and make others donate. Tapping your network is the key to success if any crowdfunding campaign.
  4. Work on communication: Prepare the communication material for every group in a targeted and focused manner. Decide on timelines to utilize this content and platforms where this would go (emails, telephonic conversations, face-to-face, social media, website….and so on).
  5. Starting the campaign: Once you are ready with the planning and network had been listed and contacted, all the communication content is ready, it is time to set the ball rolling. Make sure you have a start date and an end date, you have planned how much you want to raise, you have listed who all will be contacted, with what frequency and communication tones, and what platforms you will use to spread the word.
  6. Accelerating your efforts: Make sure you utilize all the communication platforms available to you, like website, any specific web-pages, social media like facebook page, twitter handle, even instagram or snapchat if you may! Prepare a social media calendar and do the content according to the suitability of the platform. Keep your well-wishers posted about the cause, efforts you are making, how they are doing in making you get closer to your goal, how much farther you wish to go. Keep the communications going during the campaign, and even after it? But keep in mind, you have to balance the communication content and frequency, to make sure the message goes across, while not over-advertising it.
  7. Post-campaign: After the campaign, you will get a picture of how well your effort went. Now sit with the entire team, introspect, brainstorm, and draw conclusions about what went well, and what went wrong. Be assured that the lessons learnt were worth the effort, even if you did not reach your target, but make it a point to note and not repeat the mistakes when you do such a campaign again in future. All the best!

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