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How to Turn Your Cause into a Crowdfunding Campaign!

Kick-start that campaign!

Sites like GoFundMe, BackaBuddy, GivenGain and more are changing the face of funding. Crowdfunding lets you contribute to a cause or start a venture without having to meet strict criteria for funding through banks or sourcing sponsors.

YOUR campaign – done right – can go viral

Now contributing to a cause or being the change you want to see is as easy as clicking a link without the barriers that go with traditional charity. Crowdfunding is all about community and a great way to make impact on something you’re really passionate about.

Anyone can use crowdfunding as a way to access support from whomever wants to give it. Your campaign – if done the right way – can go viral because it’s reaching a wide range of like-minded people. If you’re struggling to bring your cause to the fore, there are a few options crowdfunding offers.

How does crowdfunding work?

If you get enough people to back your campaign in the limited time frame you have to raise the funds, you pay it forward and offer a reward. If you don’t reach your set target in that time, fundraisers get their money back.

So the question is, how can you get started with raising funds for a good cause? Anybody can do it – all you need is a kick-ass digital campaign to get people hyped about your cause.

How to start a crowdfund

We outline tips from leading crowdfund sites in South Africa, Thundafund and Jumpstarter, on how to get started.

1 Know your #GOALS

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Ask yourself why you’re starting this campaign, what your goal is and how much it will cost to achieve the objective you’re crowdfunding for. Do some research to make estimates to determine exactly how much cash you need to get your initiative started.

Include the cost of your rewards for the supporters and any courier or postage costs involved to make sure everyone gets their prize.

Thundafund reports that a statistical analysis on US-based crowdfunding sites Kickstarter and RocketHub revealed the patterns in successful crowdfunding campaigns. The research found that:

  • The most popular contribution to a project is R100.
  • The average contribution to a project is R300.
  • To raise R1 000, you would need 10 people to give the average R100 contribution.
  • To raise R5 000, you would need 50 people.

Thundafund cautions to be realistic before jumping into a campaign: ‘Think about how many people you feel you can realistically get to give to your project given your current network of supporters, and use this to determine a sensible fundraising target.’

2 Set your time limit

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Your goal may be R50 000 but remember, you only have a certain amount of days to raise the money and meet the target – or you have to start from scratch.

Thundafund suggests you think about when exactly you need the money for your initiative, what the deadlines are looking like to get started, and then when the best time would be to have the money sorted.

Crowdfunding sites suggests between 30 and 45 days as a project length, but notes that it’s not about finding an ‘ideal’ length to run your campaign – it’s more about how long you can realistically launch a project, sustain it, and make sure you reach your target in the end.

Jumpstarter says statistically, projects lasting 30 days or less have their highest success rates.

3 Incentivise!

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Don’t forget to reward your supporters for all of their help – you wouldn’t have a crowdfund without your crowd, right?

Thundafunda’s number-one rule for deciding on a reward? Don’t be stingy – skimp out on a good reward if you can offer one. The site suggests starting at entry-level rewards that can set you back between R50 and R500.

According to Thundafund, this is the reward level that has the most popular response in terms of worth. ‘It’s also great to “crowdsource” your rewards and see what friends and family would buy and at what price first.’

Your reward can be a wide range of things, including – but not limited to – items created by the project itself. For example: a jar of organic honey from an ethical beekeeper if you’re campaigning to #SaveTheBees. You can give away tickets, make branded giveaway packs, offer vouchers, and anything else that will get your audience excited to be a part of your initiative.

Obviously, no seedy or sordid rewards can be given, like weapons, pornography or any products related to racism, sexism, homophobia, hate speech, etc.

Crowfund inspo from successful campaigns

1 Thabang Mosiako

Thabang Mosiako, a star athlete and student at the University of the Free State, was brutally attacked in what was called a racially motivated assault. Mosiako was left with severe head injuries and it remains to be seen if he’ll get the chance to compete again, but singer Lindiwe Suttle started a GoFundMe page to raise funds towards his medical bills.

Donate here.

2 The Foxy Five

Jabu Nadia Newman’s successful web-series Foxy Five TV starred black femme-fatales with a ’70s aesthetic and fierce intersectional politics. The production around making Foxy Five was made possible largely through crowdfunding that went towards production costs. Newman and her team managed to raise more than R35 000 on ThundaFund to produce the next episodes in the series.

3 Olivia Mokete

Olivia Mokete is the woman who was assaulted by a former ANC member after being mistaken for a Black First Land First protestor in a confrontation outside Luthuli House this year. The assault sparked outrage and the attention of Dianne Bayley, a woman from Johannesburg who started a crowdfunding site to help Mokete get a home of her own and out of the informal settlement in Orange Farm where she currently lives.

‘When I saw the picture of her [Mokete] standing outside her tin shack in Orange Farm, my heart broke. Not only had Olivia experienced a terrible [ordeal] and was in pain, she went home to a shack that doesn’t even have a bed in it,’ Bayley told News24. ‘She had several pieces of corrugated iron cobbled together to form a shelter,’ she said.

The campaign raised over R10 000 with BackaBuddy and supporters from all over the world donated towards building a wooden Wendy home.

Top tips

1 Tell people about your project

Include a short and sweet description on what your initiative is, why it’s in the public interest to get on board, and how it’s going to make an impact in both the backers’ lives and potentially your community/society/the world.

2 Add multimedia to your campaign to make it stand out

Include pictures, video and a creative layout, and be innovative with your profile so it grabs your audience’s attention.

3 Tell people who you are

Write a bio and share some key points about yourself and why you’re starting your campaign. Your bio is a great opportunity to share more about you. Why are you the one to take on this project? What prior work can you share via links? This is key to earning your backers’ trust.

4 Update your campaign

Make sure it’s updated regularly so you can attract new visitors interested in your project and get your campaign at the top of the list. ‘Make them believe that, by supporting you, they are making a difference in the world and their own lives!’

5 Give a kick-ass headline

Make your project unforgettable with a memorable title that’s punchy, simple and easily searchable online.

‘Avoid words like “help”, “support” or “fund”. They imply that you’re asking someone to do you a favour rather than offering an experience they’re going to love.’

‘It’s the best place to quickly communicate to your audience what your project is about. Stay focused and be clear on what your project hopes to accomplish. If you had to describe your project in one tweet, how would you do it?’ suggests Jumpstarters.

Here’s a guideline on what you need before you apply for a crowdfunding campaign.

Go forth and prosper with your crowdfunding campaign, bbz! 💖

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