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 – if done the right way – can go viral
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 a great way to make an 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.
Wait… How does crowdfunding work?
If you get enough people to back your campaign in the limited timeframe you have to raise 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.
We outline tips from leading crowdfund sites in SA, Thundafund and Jumpstarter, on how to get started
1 Know your #GOALS
Ask yourself why you’re starting this campaign, and take it from there. How much will it cost to achieve the project you’re crowdfunding for? Do some research and find estimates to determine exactly how much cash you need to get your initiative started.
Include the cost of your rewards for the supporters, as well as any courier or postage costs involved to make sure everyone gets their prize.
Thundafund reports that statistical analysis on US-based crowdfunding sites Kickstarter and RocketHub revealed that you can spot the patterns in successful crowdfunding campaigns. The research found that:
- 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 advises you 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
Your goal may be R50 000 but just remember, you only have a certain number 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. Crowdfunding sites suggest between 30 to 45 days for a project length, but 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 shorter have the highest success rates.
Don’t forget to reward your supporters for all their help – you wouldn’t have a crowdfund to speak of without your crowd, right?
Thundafund’s number-one rule for deciding on a reward? Don’t be stingy and 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.’
Your reward can be a wide range of things, including items created by the project itself – for example, offering 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 – anything that gets your audience excited to be a part of your initiative.
Obviously, no seedy or sordid rewards are up for grabs, including weapons, pornography, any products related to racism, sexism, homophobia, hate speech, etc.
How do your dedicated supporters get their rewards if you meet your target? Thundafund offers database information that logs backers that want to receive a reward. You get an e-mail notifying you of the backer’s contact details – if you hit your mark, you receive a database which includes supporters’ delivery addresses so you can organise to get them their prizes.
Some crowfund inspo from successful campaigns
1 Lindiwe Suttle
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 for his medical bills.
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 of ‘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 Dianne Bayley
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, but she also 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.’
The campaign raised more than R10 000 with BackaBuddy and supporters from all over the world donated towards building a wooden Wendy house.
Need some top tips?
1 Tell people about your project
Include a short description of what your initiative is about, 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 elements to your campaign to make it stand out
Include pictures, videos and creative layout, and be innovative with your profile so it grabs your audience’s attention.
3 Tell people who you are
Write up a bio and share some key points about yourself and why you’re starting your campaign, plus some of your interests relevant to the initiative.
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
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,’ suggests Jumpstarter. ‘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?’
A guideline for what you need before you apply for a crowdfunding campaign can be found here.
Go forth and prosper with your crowdfunding campaign, bbz! ?
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