How to Raise Money in Eight Easy Steps
If you’ve never raised money through crowdfunding before, the process can seem intimidating or overwhelming – but follow these eight easy steps, and you’ll have everything you need to launch a successful fundraiser for yourself or a loved one.
How to raise money through crowdfunding
1. Define a goal
Start by defining your goal – not just for yourself, but for your potential donors. People are more likely to give money to a cause that is clearly defined. For example, if you’re raising money for medical treatment, don’t just list the price of the treatment itself, but also mention related expenses such as lost of earnings, physiotherapy, medicine and medical equipment.
2. Set a deadline
Estimate how long it will take you to reach your fundraising goal and set a deadline. Clear timelines create a sense of urgency that makes donors respond more quickly. If your deadline is dependent on an external factor, such as another person, entity or event, make that clear to potential donors.
If you don’t have any external pressures, you should still try to set an ambitious deadline. And if you’re doing a fundraiser that’s connected to an existing national awareness fundraiser, such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, think about aligning your deadline with that timeframe.
3. Choose a platform
We’re a little biased, but when it comes to crowdfunding platforms, GoFundMe is probably going to be your best bet. Unlike other sites, we have a 0% platform fee and you can start withdrawing funds as soon as you start receiving donations. Our platform also makes it easy to raise money in person (at a fundraising event, for example) with a mobile device. Many of our most successful fundraisers combine online fundraising with all kinds of events to raise as much money as possible. To find out more about crowdfunding platform comparisons, see our post How the Top 5 Online Fundraising Sites Compare. For ideas for fundraising events, see Fundraising Ideas.
4. Tell your story
Your story needs to answer all of your readers’ basic questions: who, what, where, when, why and how. What will the funds be used for? How are you connected to the cause? How will the donations raised help you or others? When it comes to fundraising, the why is particularly important – why does the recipient need this donation?
If you come up with a strong title for your fundraiser after you’ve written your story, it will help you capture and summarise your fundraiser in one prominent line or phrase. We can’t overestimate how important the title is. Just like with a book or a film, it can draw people in or turn them away (before they know anything else).
For more tips on how to tell your crowdfunding story to raise more money, see our posts, Crowdfunding Fundraiser Story: Your Complete Guide, Great Ideas for Naming your Online Fundraiser, How Images can Lead to Fundraiser Success, and The Power of Video.
5. Use GoFundMe’s free resources
GoFundMe offers a wide range of resources to help you set up and run a successful fundraiser. To learn more about how to raise money through crowdfunding, see our fundraising tips, success stories and many other free resources, including (but definitely not limited to) the following posts: 15 Ways to Skyrocket Awareness of a Cause, Viral Fundraising, and Using Social Media to Promote your Fundraiser.
6. Ask friends and family to join your team
A little help from your friends can make fundraising easier, more fun and more effective. Make a list of friends who might be interested in helping, based on their life experience or their relationship to the beneficiaries. For example, perhaps a friend who’s passionate about the environment wants to help you raise money for a recycling event. Or maybe someone who lost a close family member to cancer could help you raise money for a cancer walk. See if you can get 3–5 friends to join your fundraising team, even if they haven’t got much free time to commit to it. You can divide up the work (for example, one person can manage updates while someone else sends out thank you notes). Having a team also dramatically boosts the reach of your fundraiser through the size of your combined social networks.
7. Start spreading the word
People often want to start sharing their fundraiser straight away, but it’s vital to lay the proper groundwork first.
Once you’ve posted your fundraising page, ask for feedback from trusted friends and family. Use any good suggestions to refine your story, images etc. Next, ask your close circle of friends and relatives (the combined close circles of the people on your team) for donations. Why? If people who know you less well see that some funds have already been raised, they will be more likely to donate to your cause.
Once your close circle has donated, share your fundraiser with everyone everywhere – including with local media. If you create a Facebook page for your fundraiser, consider paying to promote your posts if the costs will be offset by donations. Also consider approaching local businesses, perhaps asking one of them to host a fundraising event. The more visible your fundraiser is, the more donations you’ll receive. Follow up regularly with people who haven’t donated, but who you expect will.
8. Show your appreciation
Don’t overlook or underestimate the importance of this step. When people make a donation, think of it as the beginning of them caring about your cause, not the end. From this perspective, your thank you note is just the beginning of an on-going relationship with the donor in question, so that they keep on being part of the story. Simple, personal thank you letters are an easy way to show your appreciation and strengthen relationships with donors. For more ideas, see 20 Affordable Ways to Thank Donors.
Putting it all together
Raising money means asking for help. When you do this right, it can become less of a plea and more of a transformative experience for everyone involved. The wonderful thing about fundraising is that it is basically the act of people coming together to reach a common goal. With these steps for how to raise money and the other resources we’ve provided, your crowdfunding fundraiser will be well on its way. Start your fundraiser today.