Some Thoughts on a Thanksgivukkah Crowdfunding Campaign

Crowdfunding campaigns are extremely popular with nonprofits. And as a person who donates, gives time, and works with a bunch of nonprofits, I wanted to weigh in on a crowdfunding project I recently stumbled upon.

Profile of a Cool Campaign

Click on the campaign below and come back to read the rest of this post on why I think  my client, Jewish Kids Groups (JKG), has done a good job with their project.

Why I think this is a wonderful campaign:

    1. It Capitalizes on a Key Event: Thanksgiving falls on the second day of Hanukkah this year. The convergence of these holidays won’t happen for another 76,695 years. What a rare opportunity to take advantage of a unique moment in time!  What unique or key event might be an opportunity for your organization?
    2. It Uses Humor: The campaign stirs up emotion. Compassion, empathy or righteous anger might fit your situation better than humor, but a nonprofit crowdfunding project depends on a story that elicits an emotional response. JKG’s campaign is perfectly suited for humor. The humor does two things: (a) It engages the viewer and (b) it showcases the fun and creativity fostered by JKG’s programs.

  1. It Provides Value: JKG doesn’t simply appeal to your weakness for cute, creative, and thespian-ish children, it also provides business value. The campaign leverages its web presence, its email list, and its other influence to offer marketing opportunities. Further, the offers lay out a time-bound plan and provide specifics on the potential reach.
  2. It Offers a Simple, Compelling Purpose: “JKG aims to reverse the trend of Jewish discontinuity with a breakthrough paradigm of supplemental Jewish education that is scalable and replicable.”  I’m a Gentile, but I appreciate a compelling vision. JKG has identified a problem and is committed to a solution. It’s simple, clean, and actionable. What, in the end, is the reason for your campaign?

If you’re a student of Indiegogo and other similar campaigns, you know this stuff already.  Indiegogo and its competitors have plenty of instruction on best practices for any crowdfunding campaign.

If these campaigns are new to you and if you’re constantly exploring alternative revenue producing ideas, then perhaps this is an option for you and your organization.

Fund Raising

How Can You Prepare for a  Future Crowdfunding Campaign? 

You can’t just run over to Indiegogo or Kickstarter or any number of similar sites and expect to make major dough. A successful project depends less on the internal mechanism of the crowdfunding sites (i.e. where they rank you so people will accidentally find you) and more on the the work you’ve done to build your tribe.

JKG’s results and compelling offers are and will be driven by the work they’ve already done to build an audience

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Build an Email List: Start capturing donors’ and other stakeholders email addresses now.  I’m sure you can game the system, but most results will flow from your list and the folks that those on your list know. These people are already fans.  Even if they don’t participate, they will pass on the word. JKG also used their list as a perk.
  2. Leverage Your Talents to Enhance Perks: Mine your organization for skills that can be given as perks. If you help struggling families with how to manage money, how about a perk that involves free financial coaching for certain giving levels?
  3. Build Your Social Media Presence: As with a larger email list, a social media presence also helps in two ways. First, it serves as a promotional tool (duh). Second, it serves as a ‘perk’ option in the form of promotional Tweet and Facebook mentions.
  4. Don’t Beg: Fight the urge to claim ‘nonprofit’ status as a compelling reason for someone to give to your organization. Go with the biblical adage ‘Give and it will be given to you.’  I know you give day in and day out to your clients, consumers, students, etc. But in the context of crowdfunding, it’s about giving value or at least a fun little experience in exchange for donor funds.

I’m sure all of you have actually put on a similar campaign or have researched them. You know the best practices, the pitfalls, and the benefits.

I just wanted to highlight what I, as a workaday person, experienced as a fun campaign. Hopefully you found some helpful tips!

Risk Management Tip: Please read the fine print. There are always fees involved. There are always huge expectations going in that might not get fulfilled. Be honest about your expectations and make sure to know what will be required of you before you get involved. I have a feeling there are some great successes out there along with some failures.

  • Have you tried a crowdfunding campaign? Was it successful?
  • What would you do differently next time?
  • What are pitfalls you would suggest people look out for?

Disclaimer: I’m not a crowdfunding or marketing expert. Always do your due diligence when engaging in a marketing plan or using a third party platform.


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