Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or satisfying a need in your organisation by raising money from a large number of people who each contribute a relatively small amount to your cause. It is a non-traditional fundraising model that doesn’t rely on big corporate sponsorships or big government bailouts.
Crowdfunding is growing rapidly in South Africa, giving non-profit organisations an opportunity to diversify their income through harnessing the collective power of the crowd. A report conducted by the University of Cambridge estimated total crowdfunding activity in Africa to reach over R1.7 Billion in 2018, by 2025, this figure is expected to reach over R30 Billion by 2025.
Although over R59.71 million has been raised on BackaBuddy for various causes, a few of their most successful charities, The Smile Foundation and Rainbows and Smiles for example, will tell you that crowdfunding is not for the faint-hearted. If you understand that crowdfunding requires a lot of effort, mining of your networks and isn’t a quick fix for your organisation, then you’re in the right mindset for a successful campaign!
Consider the following before setting up a crowdfunding campaign:
1. Do you have the resources to run a crowdfunding campaign?
2. Do you have realistic expectations?
3. Can you identify a tangible need in your organisation?
4. Do you have access to a crowd?
5. Do you have a driver for the campaign?
If you feel confident in the above: Read more below.
1. Do you have the resources?
For a successful crowdfunding campaign you need access to a couple practical tools such as a Computer or Smartphone with an Internet connection. If you are unable to connect and engage with potential donors, it will be difficult to secure funding online.
Do you have social capital? Have you created social media accounts for your organisation? Do you have a mailing list or database of your supporters?
Do you have shareable content to empower your campaign? Previous success stories or testimonials from past projects in the form of videos, photos, articles etc will bring credibility to your campaign.
2. Managing your Crowdfunding expectations
Are you crowdfunding for a quick/large cash injection to save your organization or do you need to secure funding for a certain need within your organization?
Although crowdfunding can be rewarding, success does not come easy to those who expect a 6 figure cash injection in a short space of time, particularly if they are just starting out.
The likelihood of reaching your target shortly after you go “live” is rare. Crowdfunding campaigns usually follow a “bell curve” – receiving larger, more frequent donations at the beginning and end of a project. An experienced crowdfunder will develop different marketing angles throughout the campaign to avoid the “dip”, but more on that later!
If you understand that crowdfunding is a process that requires the correct marketing message, an achievable target, significant mining of your established networks and isn’t a ‘quick fix’, then you have realistic expectations!
3. Identifying a tangible need in your organisation.
Simply put, WHAT are you crowdfunding for and WHY.
Crowdfunding is the most effective, when you focus on a specific, measurable and timeousneed that exists in your organisation. Sit with your fundraising team and your finance department to identify specific needs that are “tangible” and easy to relate to the public.
This step is imperative in determining how successful your campaign will be, generic or umbrella phrases should be avoided. Your donor wants to know exactly where their contribution is going to in order to connect with your cause
What doesn’t work:“The funds will be used for social upliftment”
What works: “The funds will be used to build a free-clinic in Mitchells plain that will support a community of 200 people
What doesn’t work:“To help children reach their potential”
What does work: “It costs R30 000 to put one child through a coding course, we hope to put 5 children in through this course at Buddy Coding School in Blouberg by 2018.
What doesn’t work:“For awareness”
What does work: “We plan to visit 10 Government schools to educate students about Gun safety”
As a non-profit, you most likely have a number of important needs in your organisation, for the purpose of crowdfunding, it is better to tackle one need at a time
You might need 5 new vehicles for your organisation amounting to R500 000, which might discourage the average donor, but if you crowdfund for 1 vehicle amounting to R100 000, your campaign seems a lot more achievable. Take a look at the Sandton SPCA’s campaign for a new vehicle here
4.Do you have a crowd?
Crowdfunding can be a great way to diversify your fundraising strategy, build your donor database and engage with your donors on a more personal level.
Where are my networks?
- Your existing Donor Database
- Your Social Media followers. (Facebook;Linkedin;Twitter;Instagram)
- Your website subscribers.
- Past & Present Volunteers/Interns.
- Through The Media. (Your local Radio Station/Newspaper)
- Public Figure interested in your cause.
- Your family & Friends
5. Who will drive the campaign?
A successful crowdfunding campaign, can’t be done alone. You do however need one person in your organisation to coordinate the crowdfunding activities.
Sit down with your team and determine who will be responsible for the following elements:
- Setting up the campaign.
- Creating interesting content.
- Tapping your network.
- Driving the social media element
- Handling press interviews.
- Communicating the success of the campaign.
… so do you think you have what it takes to run a successful campaign?
Register your charity on BackaBuddy, our trusted crowdfunding partner here
Once your Charity Crowdfunding profile has been set up on BackaBuddy, you can start putting together your project!
If you have 5 minutes, watch as Catherine Du Plooy, COO at BackaBuddy explains the nature of crowdfunding in South Africa here
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org