Funding the Farm with a Crowd

We first wrote an article on crowdfunding a while back; explaining what it is and why it is a growing fundraising tool for grassroots organisations. In recent years more and more charities have been trying their hand at it, and whilst they’ve been having relatively good results, and many meeting their targets, last year, a small charity based on the outskirts of Melbourne set an Australian record for non-profit crowdfunding. And, we’ve had a chat with them and got some inside info that might help your small charity too!

Edgar’s Mission works to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome wherever possible, seeking to create a humane and just world for humans and animals through education, advocacy and empowerment. (We wrote about them once before in a Thank You Thursday piece.)

Their crowdfunding campaign, Raise the Roof, ran in April and May 2014 and exceeded their initial target by more than 300%!

It’s fairly safe to say they did something right. In fact, I think they did a whole lot of things right, so I spoke with their Communications Manager and all-round-everything guy, Kyle Behrend, to get some insights from him and the Edgar’s Mission team into just what they think worked best for them, and what advice they would give to other small charities. Before I get into that, have a watch of the first of their videos for theRaising the Roof appeal:

Edgar’s Mission’s initial $50,000 target was hit and exceeded in just three days. With a new target of $100,000 in place, the campaign ended with over $160,000 from 1,785 people across 14 countries.

What advice would Kyle give for choosing a crowd funding platform?

“We looked at all the different platforms and lots of them have quite high fees – some from 5%-11%. Chuffed is a non-profit organisation and they have no fees (aside from credit card fees) and they ask for an optional donation from supporters when pledging. We felt that was a great way to support another non-profit and to keep all the funds we raised. Using the chuffed website was really easy so it didn’t take too much time to upload all the information,” Kyle tells us. 

Chuffed are Australian based organisation and they were so great at supporting us throughout the campaign. We reached our target in three days and didn’t know what to do; guidance from the team at Chuffed helped us to rework our plan and make the most of this amazing situation.”

One of the promo pics from the crowd funding campaign

What are Kyle’s top tips for other small charities considering doing a crowd funding campaign?

  1. You need a crowd

    For some reason, people often think that the benefit of a crowd funding campaign is that your project will be promoted to people already on the platform’s website. Sadly, this is not the case. Kyle says, “You have to have an existing supporter base to be successful. These people don’t have to be actual donors, just supporters, as the crowd funding campaign can hopefully convert these people into donors“.

  2. Pick your project

    Kyle reminds us, “Not every project suits crowd funding“. One-off projects are best for this type of fundraising method, and often, projects that are for something that will be seen as really inspiring and appealing. Your ordinary operational costs will not fit into this category.

  3. Plan for everything

    Planning is really important. It’s critical to think about all the various aspects of your campaign including the right length of time and how you will promote it. “The first ten days and last ten days are the most exciting and active with supporters, but the days in between are challenging to keep people engaged,” Kyle recalls. Be sure to plan different posts that you will share throughout campaign, with Kyle saying to, “Plan for the option of going well, just doing okay, and not going so well.

  4. Digital is important

    The team at Edgar’s were really able to bring the farm to life though their use of video. In fact, they’ve been doing this really well for the last few years on social media and after watching the video above we are sure you agree! Kyle believe, “The power of online video is incredible!

That’s a whole lot of important and useful tips from Kyle, but for the rest of his key points about their success, including one of the most surprising benefits from running a crowd funding campaign, you’ll have to wait for our follow up post next month.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.

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