More Funding the Farm with a Crowd

Last month in our blog post we gave you lots of crowd funding hints and tips from Kyle Behrend at Edgar’s Mission following their VERY successful Raising the Roof campaign last year.

Do you need a big team of fundraisers to be successful?
For a fundraising campaign to have raised as much money as Edgar’s Mission (over $160,000 in case you can’t remember!) did with Raising the Roof, most people would think it took a big team and a lot of people, right? Not in this case according to Kyle. The team at Edgar’s Mission consists of eight people, most of whom are actually out working on the farm and with the animals, so it certainly isn’t a big team. There are more animals at Edgar’s staff!

One of the promo pics of the campaign

One of the promo pics of the campaign

It’s ironic that one of Kyle’s top tips for successful crowd funding was about planning when the Raising the Roof campaign was all a bit last minute and they really only had a few weeks’ lead time. Chuffed (their chosen crowd funding platform) had suggested they have a pre-planning meeting with some key volunteers and donors which they did. This was really helpful and beneficial to the campaign, Kyle recalls. “It was through talking to our donors that we found what they really wanted and that was to really be part of the new farm. They wanted tangible benefits like the opportunity to sponsor a rake or a shovel, so we built these things in as rewards for the campaign“.

Donors to the campaign at higher levels bought fence posts or shelters, but basically they made sure there was something available for everyone at different price points.

Be adaptable
It’s also important to remember that the campaign can evolve as you go. As they were getting feedback from donors and supporters throughout the campaign they modified things slightly and introduced new opportunities.

We wanted something at a much lower conversion level to inspire our Facebook supporters to get involved so we did a $10 challenge at the end of the campaign. For a minimal $10 donation our Facebook friends could show their support and then be recognised on a big plaque at the new farm.”

Despite it being a last minute idea, this creative way to convert social media supporters into actual donors, transformed more than 430 new donors for Edgar’s Mission – and added over $4,000 to the campaign. Not at all a bad result when most charities will agree that converting Facebook supporters into donors is one of the biggest challenges of non-profit Facebook pages. It may also be argued, however, that perhaps raising funds from our Facebook supporters is not the point of social media, but that’s a whole other conversation.

What does Kyle think the most surprising benefit was that came from running a crowd funding campaign?
Other than the incredible funds raised, the ability to generate new donors through the campaign was huge for Edgar’s Mission.”

The $10 Challenge definitely helped with this and the opportunity to inspire people – from all parts of the world – and help them feel part of the new farm was incredible. Perhaps it goes to show that people really do want to make a difference and be a part of something, we – as fundraisers – just need to be the change agents for making this happen. Educate someone about a need, show them how they can make a real difference and inspire them to do so.

Any last pieces of advice from Kyle?
Don’t forget about your donors. Make them central to everything you do, not only during the campaign, but while you are implementing your project that they have helped come to fruition. Edgar’s gave private tours for donors who gave at the higher levels so they could come and see their plaques on fence posts and shelters.

“In the beginning fences and shelters were being built and we updated people, now, just over a year later, we’ve finished things like our duck pond and goat mountain and we’re still updating donors. Crowd funding is so public and so open it motivates people and they want to help work with you to help you reach your targets. So let them do that and then thank them.”

Pam and another Edgar's team member celebrating their success and saying thanks to donors

Pam and another Edgar’s team member celebrating their success and saying thanks to donors

Edgar’s crowd funding campaign was without doubt an incredible achievement and the team – and those that made it all possible through their support – should be very proud. They also won the Care 2 Impact award late last year for the best digital campaign. While the campaign is now closed, it can still be viewed online at Chuffed’s website here. Have you got any other tips for crowd funding? Let us know in the comments below.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick

P.S A big THANK YOU goes out to Kyle at Edgar’s for making the time to share some of his crowd funding expertise with us in the hope that it might help other emerging non-profits.🙂

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