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

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.”

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.🙂

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.

Two’s Company, Three’s Crowd Funding

A term that is being bandied about in fundraising circles recently is crowdfunding. It is a relatively simple concept that describes the act of raising funds through a group of individuals (or crowd) for a specific project or cause.

Crowdfunding has its roots firmly in the charity sector, although it is quite popular in the music and arts industries and becoming more popular with business start ups.

While it’s not a totally new concept – it’s been around since the late 1990s – it has had a recent resurgence due to the ease by which it can work with the support of the internet.

Crowdfunding sites are starting up all over the globe, with seven already in Australia, as indicated in the diagram below.

According to the Daily Crowd Source website, there are three main categories of crowdfunding;

Equity-based crowdfunding is asking a crowd to donate to your business or project in exchange for equity.

Debt-based crowdfunding is asking a crowd to donate to your business or business project in exchange for financial return and/or interest at a future date.

Donation-based crowdfunding is asking a crowd to donate to your project in exchange for tangible, non-monetary, rewards such as an ecard, t-shirt or just for the giving  feeling.

It is this last type of crowdfunding that we will feature here today as it most commonly used by charities.

So, exactly how does it work?

Once they have decided on their project, charitable organisations can choose an online crowdfunding platform to use and then they set up their project page. They list on here all the details of the project including what the project is, who it will help, why it is needed and how much it will cost. It is important to remember that this page is your only chance at getting through to a potential donor – be sure to inspire them!

As your project funding period passes your organisation should promote it through various online networks and social media sites. The more people that visit your project page the more chance you have in raising the funds you need. When an interested donor visits your page, they can pledge an amount to donate. This amount is only taken from their account when 100% of your funds have been raised.

How can it help charities?

Crowdfunding can be of great benefit to the charitable organisations because it can help raise funds for some of those innovative projects that perhaps you can’t get off the ground elsewhere. It can also be a great way to grow your donor base.

Crowdfunding seems to appeal to a younger, more savvy investor who wants to have more involvement in the social outcomes they help fund, so this type of fundraising may just help your organisation tap into potential new, younger donors.

Before you get started

One crowdfunding blog recommends asking yourself three questions to see if you’re ready for a crowdfunding project;

1. Is this an idea that enough people will think is valuable? You want enough people to invest in your project otherwise it won’t be viable.
2. Is this a project that can be accomplished with limited funds?  Make sure you get your ask amount right. Obviously, the less money you need the quicker you can raise it, but you don’t want to fall short and have to change an ask (or ask again).
3. Are you dedicated to seeing this project through to fruition? Individuals who invest in your project are investing in your ability to complete it – they have the faith that you will do it, so you need to be sure you can.

So, if you think you’re community group is ready to get started here are three Australian sites you might want to check out;

And remember, every crowd has a silver lining (at least the potential to, anyway).

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.