Animal welfare organizations play a critical role in caring for and protecting vulnerable animals. However, funding can be a challenge, and traditional fundraising methods alone may not be enough to garner the support they need. That’s where crowdfunding comes into play.
Crowdfunding relies on a large number of donors making small to midsize gifts, typically through an online platform. Because this fundraising campaign relies on the Internet and the wide reach of social networks, it provides a quick and simple way to attract more donors to your cause.
In this guide, we’ll provide four tips for animal welfare organizations looking to launch successful crowdfunding campaigns:
- Choose the right crowdfunding platform
- Set a SMART fundraising goal
- Tell a compelling story
- Leverage multichannel marketing
Whether you own a kennel, volunteer at an animal shelter, or lobby on behalf of animal rights, these tips will help you achieve your fundraising goals and make a real difference for animals in need.
1. Choose the right crowdfunding platform
With dozens of crowdfunding platforms on the market, it can be difficult to know which one will best support your fundraising efforts. Take the time to research and compare different platforms, keeping the following factors in mind:
- Fees: Some platforms may charge a flat fee for each donation made, while others may take a percentage of the total funds raised. Review your budget and choose a solution that allows you to keep as much of the funds as possible.
- Integrated payment processing: Gingr, a leader in integrated payment processing, recommends investing in a solution that allows you to automatically transfer funds to your account.
- Reach: Platforms like GoFundMe have a large user base, which can help your organization reach more potential donors. However, it may be difficult to stand out against the competition on a larger platform, so you may consider lesser-known options as well.
- Customization: Look for a platform that you can personalize according to your organization’s branding and fundraising needs. For instance, you should have the option to add images, embed your logo, and include a matching gift auto-submission form, if you choose.
Keep in mind that each platform has its strengths and weaknesses. Work with your team to weigh your options and ensure everyone is on the same page with your final decision.
2. Set a SMART fundraising goal
People are more likely to give when they know that their donation is going toward something meaningful. That’s why goal setting is so important. With a SMART goal displayed at the top of your crowdfunding page, potential supporters will know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish and how they can help.
A SMART fundraising goal should be:
- Specific: A goal that is too generalized will be difficult to attain, so be clear about what exactly you need from donors.
- Measurable: To track and evaluate progress, the fundraising goal should have a quantifiable metric attached to it.
- Attainable: Set a goal that is realistically achievable within a given timeframe and with your available resources.
- Relevant: The fundraising goal should be relevant to your organization’s mission, objectives, and needs, and aligned with your overall fundraising strategy.
- Time-bound: Create a sense of urgency among donors by clearly defining an end date or timeline for achieving the goal.
Let’s say an animal shelter is looking to get started with crowdfunding. Rather than creating a vague campaign to “save the animals,” they should set a SMART goal, stating that they’re looking to raise $5,000 in a week to provide life-saving medical care to a litter of eight puppies.
By providing people with a clear vision of what their donations can achieve, you will inspire their dedication and support.
3. Tell a compelling story
Storytelling is the key to running a successful crowdfunding campaign, as it helps you stand out from the competition and can leave a lasting impression on donors.
Start by introducing your organization, beneficiaries, and the vision behind your project. Then, explain the problem you aim to solve and how funds from the campaign will help achieve your goals. Be sure to end with a call to action that encourages readers to lend their support.
You should also bring the story to life through photos of animals, video messages from your team, and testimonials from dedicated supporters. This will tug at people’s heartstrings and get them invested in your cause.
Let’s consider the previous example of an animal shelter working to save a litter of puppies. Here’s how they might tell their story:
“Meet Leo, Luna, Spot, Wiggles, Biscuit, Muffin, Sparky, and Chewie, eight lovable labrador retriever puppies who were brought to our shelter after being abandoned on the streets. After several weeks of training and rehabilitation, the pups were ready for adoption. But just days before they were set to go to their forever homes, they exhibited signs of a serious medical condition.
We rushed them to the vet, where they were diagnosed with a life-threatening condition requiring immediate treatment. However, with over 100 animals in our facility, our resources are spread thin, which is why we’re counting on generous donors like you. Will you help us raise $5,000 this week to cover each of our furry friend’s medical bills? Click the button to donate today.”
If you’re having trouble telling your story, review examples of successful crowdfunding campaigns and take inspiration from their efforts.
4. Leverage multichannel marketing
Once you’ve created your campaign page and pushed it live, it’s time to spread the word to donors. For the best results, use a multichannel marketing strategy to extend your reach across the following channels and increase your chances of reaching as many possible supporters as possible:
- Social media: Post campaign information to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn and include images of the animals in your care. NXUnite also suggests reaching out to influencers with a large following and asking them to share the campaign page with their networks. Having an influencer advocate on your behalf will provide your organization with a stamp of credibility.
- Email: Send out email blasts announcing the crowdfunding campaign and provide a link to the campaign page. These should also include updates on the progress of the campaign and inspiring stories about the animals you’ve helped in the past.
- Web: Add a dedicated landing page to your nonprofit website where you can introduce the campaign, provide updates on your progress, and link to the crowdfunding platform. You can also embed banners or pop-up messages throughout the site to direct visitors to the campaign page.
- Print: Create flyers that include information about the campaign, photos of the animals, and a QR code that links to the crowdfunding page. Mail these out or display them in public places, such as community boards, coffee shops, and local pet businesses.
Track engagement through each of these channels and adjust your messaging accordingly. For instance, if the email click-through rate to your campaign page is low, you may need to create a clearer call-to-action.
With the right approach, crowdfunding can be an effective way to raise money for your programs and initiatives. However, it should be used as part of a larger fundraising strategy, consisting of events, grants, and major gift solicitations. Through these combined efforts, you can increase your impact and continue working towards a brighter future for the animals in your care.