How to Launch a Successful Online Fundraiser

Executive Director/seasoned fundraiser Candice Young and Board President/Professor Rob Williams, who teaches a class on crowdfunding at the University of Vermont, share their crowdfunding tips below.

1. Make the first donation. It shows others that you believe in the cause yourself.

2. Post a video of yourself. This will allow friends and family to connect directly to the cause.

Direct, personal messages and follow up are key.

3. Use social media. Post on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter and use a relevant hashtag to reach a broader audience. To be most effective, post an update every 2-3 days. Tag your friends and family who have shared or donated to thank them for their help. Your donors will appreciate the recognition, and this allows your fundraiser to have more reach.

4. Have people share your campaign on your behalf. You want to reach out to people who themselves will reach a hundred people on your behalf. The allies you need are not just your backers - they are also the people who will help you reach your backers.

5. Get personal. Direct personal email appeals, phone calls and conversations still work better than any other single tool for finding supportive funders. Sending individualized, 1-minute videos to prospective donors has shown a lot of success.

Always, always be sure to send a personalized ‘thank you’ letter.

6. Run an offline fundraiser. Host a dinner, run a bake sale, or share your story at an event. People will be touched by how much you care. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy the process!

7. Offer an incentive. If you feel like you really want to take the time to offer incentives for your backers, here’s some scenarios and suggestions:

  • Consider offering levels of rewards for various backers. 
  • Send pictures of yourself volunteering with the community that has been impacted.