There are currently over five thousand charitable causes and donation campaigns on WePay’s Giving page right now. Why should a donor choose yours?
Unlike the aggressive solicitors who accost you on the street to donate to their campaign to help end hamster hunger or support a zucchini’s right to vote, worthy causes such as your own can be dismissed without second thought with the click of a mouse. It might sound harsh, but the ease and convenience of collecting money via the Internet can also make it more difficult to grab potential donors’ attention – and their support.
In a time when donations for even the best-known charities are drying up, financing a personal cause to cover medical expenses, an educational trip, or the losses from a house fire can at times seem impossible. But here at WePay, we’re here to help make sure your collection campaigns aren’t just easier and more convenient, but more successful too.
The Do’s and Don’ts
You’ve seen it over and over again in donation campaigns raising money for a friend: “Please, please, please help Matt because he’s the nicest, sweetest, most handsome guy in the world!” Descriptions like that might open up some hearts, but probably not many wallets. Emotional, familiar appeals work fine with your grandparents and Oprah. There are lots of nice people out there who could use some extra cash, but the online world isn’t going to give them money because your vouch for their friendliness. A well-run donation campaign has the potential to appeal far beyond your circle of friends, family, and talk show hosts.
Start by making a connection between your cause and the social consciences of potential donors. Whether you’re raising money for yourself or a neighbor down the street, everyone’s been in the position of needing help or knowing someone who has. Personal stories are at their best when they act as microcosms for something larger. Raising money for a friend to help cover medical expenses? More than half of bankruptcies filed can be traced to medical costs. Trying to buy supplies for your backyard organic garden? Provide specifics about how your project will help offset your (and your donors’) carbon footprint. It’s not hyperbole to let people know that their individual efforts can have greater-than-expected results.
People want to know that they’re money is going to be put to good use. So give the people what they want by providing an overview of how their donations will be spent. If someone’s home was damaged in a fire then list what’s needed for repairs. You don’t need to itemize the cost of every individual nail, bolt, and screw, but you need to provide some more detail than “Fire repairs: $30,000.”
Finally, as you spend the yield of your fundraising, let people see the fruits of their donations. Set up a blog and link it to your WePay donation page. From there, post pictures and updates about the progress your making. Check off or cross out the bills you were able to cover, display the furniture or equipment you purchased, or show off your grades from the semester of college you were able to afford thanks to your supporters. Show that supporting you or your cause was is more than a donation, it’s an investment.
And remember to spread the word via social media and to get your friends to do the same. It’s much less painful – and less awkward – to get rejected on somebody’s newsfeed than on the street.