Planning is Everything

When it comes to non-profits, charities, and CLCs specifically, there are some important considerations for the planning stage of your fundraising campaign. We’ve boiled these down to three questions crowdfunding nonprofits should be asking themselves during the development phase of a campaign. Having answers to these questions will help your organisation to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

1. Can Your Crowdfunding Campaign Be Related To Something Tangible?

Many nonprofits, charities, and NGOs that have entered the modern crowdfunding world have found that they have better results when funding directly results in something physically measurable. Physical outcomes give supporters a visceral sense of potential accomplishment that may be more inspiring than merely meeting an abstract budgeting goal.

A great example of this is Kim Barker’s organisation, Baby Warm. Every crowdfunding campaign that Baby Warm initiates results in the purchase of an incubation unit that will help a wildlife rehab volunteer save baby animals. Kim says:

“From my experience with helping raise funds, I know that people are more likely to donate to a specific thing they can envision rather than making a general donation – so the natural step was to fundraise specifically incubators.”

If you currently don’t have a tangible outcome as the target of your fundraising concept, maybe shifting some things around in your budget can lead to a better outcome. For instance, maybe you already budgeted for a big-ticket purchase that you can move over to the crowdfunding section of your ledger. It may require a bit of creativity to come up with a way that your CLC’s fundraising goal can be linked to a physical outcome, but if there’s a way it can be, you will likely have greater support from your community.

2. What Is Your Organisation’s Story?

Branding is often associated with the commercial, for-profit world, but really, branding is just how an organisation builds a public face that people can come to know and trust. Branding is important, even for non-profits, and an important part of branding is having a story. A good brand story isn’t a way to mislead anyone. Instead, a brand story is a way to describe what your organisation is doing and why.

Your brand’s story is arguably the most powerful part of your campaign because it’s what enables you to connect with people. Without a story, your organisation will be talking at people instead of sharing a vision that others can empathise with. If your organisation has good brand story, other people will want to be part of that story.

“Storytelling is a powerful technique for building relationships. It’s an age-old concept that brings people together and keeps them engaged.”

 Marketing gurus Neil Patel and Ritika Puri

To help your nonprofit find its story, ask your team:

  • Why are we doing what we’re doing?
  • Why is what we’re doing important?
  • What motivates us specifically to do it?

The answers to these questions will help you shape your message to potential contributors. Develop an easily relatable story for your organisation and tie it in with all your messaging.

Lights. Camera. Action!

As recently reported by The Guardian, video will soon account for 69% of all consumer Internet traffic. In 2015, the focus will increasingly be on mobile video. According to an analysis by Liveclicker, 25% of all e-commerce videos were played from mobile devices last year, up 19 percent from 2013. With no signs of slowing down, video, especially mobile-friendly video, is where the money’s at, when it comes to developing content that will help your community legal centre succeed. You may run cases conducive to a long-term Youtube strategy, or perhaps you can simply have an intro or demonstration video on your homepage or donation page. Either way, video engages people in a way text and static images do not, and that’s not going to change.

With video, you can tell stories, answer questions, and demonstrate usage. Really, possibilities are as unlimited as your creativity is!

Stay out in front of these trends and you’ll surely to reap the benefits of being an early adopter. You will spread awareness of your brand, broaden your contributor base, and increase donations!

3. Are You Approaching Your Messaging Like a Marketer?

Many CLCs and non-profit organisations do not have the resources to have a professional marketing team on staff, but that doesn’t mean someone in your organization can’t learn some basics about marketing, web design, and writing good copy. You may have a great story, an honourable mission, and a large network of people that want to support you, but none of this will automatically lead to a successful campaign if people don’t know what you want them to do.

Testing your messaging is instrumental in determining if your story and call to action will resonate with new people.

All your communication – emails, social media posts, website calls to action – must be two things:

  1. Clear
  2. Concise

Clear means virtually anyone can quickly and easily understand what you are asking them to do. People that interact with your crowdfunding campaign need to be able to understand what you want, why you want it, and how people can help you get there. If someone reads your cause description and can’t understand one of those things, revise your copy.

To test the clarity of your communication, show it to a few people not involved with your organisation before you’re ready to publish. Testing your messaging is instrumental in determining if your story and call to action will resonate with new people.

Concise means saying what you need to in as few words as possible. Get to the point. Remove unnecessary text and clutter from your messaging. Here’s what Demian Farnworth, chief copywriter for Copyblogger, recommends:

  • Eliminate petty sentences, use active verbs, and get to the point.
  • Cut your introduction and jump right into the meat of the story.
  • Eliminate sections that are irrelevant (often impossible unless you leave your copy for a day or two).
  • Use simple words, short sentences, and small paragraphs.

Along with careful planning in general, having solid answers to these questions should get your CLC or other non-profit organisation off to a great start developing a successful crowdfunding campaign.


We post crowdfunding campaigns for those who need help affording legal representation yet do not qualify for legal aid. We also work with Australian Community Legal Centres to provide free legal crowdfunding advice.