As many of your know, I am one of the co-founders of Pledgie. Occasionally, I get asked for advice on how to make an effective campaign on Pledgie and so I began to seriously research this topic about three months ago. Using research, expert advice and by analyzing the thousands of existing Pledgie campaigns I attempted to distill the qualities of a successful campaign into a series of tips (actually nine of them). Whether you are an individual or an organization using Pledgie to raise money, these points may help you to craft a winning message.
1. Empathy Over Sympathy
The job of your campaign message is to focus on the empathetic link between your cause and your donors. Instead of trying to elicit feelings of guilt or pity, focus on positive connections your donors share with your campaign.
Humans, like many other animals, feel empathy and sympathy for one another. Both are incredibly powerful emotions but when it comes to triggering a donor to make a commitment empathy rules the day, and here’s why. Empathy is both the ability to logically understand the experience of others, and simultaneously share a visceral emotional link. Sympathy, however is our ability to feel sorry for someone else’s misfortune, but at a more abstract emotional level. For example, a parent might feel empathy looking at a sick child, because they can imagine their own child in a similar state. In contrast someone without kids might just feel sympathy for child without feeling the greater shared circumstance.
2. Tell A Story
When crafting your campaign, tell the story of your cause. People are more likely to connect with a narrative than with facts and figures. When crafting your campaign story, ask yourself if it answers these questions: Who are you? Why is this campaign important to you? What problem does this campaign seek to solve? Why is this campaign important to the donor?
3. Be Yourself
Donors do not contribute to an idea; they contribute to a person. When describing yourself or your organization, use simple and direct language that gives a brief and complete picture of who you are, and why your campaign is a passion worth funding. The goal is to get potential donors to start seeing you as a real person and not just words and images on a webpage.
4. Don’t Forget to Ask
This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many campaigns never ask for funds! People often think that the goal of a Pledgie campaign is to describe the need. While that is an essential component of a good campaign, the actual goal of a Pledgie campaign is to get others to do something about your need. When crafting your campaign message you should concentrate on adding language that: Encourages potential donors to act immediately. Gives them explicit actions they can take to help your campaign.
5. Get Your Friends & Supporters Involved
Your friends and supporters are your base, they provide a stable foundation to build your outreach upon. When spreading your message through social networks like Twitter or Facebook, it is essential that your friends help make a personal appeal. As a message spreads across your social graph it can suffer an entropy in trust. This may happen, because as your message spreads the recipients are less likely to know you personally. Asking for personal appeals from others help, because people are more likely to give if someone they know is personally invested.
6. Look for collaborators not benefactors
Donors who are funding a cause want to feel like they are part of a solution, and not just performing an act of charity. Craft your message in a way that demonstrates to the donor that they are investing in the outcome, and that you will keep them up-to-date as you progress towards your goal.
7. Photo Finish
We cannot stress enough how important having a video or photo is when crafting your campaign. Even if the photo is just a portrait of yourself, simply having a photo or video associated with your campaign description can make a huge difference in perceived credibility.
8. Follow Up With Progress Reports
Donors who have donated once are likely to donate again if you ask them. Sometimes the easiest way to ask is to share your progress towards your goals. Giving periodic updates to your donor base shows them that they made a wise investment in you, and that you can be trusted with additional funds.
9. Be Grateful
When someone makes an effort to support your cause, be sure to say thank you. It gives them a sense of connection and fulfillment that can lead to future support. It is also the right thing to do!