Crowdfunding Campaign Communications Checklist

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Great communication is the centerpiece of any successful crowdfunding campaign. However, many people struggle with how to schedule and maintain a good level of communication to keep the attention of donors and supporters. That’s why we created this crowdfunding campaign communications checklist to help you get started!

Organizations managing platforms should be aware of this hurdle and work to empower their project teams to understand the basic tenets of knowing their core audience, channels, and creating a schedule.

 

Pre-Launch (~30 days before)

Goals: #1 Build a community of advocates. #2 Reach 30% of goal in pre-commitments.

unchecked_checkbox Ask Your Campaign Champions

  • Be a Campaign Champion (advocate)
  • Please contribute early
  • Please reach out to your network to share this campaign once live
  • Provide them with boilerplate copy to share (emails, tweets, FB posts)

unchecked_checkbox Ask Early Supporters

  • Please donate in the first 3 days
  • Share Share Share!
  • Stay tuned for updates!
  • Provide them with boilerplate copy to share (emails, tweets, FB posts)

unchecked_checkbox Business & Organizations

    • Share the vision & impact of campaign
    • Explain value to them (co-branding, high visibility philanthropy, marketing & new customers)
    • Tell them what they can do: donate, sponsor rewards, matching donations, share with their networks
    • Provide them with boilerplate copy to share (emails, tweets, FB posts)

 

Launch Prep (Marketing Plan)

Goals: #1 Schedule your posts to make life easier. #2 Be prepared to communicate major milestones.

unchecked_checkbox Build email lists of potential supporters

unchecked_checkbox Create a Facebook event for your campaign’s launch day and invite contacts

unchecked_checkbox Plan additional events/tactics

unchecked_checkbox Draft/schedule your communications

      • Pre-launch updates/emails/social
      • Launch Day (morning, afternoon & evening) update/email/social
      • 30, 50, 75, 90% etc. Emails/Update/Social
      • Final Push Updates/Emails/Social
        • 3, 2, 1 day(s) left
        • Final day (all day long!)
        • Campaign End (We did it!) Update/Emails

 

Live Campaign

Goals: #1 Execute your plan. #2 Stay active and engage your donors. #3 Turn supporters into advocates.

unchecked_checkbox Stay active (~15 minutes every day)

unchecked_checkbox Send scheduled communications

unchecked_checkbox Thank supporters as donations are made

unchecked_checkbox Create new updates with “behind the scenes” photographs and stories from the campaign team

unchecked_checkbox Respond to all comments on your page

unchecked_checkbox Rally supporters at the end!

unchecked_checkbox Focus on stretch goals after initial goals are passed!

 

Post Campaign

Goals: #1 Thank Supporters. #2 Demonstrate Impact. #3 Tell supporters what to do next!

unchecked_checkbox Send victory/post campaign communication

unchecked_checkbox Rewards fulfilment

unchecked_checkbox 30 Day follow-up: Show impact

unchecked_checkbox Thank supporters and ask: “Please support other great campaigns on this platform!”

If you follow these steps, you’ll having killer crowdfunding campaign communications!

How to Write Fantastic Fundraising Campaign Email Updates

Write_Great_Fundraising_Email_Updates

In this post, you will learn:

  1. Why each group in your community needs updates during your fundraising campaign
  2. When it’s best to send an update
  3. What should make up an update (with included templates)

First, let’s talk about the different types of supporters and donors you are trying to communicate effectively with.

 

We find it’s best to update your networks roughly by these groups:

  • Supporters: The early supporters are often also the most invested in your success. Tell them how much the campaign has raised in the first few days, and at regular intervals, as well as what you intend to do next in each update.
  • Potential Supporters: These people might be thinking about supporting your cause, and with a few days of successful fundraising under your belt, they may be more likely to support. They may also share your story with their networks, even if they don’t contribute funds yet.
  • Campaign Team: These are your go-to people. Keep them updated often, and don’t be afraid to ask for additional help if you need it. A weekly update (or more frequent, should the need arise) to your team members is a great time to talk about which social media posts are gaining the best traction, big donations in the works, and any adjustments your marketing plan may need to make.

Now that you’ve identified your audience, your community needs to know that your campaign is making progress!

 

Make sure to send updates regularly to demonstrate your commitment to success, and create incentives for people to stay (or become) involved. In our experience, these are the best times to reach out:

  1. 10% complete (Day 3 on 30 day campaign)
  2. 27% complete (Day 8 on 30 day campaign)
  3. 50% complete (Day 15 on 30 day campaign)
  4. 73% complete (Day 22 on 30 day campaign)
  5. 90% complete (Day 27 on 30 day campaign)
  6. Any other time where your community needs new information.

Finally, as you update your community on the campaign’s progress, you need to make sure your appeals are authentic and persuasive.

 

Some basic tenets to keep in mind are to always remind everyone how they can help, make sure you add details that are specific to your campaign and the group you are reaching out to, and include video updates and pictures if you have them.

Here are some templates for key updates during your campaign as a starting point. Remember: make sure to craft these to represent your voice and goals. Personality is what drives engagement!

 

First Campaign Update Before Launch

Subject line ideas:

  • We’re rocking the world…in 3 days.
  • 72 hours until it all changes.
  • The countdown begins…

Hello [Name],

How’s it going? [personal story or connection]

(ex. How’s it going? It was so great to see you at Connor’s party the other night! I’m so glad to hear volleyball is going well. We should catch up soon.)

As you may know, I’m involved with [campaign effort or organization], which is [description and reason for campaign]. I would love for you to be a part of this.

(ex. As you may know, I’m involved with the Monument Valley Community Garden. We provide fresh, organically grown produce to the Monument Valley Resource Center, which serves the under-resourced in Howler County. We’re about to launch a crowdfunding campaign to make our community garden thrive, and I would love for you to be a part of this.)

We are trying to raise $[goal amount] in [campaign runtime] because [need or problem campaign solves].

(ex. We are trying to raise $1,800 in 2 weeks (June 28 – July 14) to buy a deer fence for the garden (we’ve seen deer droppings regularly). It is truly a miracle that the deer haven’t destroyed all the produce in the garden. We see the garden as a long-term, sustainable way to serve our community and this is a practical step we are taking toward that.)

[Name], I am asking for your support in this campaign …will you support us with a donation when it launches?

Another way you can help is to ask you to share our campaign. If this is something that you resonate with, please share our story!

Finally, I wanted to invite you to our campaign launch party on [party date] at [party location]. We’re going to get a bunch of people together and celebrate the launch of our campaign. I would love it if you could make it!  Let me know if you’re able to come!

Please feel free to contact me anytime if you have any questions, suggestions, or ideas!

I’ll talk to you soon!

– [Name]

 

Mid-Campaign Update

Subject line ideas:

  • So excited to fill you in!
  • Thank you! We couldn’t be doing this without you.
  • All the things have happened.

Hey everybody!

Thanks for all of your support thus far for our [campaign name and link]! Thank you to everyone who has funded, shared, and gotten involved – we are so grateful for your support!

We want to keep you posted on what we have accomplished so far:

We raised [% of goal since last email]!  

[Update on progress and efforts]

(ex. Yesterday we harvested 20 bags full of lettuce, tomatoes and green beans for the Resource Center…we were told they were gone in the first 15 minutes! We’re not surprised…look at these beauties! We continue to do biweekly care for the garden on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5pm to 7pm at the Monument Valley Resource Center – come join us if you can!)

[Supporting Images]

Check out our first video update [include link or embed video]! You can find all of our updates on our campaign page on the “updates” tab!

Right now, we have [days left in campaign] and we still need to raise $[amount remaining] of $[goal amount] that will allow us to [campaign reason].

We are very excited to get this campaign off the ground! We are determined to meet and hopefully even exceed our goal, but we can’t do it without you. Please consider making a contribution and pass our campaign [include link] on to as many people as you can and help us get the rest of the way there. 

We’re doing this people! Thank you for everything!

Sincerely,

[Name]

 

Final Update Before Campaign Ends

Subject Line Ideas:

  • 1 day left!
  • Tomorrow is it…we can do this!

Good Morning Everyone –

We have 1 full day left of our fundraiser and we are overwhelmed by the generosity and excitement for our campaign our community has shown. If you want to help us bring this awesome campaign to completion, now is the time! We are currently $[amount remaining] short of our $[goal amount] goal.

[OR]

We’ve raised over our $[goal amount] by [$x dollars]. This is what we can do if we reach $[ stretch goal amount].

We have [# of supporters] supporters and that is absolutely inspiring.

Please do what you can to help us reach our goal! Our campaign ends on [end date] at [end time]. Please share this with your people and encourage them to pledge!

Thank you very much for everything that you’ve done!

Sincerely,

[Name]

[campaign link]

5 Steps to Maximize Your Campaign Fundraising with Social Media

1

According to Kendall Almerico, writing for Entrepreneur, “gaining financial support through social media is not as simple as posting a picture of your lunch on Facebook or retweeting the latest joke from Jimmy Kimmel. Successful fundraising through social media requires planning, dedication and determination.”

Whether you’re running a rewards-based crowdfunding campaign (like preselling an item) or a simple donation fundraising campaign, the same holds true: people can’t support what they don’t know about.

Here are a few tips to help get you on track, and make sure the effort you spend pays off.

 

Step 1: Clean up.

Make sure your profiles are up to date on each social media platform you intend to use. As Almerico notes, it’s very important to build a following weeks or months before you launch a campaign. Building your community early mobilizes a following, and these connections will be primed to support you when you launch your campaign. If your campaign is already live, it’s too late to start from step 1.

If you’re starting from scratch, consider where your community lives. You don’t need to use every platform, you simply need to reach the people who will be the most passionate about supporting you. Make sure to take it a step further from seeing where your first degree is most active: search for relevant interest groups and try to find influencers that would be interested in your campaign, too (you can do this easily using buzzsumo.com). Remember that building a quality pool of supporters is more valuable than a large existing network without an investment in your cause.

 

Step 2: Get your tools ready.

Write the bulk of your social media posts before you launch your campaign. Then, create a schedule for yourself. This ensures you’re prepared and you won’t be overwhelmed trying to post in all the right places every single day of your campaign. Trust me: that can get exhausting.

There are a wide range of scheduling tools available (free and paid versions) that help you schedule, make sure your content is varied and engaging, include images, links and videos, and take some pressure off during crunch time. You can always change scheduled times, alter content, or post directly to social media platforms if something timely comes up.

I recommend:

  • Hootsuite
    • Free version
    • Manage multiple accounts from one dashboard
    • Works with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (The BIG 3)
    • Takes a bit of time, but once you get the hang of it, well worth the time
    • Campaign size: any
  • TweetDeck
    • Twitter
    • Manage multiple accounts
    • Robust watch/sort/analytics
    • Keyword listener
    • Campaign size: moderate, large
  • Sprout
    • No free version (free trial available)
    • Team-friendly
    • Keyword listeners
    • Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+
    • Campaign size: large

 

Step 3: Plan and schedule frequency.

It’s essential that you post several times per week on all of your chosen platforms. Keep your content fresh: mix links to relevant articles or involved organizations’ publications, videos, eye-catching images, and so on. Try out different language to help from resorting to outright begging or getting boring. At the end of each week review what post types and appeals get the most traction and refine as you go.

Also, remember some platforms require higher volumes of posting than others. For example, Twitter moves faster than Facebook: according to Wiselytics, the half-life of a tweet is 24 minutes compared to 90 minutes for a Facebook post. Make sure you’re catering to the characteristics of each platform, not just applying the same tactics across the board. The bottom line is: don’t be afraid to post often but divide your efforts wisely.

While there are many ‘expert’ opinions on the best times of day to post to various platforms, the best way for you to know when your community is online is to watch their activity for a while. This is one of many reasons that getting prepared well in advance of your campaign’s launch is crucial for reaching your audience and being successful. Check out the integrated dashboards that most social channels offer (like Facebook Insights) to see your impact and track your reach day to day.

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 11.41.13 PM

 

Step 4: Invite support and be creative.

Nothing is more compelling than being the real you. Here a few pro tips to shine:

  • Post at least twice a day. Mix up your content so concurrent posts aren’t always hard asks. A good rule of thumb is 1 in 4 should be a hard ask; 3 in 4 should be other engaging content.
  • Get excited – it’s infectious! Excitement can be upbeat or serious; if you’re raising funds for an emergency, channel the urgency into your message. If you’re raising funds for something else, help people become your advocates by sharing your excitement with them and giving them the opportunity (and ask) to share with others.
  • Asking for money can be challenging. Remember: the people who believe in you want to support you. Afford them the opportunity to do so.
  • Proofread!
  • Always include a direct link to your campaign page.
  • Show your true colors! Evoke emotion and be genuine by posting pictures of yourself and your team, sharing videos of the impact of your progress, and sharing fun content you find relevant.

 

Step 5: Roll with it.

You won’t know before your campaign launches how much you’ll raise in the first 3 days. If you have guaranteed donors, you can ask them to donate early (which can help set the campaign’s trajectory to success) and that can help you understand the baseline of what you can expect to raise. But keep in mind what you may want to say on social media if:

  • Your campaign exceeds your goal on day 1 (or 3, or 10)
  • Donations aren’t coming in the way you’re expecting (how can you change your messaging?)
  • A community member offers unexpected rewards to your campaign

It’s a good idea to have a plan for each contingency you can think of, and be ready to adjust your messaging accordingly.

Overall, don’t let social media intimidate you. Using this medium wisely can be a huge bolster to your campaign, so think smart and you’ll watch your donor base grow!

Don’t Be a Crowdfunding Deer in Headlights

Kathleen Minogue is a crowdfunding expert, educator, speaker, and alternative funding consultant. She is an Industry Advisor at Community Funded where she participates in developing best practices, advising new product development, and helping campaign creators to achieve their fundraising goals.

Image of deer face on yellow background symbolizing crowdfunding deer in headlights

Expletives! Just got another call from someone with a rescue plea after they launched their campaign. Another person who ran out into the crowdfunding street without looking both ways and got caught in the headlights of reality. Do you know how this pains me? Crowdfunding doesn’t have to be deadly. So in an attempt to help you avoid being crowdfunding road kill, here’s a reality check:

Nobody is Waiting to Back Your Campaign

Outside of your mother and a few life-long friends, nobody is waiting to give you money. Don’t believe me? According to Barry E. James of The Crowd Data Center, over 50% of campaigns never raise more than 10% of their goal. That number was gleaned from their data from over a quarter million crowdfunding campaigns. You can’t make that up.

 

People Overpromise

Or at least they talk a big game. Some real examples from the bruised and battered crowdfunders that end up in my inbox: “My friends said they’d support my campaign, but I didn’t realize that meant $10.” “My team promised to help spread the word, but after we launched they refused to send the campaign out to their personal email lists.” “My friend said she could get me featured in Forbes, but now she won’t reply to my emails.”

 

Begging Louder Doesn’t Make it More Effective

It just makes people put on their headphones and tune you out. Your Spotify playlist is a lot more entertaining than 100 cookie-cutter pleas to Facebook saying, “Please help our campaign.” Consistency is crucial to getting your message out, but a relentless barrage of the same photo at the same time with the same message loses its attention-grabbing effect. And if you’re yelling, you’re not listening.

 

But never fear, here are some best practices to help you look both ways before crossing the crowdfunding street:

Seek Feedback Early

Biggest mistake I see project creators make is keeping their project under wraps until they launch. Show your campaign to friends and have conversations with people outside your inner circle to see how your message resonates with people who may not be familiar with your project. Those outside eyes are invaluable to ensuring that your message and call to action are clear. While you may be seeing apples, it may look like oranges from the outside. And you’ll get practice listening and engaging with your community, a more effective alternative to begging and yelling.

 

Get in Shape

Because crowdfunding is a marathon run at a sprint, only those who have been in serious training have any hope of making the finish line. This means daily prep and conditioning for 3-12 months. Get your email lists and social media accounts in good working order long before you press ‘go’ on that campaign. Organize pictures into a media library and arrange interviews with stakeholders so you’re not tracking down these details while running your campaign. If you’re not prepared, crowdfunding is like trying to run a marathon with weights on your ankles. You’ll never catch up, and if you do, you’ll be the worse for the wear.

 

Don’t Take it Personally

When your closest and dearest friend doesn’t give to your campaign, don’t assume they are ignoring you. People are busy. Instead of getting angry, be human. Your email may be buried in a swamp of emails. Text or call your friend to ask what’s happening in their life. They may simply not have seen your email. Or maybe funds are in short supply. Offer them another way to help where they can invest their time or help you connect with others who may care about your project.

 

While this list isn’t comprehensive, it touches on some of the wisdom I’ve gained from working side-by-side with project creators over the last four years. By following these road rules, you’ll be much better at navigating the busy streets of crowdfunding. Instead of dodging traffic, you’ll be the deer happily grazing in the lush, green meadow of your crowdfunding success.

 

 

Kathleen Minogue is the founder of CrowdfundBetter where she helps businesses weigh the value of the assets, both financial and social, they may gain from crowdfunding against the time and resources it takes to run a successful campaign.

She has worked alongside project creators on platforms ranging from Kickstarter and Indiegogo to niche platforms like Seed&Spark, Barnraiser, Plum Alley and Hatchfund on campaigns that have raised over $1M. She has also been a key speaker at venues including General Assembly, Impact Hub, Pepperdine University, the Director’s Guild of America, City of Inglewood, SBDC, SCORE, and the Small Business Administration.

12 Tips to Navigate the Fundraising “Valley of Death”

Fundraising-Valley-of-Death

The “valley of death” (the middle part of a campaign) can be a trying time, as momentum tends to wane and fundraising may plateau…but you have to keep going! Here are some tips and tricks for keeping your community excited and engaged through “the valley.”

  1. Offer special limited time deals with a few rewards. This provides a sense of excitement and urgency when things might be a bit slow. Blast your offer on social media for a few days and make sure you keep good track of who purchases them! For example, offer double of one reward for a 24 hour period:“Anyone who gets the $100 reward for 10lbs of tofu between now and 6:00 tomorrow night will get double tofu! Twenty pounds for $100!”
  2.  

  3. Make mini goals to reach. Try breaking down your goal into smaller milestones throughout the campaign and use social media to create excitement around making each milestone. For example, set daily or weekly goals for a certain percentage or dollar amount you would like to reach by a certain time and challenge your community to help you reach those goals:“Help us reach our weekly goal of $1000 and get to $3000 by the end of the week!”
  4.  

  5. If you haven’t heard back from any of the people or organizations in your target market that you reached out to, follow up with them and ask if they have any questions.
  6.  

  7. Call or meet with your first degree and ask them to share the project with two people they know.
  8.  

  9. Find and attend Meetup groups or other relevant events in your area where you can meet like-minded people and tell them about your campaign!
  10.  

  11. Send a mid-campaign press release.

     

  12. Offer a new reward (limited amount) mid-campaign and use social media to spread the word about this exclusive offer.
  13.  

  14. Create cards, brochures, or flyers to hang in local establishments and hand out to people you meet. Make sure it includes: a brief description of your project/ what you are trying to do, a link to your project (you can also use a QR code; there are lots of free QR code generators like this one), and your contact information.
  15.  

  16. Send an email to your community once a week with information about your progress. Include pictures and videos if you can.
  17.  

  18. Send a mid-campaign press release and another press release a week before your project ends to relevant media lists.
  19.  

  20. Create and post a weekly video update on your campaign page and social media.
  21.  

  22. NEVER, EVER, EVER GIVE UP!!!

How to Be a Fundraising Campaign Champion

Crowdfunding-Campaign-Champion

In this post, you will learn:

  • What a Campaign Champion embodies
  • A list of tasks the Fundraising Campaign Champion can manage
  • How to empower your fundraiser and get funded through preparation and good planning.

A Campaign Champion is a point person for the campaign, and is responsible for organizing and coordinating campaign-related efforts. This person is willing to commit several hours each week to engaging their community to support the campaign, raising money through sending personal emails, sharing social media posts, attending events, and other activities.

Responsibilities

  • Creating campaign content (with team input)
  • Setting an example for how to best engage your community including:
    • Potential supporters
    • Reward Sponsors
    • Strategic partners
  • Following up with supporters within 24 hours of donation
  • Scheduling and posting social media
  • Regularly updating the team on campaign progress and provide direction where needed
  • Writing and distributing press releases
  • Posting to relevant blogs, writing newsletters and other communications.

Below are tasks broken out by pre-launch, live, and post-campaign. You may have more than one campaign champion, or other engaged support. Split these tasks up as best fits your situation!

To-Dos

Pre-launch

  • Support campaign creator by helping to write and review campaign content. 
  • Communicate with campaign team as needed.
  • Reach out to strategic partners with relevant dates & requests for support.
  • Write pre-launch press release and schedule when and where to send it.
  • Seek out reward sponsors and secure rewards where possible.
  • Develop social media content, schedule and help to post it on the agreed schedule.

Launch

  • Send launch email to potential supporters.
  • Write and help to distribute launch, mid-campaign, and final press releases.
  • Write newsletters, articles and blogs throughout the campaign, where applicable.
  • Email potential supporters and reward sponsors when the campaign is nearly over.

Ongoing

  • Send thank you emails to supporters and reward sponsors within 24 hours of donation.
  • Send weekly update emails to supporters, potential supporters, and reward sponsors.
  • Draft and send updates to team members and strategic partners (every day or two).
  • Post to social media at least twice per day.

Post-Campaign

  • Send thank you email to supporters, team, strategic partners and reward sponsors
  • Write and distribute a press release detailing the final campaign results.
  • Post the final Campaign results and your next steps in newsletters and/or blog posts. 

Launch Day: Activate Potential Fundraising Supporters

Crowdfunding-Launch-Day

Launch day is one of the most exciting for a crowdfunding campaign. It’s essential that your first degree (family, friends, those in your network you’re certain will support your efforts) and potential supporters know your campaign is ready to begin collecting money. Remind them with a personalized email. 

 

In this post, you will learn:

  • The best messages to send to potential supporters on day one of your fundraising campaign.
  • Helpful links are included.
  • Templates are provided to give you a starting point.

Purpose

  • Let community know that your campaign is live.
  • Remind them to support and share.
  • Ask for support and provide instructions.

Why this is important:

Your launch is a big deal! Make sure everyone knows what your campaign is about and help them get excited.

TIP: People are much more likely to support your campaign if they are asked directly and personally. Take the time to personalize each message and send each message individually (NOT as a mass email). This will help you avoid sounding spammy or demanding. 

Feel free to start with the template below.

Email Template:

Hi (name)!

Our (name of campaign) campaign just launched! I’m so excited to get this off the ground!

This is something I really care about, and we need your support to make this campaign a success.

Here are a couple ways you can help:

1) Donate. Any amount makes a huge impact towards reaching our goal. Click here (link to campaign page) to check out our campaign and read more.

2) Spread the word. If you have friends or family that you think would resonate with this campaign, send it on to them. You can also share my social media posts about the campaign. I’ve included some text below that you can use as a starting point.

Any way you can support is wonderful…it means so much to have the people I care about coming around me in support. Thank you so much! Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!

Sincerely,

(Your Name)

Email you can send to your friends and family:

Hi (friend),

How are you? I hope you are doing well!

A friend of mine is running a campaign called (campaign  name) to raise funds for a really great cause. I really believe in what they are trying to do and I thought you might be interested in checking it out.

Here (direct link to campaign page) is a link to their campaign. Check it out and consider making a donation or sharing it with your friends!

Have a great day!

Social Media post for you to customize:

I’m so excited to see what (individual/organization) is up to! Check it out.

(direct link to campaign page)


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Writing a Great Campaign Press Release

Crowdfunding-Press-Realease

Crowdfunding campaigns can benefit from media attention by extending networks beyond campaign creators’ individual communities through a quality press release.

It’s generally accepted that traditional press releases don’t have the same kind of readership they once had. One main reason for this is that in general, we don’t consume news the same way we did even 10 years ago. Instead of shuffling out the front door for the paper to read over breakfast, we’re more likely to scroll through our Twitter feeds to see what’s up in the world around us.

In this post, you will learn:

  • Elements of effective press releases
  • What to include
  • An example of a press release.

Rather than fluffing up a press release with the kind of content we’re all tired of reading, consider including the following:

  • Do you have new statistics that relate directly to your campaign? Include them, and show your readers how your campaign will solve a problem.
  • Use shareable content, like a slick graphic, slideshare or video.

Follow these steps to guide you through the writing process.

  1. Make sure your headline is short and captivating.
  2. Your first paragraph should still include the who, what, where, when and why (just like in the old days.)
  3. Include a quote or two from relevant key figures. Your executive director, a known stakeholder or other person that commands respect on the subject you’re covering makes your press release quotable and authoritative.
  4. By this point your readers have all the information they need to publish or share your press release. If you include more information, make it content that strengthens your narrative, or comment on future implications if your campaign is successful.
  5. If you have outside references, link to them. It’s best to link to your own (or your organization’s) relevant pages as well. Make it easy for readers to fact check and learn more.

Press releases can still be incredibly useful. They walk a unique line in today’s communications between approachable and personable, and news or noteworthy and ready for mass consumption. One rule of thumb we love: Don’t be afraid to get creative.

Example Press Release:

Muscles Alive! Extends Excitement of Neuroscience to Young Children

University outreach program extends excitement of science out of the lab and into the classroom

Dec. 17, 2013. Fort Collins, CO – 

Muscles Alive!, a neuroscience education public outreach program out of Colorado State University, is seeking to raise funds through CommunityFunded.com by December 29,2013 in order procure the equipment and a part-time coordinator to expand the program and make it sustainable in the long term. The program, directed by Dr. Brian Tracy, director of CSU’s Neuromuscular function laboratory, delivers hands-on demonstrations for school-aged children to teach the concepts of brain and nerve function, a demonstration that before would have been limited to a lucky few students on a field trip to a university lab. To date, the program has raised $1,545 of its $10,000 goal.

Volunteers from the Neuromuscular Function Lab set up stations with kid-friendly Popsicle stick electrodes, iPads, and inexpensive electronic components and perform hands-on demonstrations that allows kids to see, hear, record, and experience the electrical activity of their own muscles in real time. Over that past year, Muscles Alive! has brought demonstrations to hundreds of fourth to 12th grade students at locations to Rocky Mountain High School, Polaris Expeditionary Learning School, Kinard Middle School, the Fort Collins Museum of Discover, and many more. 

Screen_Shot_2015-05-19_at_3.53.56_PM
Photo courtesy of Colorado State University.

Before the Muscles Alive! program, demonstrations like this would have been confined to a university laboratory and made available to a very limited number of participants. Tracy’s hopes are to expand the program across the state with the long-term goal of taking it nation-wide.

“[Muscles Alive!] plants a seed in the mind of a child who could go on to participate in the cure of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis,” said Tracy. “This program impacts not only the science education of kids, but also the cure of disease.”

To learn more about the Muscles Alive! program or to support this initiative, visit http://communityfunded.com/projects/arobin/muscles-alive/.

Connecting With Your Community: Your First Degree

Crowdfunding-Connecting-First-Degree

Preparing your potential supporters, including your friends and family, for your campaign to go live is an essential component of success!

First Degree of Separation: Your closest friends and family who know and love you, and will support you in your campaign (through donations or otherwise), no matter what. Aside from your team, your first degree are your biggest advocates.

Potential Supporter: Anyone that may support the campaign, but are not in your first degree of separation. These people are still hugely empowering. They could be on a newsletter mailing list, colleagues or classmates, or acquaintances who share your passion.

When to send: 3 days before launch

Subject Line Ideas: Keep the subject line personalized for your first degree of separation, and something eye-catching for people who don’t know you as well.

First degree subject line ideas:

  • This is really important to me
  • I’m about to start something great and I need your support

Potential Supporter subject line ideas:

  • We’re rocking the world…in 3 days.
  • 72 hours until it all changes.
  • The countdown begins…

Purpose

  • Announce that your campaign is coming
  • Ask for support
  • Provide example text to send to their friends if you wish.

Your message should be personal and direct. Do NOT send a mass email. You can use the template below as talking points for a phone conversation or personal encounter. The more personal the ask, the better!

Example to your first degree:

Hi Uncle Bill,

How’s it going? How is your knee doing? I miss you!

I’m writing to ask you a huge favor. You know Paulo and I have been involved with the Vineyard Church Community Garden for some time now…we’re about to launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise $1,800 in 2 weeks (June 28 – July 14) to buy a deer fence for the garden (we’ve seen deer droppings regularly). It is truly a miracle that the deer haven’t destroyed all the produce in the garden. We see the garden as a long-term, sustainable way to serve our community, and this is a practical step we are taking towards that goal.

I am asking for your support in this campaign …will you support us with a donation when it launches?

Another way you can really help is to spread the word to your community. Let your friends and colleagues know what we are doing and ask them to support this as well. Could you share our story via email and social media for the next couple of weeks? I’ve written some text below that you can start with.

Also, I wanted to invite you to our campaign launch party on June 28 at the Vineyard Church at 6:30pm. We’re just going to get a bunch of people together, go out to the garden (we’ll have some snacks made with some of our produce!) and celebrate the launch of our campaign! I would love it if you could make it!  Let me know if you’re able to come!

I can’t express how much this means to me, I know I can count on you to help me – please let me know if you have any questions…I love you so much! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I’ll talk to you soon!

(Your Name)

Text to send to friends and family:

The Vineyard Church of the Rockies Community Garden provides thousands of pounds of fresh, organically grown produce every year to the Vineyard Resource Center, which serves hundreds of under-resourced families in Northern Colorado.

They are trying to raise money to build a deer fence to keep the produce safe and growing, and ensure that they will continue to be able to provide nutritious food to families right here.

Please consider helping in any way you can!

Check out the campaign by clicking here!


Example for potential supporter:

Hello Sara,

How’s it going? It was so great to see you at Connor’s party the other night! I’m so glad to hear volleyball is going well. We should definitely grab coffee sometime; Tuesday afternoons tend to work well for me, does that time work for you?

As you may know, I’m involved with the Vineyard Church Community Garden; we provide fresh, organically grown produce to the Vineyard Resource Center, which serves the under-resourced in Larimer County. We’re about to launch a crowdfunding campaign to make our garden thrive, and I would love for you to be a part of this. 

We are trying to raise $1,800 in 2 weeks (June 28 – July 14) to buy a deer fence for the garden (we’ve seen deer droppings regularly). It is truly a miracle that the deer haven’t destroyed all the produce in the garden. We see the garden as a long-term, sustainable way to serve and this is a practical step we are taking towards that.

Sara, I am asking for your support in this campaign …will you support us with a donation when it launches?

Another way you can help is to ask you to share our campaign. If this is something that you resonate with,please share our story! 

Finally, I wanted to invite you to our campaign launch party on June 28 at the Vineyard Church at 6:30pm. We’re going to get a bunch of people together, go out to the garden (we’ll have some snacks made with our produce!) and celebrate the launch of our campaign. I would love it if you could make it!  Let me know if you’re able to come!

Please feel free to contact me anytime if you have any questions, suggestions, or ideas!

I’ll talk to you soon!