Crumpled pieces of paper next to the finished lightbulb idea

5 Common Fundraising Mistakes

The days of door-to-door fundraising are coming to an end. Fundraising sites, such as GoFundMe, GiveForward, and Kickstarter allow you to set up a campaign web page just for your fundraiser. Donors and backers can safely give money to your cause or startup. Sounds a lot better than an old fashioned car wash, right? Before you start your online fundraiser, check out these five common fundraising mistakes. If you want to have a successful campaign, avoid these blunders at all costs.

  1. You lack a clear monetary goal.
    Every fundraising campaign needs a goal. You may have stated your fundraising purpose, but you neglected to give an explicit monetary goal. Let’s say you’re raising money to study abroad in France. In your pitch, you need to outline the costs associated with your trip. How much will you need for airfare? What will be the cost of tuition? And how much do you need for pocket money? Clearly state how much you need and explain how the money will be used for a more successful, organized fundraiser.
  2. You don't give a concise, compelling reason to donate.
    You can’t expect donors to give their hard-earned money without a good reason. There are hundreds of thousands of fundraisers: why should people support yours? The strength of a solid story is especially important when you’re creating a campaign on a fundraising site. When describing your campaign, don’t be caught up in long-winded explanations or irrelevant side stories. Just include the essentials—state the purpose of the fundraiser, who will receive the funds raised, and why you need the money.
  3. You don't get emotional.
    You shouldn’t tell the donor they should feel obliged to give money, but don’t be afraid to tug at donors’ heartstrings in your campaign description. A strong fundraising campaign comes with a compelling, compassionate story that makes a donor feel like their money will make a difference. Remember to personalize your campaign page with pictures, videos, and fundraiser updates!
  4. You neglect networking.
    While you may receive the occasional donation as a random act of kindness, the success of your crowdfunding will rely on your networking skills. As soon as you perfect your online fundraiser, share your page on Facebook, tweet the URL, call your grandmother and teach her how to donate. Hopefully, by way of degrees of separation, your fundraiser will reach friends of friends across the internet. The power of the word-of-mouth should not be underestimated.
  5. You don't send out the promised rewards.
    This one’s for you aspiring entrepreneurs. Fundraising sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer perks or rewards to backers who give a particular amount. For example, people who give $50 will receive a limited edition t-shirt when the fundraiser is finished. In this regard, Kickstarter acts differently than donation-centric websites; you have to follow through with your promise. Failing to give your backers the promised rewards can leave you open to a lawsuit. 
Last Updated: January 17, 2017