Dollar bills

Image courtesy Flickr user Surat Lozowick.

Crowdfunding may be a new way to raise money, but people have been fundraising forever. Let's take a look at some of the basics of fundraising and how they might apply to running your campaign.

Create a relationship with your contributors.

First, give your potential contributors something. Don't make your ask the first time you communicate. If you've already established this relationship (in the form of making art, building a volunteer base, publishing a blog), great. If not, consider solidifying your audience by reaching out to your supporters, volunteers, patrons, buyers — whoever you've been interacting with already — with a little content before coming at them with a request for financial support. 

Craft an artful ask based on a real desire.

What do we mean by an "artful" ask? People get asked to give money all the time. Make your request stand out from the crowd by offering something unique, or phrasing your needs in a new and creative way.

IndieGoGo campaigns already have a head start doing this by basing their funding requests on unique perks, but  you can also do this by narrowing the focus of your ask, stating the obvious or making it humorous, or showing what might happen if your campaign doesn't succeed.

Basing your fundraising efforts on your audience's real desire means phrasing your campaign ask in a way that clearly fulfills your contributors' desire for something. This could be a desire to:

– belong to a greater movement or group

– be charitable and make the world a better place

– support the arts

– help a particular cause, region, or group

This is simpler than it sounds, sometimes just a matter of saying, "If you're a person who cares about ______, you'll care about us." Atlantis Books, for instance, appeals to its contributors' desire to take part in an adventure.

Don't forget to thank them.

This is the most important part of your campaign. With IndieGoGo your thank you is, in some way, already a part of your campaign and automatic with the fulfillment of perks. But not everyone requests a perk. So you should remember to take time out to write a personal thank you to everyone who contributes to your campaign.

You should thank them immediately upon receipt of their contribution, and then again at the conclusion of your campaign.

Keep up communication.

Just as important as thanking your audience is continuing to build a relationship with them. There are several ways to do this:

– Use the Updates feature on IndieGoGo.

– Communicate with your contributors at the conclusion of your campaign with information about how to stay informed.

– Build a mailing list or email list.

– Start a blog.

– Utilize a Facebook Page or Group.

The main thing is getting the contact information of your contributors and providing them regular updates on your progress. That way if you ever decide to run another campaign, you'll already have completed step one of the fundraising process!