Leveraging Social Media to Maximize your Fundraiser

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Earlier this year I decided to run my first marathon and create a Fundraiser around the race. I had always donated when friends and co-workers were participating in an event for a cause. Regretfully, I had never done anything proactive myself. My very good friend Tony whom I’ve known since High School has a son Drew who was diagnosed with a fatal degenerative disease know as Batten Disease in 2007. So it was a no-brainer for me that I would be running for Drew’s Hope Research Foundation.

The research began to find a platform where I could get the word out and would securely and easily accept donations. After many hours on the net I found Crowdrise. It was the best solution for my needs would allow me to get this fundraiser off the ground.


Crowdrise – Turns out Crowdrise has had plenty of publicity and actor Ed Norton is one of the founders. Many of the other online fundraising sites require you to actually be from the nonprofit. Crowdrise caters to fundraisers, projects, and charities. It really has a social media flavor to it, allowing you to upload pictures and videos to your page. Here is the page I created: Run for Drew Crowdrise Page Crowdrise also allows you to easily tweet, post to Facebook, and e-mail all directly from your page. Another pro on crowdrise was how the charity gets paid. Instead of waiting until the event is completed, a check is sent each month in the amount that was collected in the previous thirty days. My only complaint with Crowdrise was the optional tip they asked for at checkout, on top of the 6-9% taken out for fees (on the higher end). Overall though Crowdrise delivered and the experience was positive.

Using the Big Four – I also used Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google + to get the word out. My network also did an excellent job of spreading the word through retweet’s and sharing. I was conscious of the frequency with which I communicated the message. The first week and last week I sent it out twice on all four networks. In between, it was once every four weeks. This was a good balance. Probably not surprising to most, Facebook turned out to be the most beneficial network.

E-Mail – It was paramount that I send a message to all my Facebook friends that knew Tony from East Brunswick High School (NJ). Simple enough right? Well yes fairly simple. I exported all the addresses from Facebook (How to Export E-mail addresses from Facebook) to a .CSV file, did some filtering, and now had my list. I sent my message through G-Mail, and kept my recipients to fewer than 100. I did this once to kickoff, and again closer to the event (to people that hadn’t made a donation). Facebook was a huge help to the entire project.

Set a Goal, but Temper Expectations – The goal was to raise $10K. I figured 200 people at $50 was realistic. I remember as the months progressed being disappointed in many that didn’t donate. I spoke to a good friend that brought me back to earth. My friend pointed out that you don’t know everyone’s financial situation and/or they had it on their list but forgot. Or perhaps donating a small amount would be embarrassing. My thought is no amount is embarrassing, but I understand. The economic climate isn’t the best for raising money, so keep your goal conservative and expectations in check. Say Thank You directly to all that donate. It was a great experience that I would highly suggest. A total of $4040 was raised for Drew’s Hope.

22 comments
socialhospitality
socialhospitality

Awesome case study and congrats on raising so much money for a great cause!

DniseSonnenberg
DniseSonnenberg

Impressive Steve. Both in what you did and how you did it. I like the Crowdrise app. Thanks for pointing this out. I think I have a use for this in the future.

24x7Media
24x7Media

Fantastic case study, both in your writing and that it told Your story.

IndyAgent
IndyAgent

Congrats on raising funds for Drew's Hope and appreciate you sharing your first attempt at online fundraising.

RachelAnnPoling
RachelAnnPoling

Thanks for the tip! I have a feeling I'll be using Crowdrise in the future!

WriteOnOnline
WriteOnOnline

What a wonderful how-to for people who want to create their own fundraisers! Really great info. Thanks!

devinelines
devinelines

Thanks for the tip on Crowdrise. I also didn't know you could export email addresses from Facebook! This will be very useful since my daughter is doing her own fundraising for a mission trip to Africa next year. Thanks!

momzilla54
momzilla54

I never heard of Crowdrise, and am so glad that you posted this - particularly your insight on expectations and the economic climate.

Wireless_Geek
Wireless_Geek

Thanks for sharing this info. I'll definitely have to check out Crowdrise.

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

Thanks Stacey, yes overall Crowdrise was a good platform...and provided a lighthearted environment...

staceysoleil
staceysoleil

Thank you for the insights on crowdrise. I have been wondering if it is effective or not. Congrats on a successful fundraiser!

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

@momzilla54 Thanks for the comments Susan....The experience presented some challenges, but happy with the end result. Thanks for coming by...