Raising money for a cause - how can it be done?

2017-10-27 13:42

If there is a charity or cause close to your heart, you may find that your own contributions are simply not enough to fund it.

Whether you are raising money for a cancer patient, orphanages or for a local animal shelter, there are many ways in which to do this.

But in a world where getting crowdfunding is the norm and everyone is shouting at once about their charitable cause or their need to tour the world on a bike to “find themselves”, how do you stand out from the crowd and get the financial backing that you need?


1. Be clear about your objectives and set a target amount

How much money do you need and why do you need it?

What are you going to do with the rest once you have reached your target amount?

These are all questions you should be able to answer, especially if you’re talking about your cause in the media, be it social media or more traditional publications.

2. Register on a crowdfunding website

There are a number of them out there, such as Back a Buddy and Given Gain, for example. Some sites are specialist crowdfunding sites, focusing on a specific issue.

Standard Bank-backed, for example, is a crowdfunding platform for students looking to fund their tertiary education.

A lot of charities also adopt technology to make it easier for people to donate.

Gift of the Givers, for example, recently launched a mobile app to facilitate simple, seamless and secure donations. Highlight these portals so that people feel more secure when donating.

“These are credible platforms, but please make sure your cause or organisation is legitimate and has the requisite legal entity in place,” says Kaz Henderson, managing editor of website Change News, which supports good work conducted in communities.

3. Draft a short overview of the organisation

Outline your goals on a website or crowdfunding page and explain clearly what you need the funds for.

“This [a link to your goals] can be sent to relevant media, as well as used as a newsletter if you have a subscriber base.

"If there is no subscriber base, set up a regular newsletter to get people to join up so they can be informed about what you are doing – direct marketing is the way to go.

"A call to action is essential and some emotion that will connect with your target audience, but without making the reader feel guilty. It’s all in the message,” adds Henderson.

4. Make use of social media to get the message out

Create a post that includes an image and short overview (too much text won’t work) and a link to where you want people to get more information.

“Post to all your social-media channels and tag in the people you know and ask them to forward it on.

"This can also include WhatsApp – we have seen a rise in the use of this medium when it comes to voting polls, for example. It gets the word out directly and quickly."

5. Contact the media

If there’s a story to tell that you think would move people and get them to donate, then contact radio stations, local newspapers – and even national publications if you can – and organise for a journalist or radio commentator to interview you.

Write press statements of achievements reached by your cause or organisation, and alert the media to any events you host.

The more people you reach, the more awareness you can create and the more money you could potentially generate for your cause.

6. Stage an awareness drive

You may not have the budget for doing something on a grand scale, but it’s possible to create awareness on a shoe-string budget.

If you’re participating in a road race, why not wear a T-shirt with details of your cause printed on it?

There are many ways to create public awareness for a cause.

“Why not organise that your friends and family dress in pink from head-to-toe (hair included and men too), and stand at robots with placards or collection cans to raise funds for a cancer organisation,” suggests Henderson.

7. Update and inform your funders

There’s a fine line between highlighting your cause and annoyingly begging and pressuring people into donating money. Keep people informed regularly, but don’t spam them.

“Don’t be a one-hit wonder, but also don’t annoy with too many pleas and too much begging.

"Campaigns that have some form of recognition or acknowledgement for someone’s contributions, work the best.

"For example, when someone donates on your chosen collection platform, say thank you,” says Henderson.

It’s important to keep lines of communication open to ensure that funders continue to give and feel at ease with what they’ve pledged.

“When it’s all over, send out a report with the outcomes and thanks,” recommends Henderson.

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April 22 2018