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“Know thyself…”

The first step of launching a crowdfunding or online fundraising campaign is looking at who you are and creating a point of view.

Your point of view is how you and your organization see the world. It answers three questions:

1. What is broken with the world?
2. Who are the people it affects?
3. What is your unique approach for change?

It’s the foundation on which your efforts stand. Your point of view makes you different. It makes you unique and unlike any others. Your point of view helps you relate to your donors and supporters when you tell its story.

Crafting a point of view

Point of View = Problem + Approach + People

The building blocks of your point of view include the problem, approach, and people. These each have equal weights.

To create a point of view, follow these three steps. You may want to gather a core team of people together in a pow-wow session to hash these out.

1. Identify the problem

Your vision is a long-term view of how you want the world to operate. It’s what you imagine the world being like if it was a better world.

Your vision should be able to move people to action. It should be tangible.

2. Build an approach

Your approach is your way of creating change in the world. It ties in your strengths and your unique approach to solving the world’s greatest social problems.

Think of your approach as the steps or process that will solve the social problem. It should include your vision, goals, and values.

3. Define the people

You can’t boil the ocean, nor can you solve every social problem at once. Narrow the group of people or issue you are trying to solve so that you can effect and measure change.

These are the people that you are serving as well as the people that you are getting to serve – whether it is supporters, donors, and even organizations.

Goals

Set a fundraising goal

Now that you’ve set your point of view, you can set a fundraising goal. Your fundraising goal can be purely financial (ex. $50,000), an impact goal (ex. number of kids in school), or even extend to awareness based (ex. number of Facebook Likes).

Brainstorm your goal

Setting an crowdfunding or online fundraising campaign goal is an art. You have to strike a balance between what is achievable against what is a reach.

If you’ve crowdfunded online before, do a quick audit of your financials to determine what you think is achievable. Ask yourself a few questions:

  1. How much have we raised online in the past year?
  2. What is the average amount that we have raised at an event?
  3. What is the average donation amount online for us?

If this is your first time with crowdfunding or online fundraising, you can ask yourself:

  1. How much do I need to make a difference?
  2. How much does the product or service that I want to create cost?
  3. How much did similar projects raise?

SMART goals

Take what you’ve brainstormed and use the SMART framework to write it down.

The SMART framework is a useful tool in setting these goals. SMART goals contain five unique characteristics.

  • Specific – Goals should be focused, clear, and unambiguous. Being specific sets expectations on the same level and helps everyone get on the same page. Also, specific goals lend itself towards easier measurement.
  • Measurable – Goals that are measurable can be tracked and progress can be reported. This communicates to supporters and stakeholders the definition of success. In addition, measurable objectives let you know if efforts need to be adjusted to be more effective.
  • Attainable – Goals that are realistic yet require a stretch or effort to reach them. The objective can’t be out of reach or below what is reasonably achievable. Setting attainable objectives sets a meaningful course for the campaign.
  • Relevant – Relevance means that objectives are aligned with your mission and cause. Campaign objectives that don’t further your mission or cause become a distraction from a non-profit’s true purpose. In addition, irrelevant objectives may confuse supporters.
  • Timely – Campaigns must have a start and end date. This helps with motivating supporters and creates urgency in the campaign. Cultural and world events should also be considered to provide timeliness to a campaign.
Rob Wu is the CEO and a Founder at CauseVox. Recently, he raised $125,000 in 10 days via social media and crowdfunding.

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