Your crowdfunding campaign has ended after months of planning, execution, and promotion.
You exhale a deep sigh of relief, saying to yourself, “Mission accomplished!”
Except you’re not quite finished.
You’ve got loose ends that if left untied may jeopardize the success of future fundraising efforts. Fortunately, it’s easy to see this series of to-dos as a victory lap.
Here are the 5 ways you need to dot your “I”s and cross your “T”s when your campaign’s almost done:
1. Thank your donors
Hopefully, you’ve already anticipated this step halfway through the campaign and have drafted a thank you message to send to donors.
Finalize your message before the campaign ends. Then shortly after the fundraiser concludes, prepare the list of donors and their email addresses. If possible, use an email marketing platform – e.g., MailChimp or Constant Contact – to send your message within a few days of the close of the campaign.
You could also thank donors throughout the course of the crowdfunding campaign. For example, if you’re automatically acknowledging receipt of donations from online donors via email, and you’re able to send customized receipts, include a brief message expressing your gratitude for their gift.
2. Recognize key supporters in the campaign
If your nonprofit’s short-staffed, you probably relied heavily on volunteers to help you execute the different elements of the campaign: the college junior, the stay-at-home dad, the intern, the breadwinning mom.
Whether it’s in the thank you email you send to everyone involved, or on your blog and social media channels, talk ‘em up.
This is your chance to pretend you have the Oscar for Best Picture and you’re giving your acceptance speech. But this is better because there’s no orchestra to shoo you off-stage with sweeping music.
3. Tell everyone how the campaign went
Remember that time you refurbished that armoire you got at the flea market? Or when you ran that marathon? Or went on that cross-country road trip? Or babysat two kids, by yourself, for twelve hours?
Then your friends were all like, “How’d it go?” ‘cause whatever it is you accomplished was nothing less than a herculean feat.
Your friends, especially those who helped you prepare, want to know how it went, after all, is said and done.
Likewise, regardless of the results – whether or not you reached the goal – send your community an update or a newsletter reflecting on the progress.
If you’ve met, or even, exceeded the goal, you’ll energize everyone; you can ride on the euphoria of this campaign as momentum for your next one!
If you came up short, this update could boost morale and may motivate your community to make up for the deficit by getting more donations. Remind everyone why the campaign happened in the first place, and focus more on what was accomplished.
4. Give special thanks to your campaign MVPs
While championships in most sports are won by the collective effort of the team, there’ll be a few people who distinguish themselves with outstanding performance. Your crowdfunding campaign’s similar.
If you’re using a platform like CauseVox to run your campaign, it’ll be easy to see who among your community, an individual or a team, were the top fundraisers. Depending on the participation level, you could select more than one “MVP” per category.
Once you’ve identified the MVPs, get some nice stationery and write each of them a thank you note.
A few years ago, I ordered some clothes from a Wisconsin-based retailer; shortly after receiving my order, I received a card written by one of their customer service staff. In it, they thanked me for my business and included an email address to write to with any questions or concerns. I could tell the writer was left-handed, judging from the handwriting.
This simple yet lovely token of appreciation for, what, shopping online?
Especially in this digital age, a handwritten note conveys so much more than just the message. The unwritten elements of your letter – the extra time & effort to write (legibly) and the cost of postage – are as, if not more, telling as your choice of words.
5. Show where the money went
The campaign raised a specific amount of money to fill a specific purpose, so some months after the fundraiser, update the community on the impact of the donations. This looks something like, “Thanks to your gift, we built a well in [name of the village]; they don’t have to trek hours to get clean water anymore. See for yourself: here are the GPS coordinates of our well.”
Everyone who participated entrusted you with their time, talents, and money in this campaign. With this update, you’re assuring them that you’re a trustworthy, faithful steward of their resources.
Please, and Thank You
Basically, you spent most of the campaign asking, “Please” a lot, so consider these final five tasks as your “Thank you”. A gracious, thoughtful host will find his parties well-attended. Likewise, as you cultivate conscientiousness and gratitude through these habits, your community will grow to anticipate your crowdfunding campaigns.