Tips & Advice
- 07 July 2013
- by Kushaan Shah
Fundraising is one of the best ways to make a difference on a large scale. You’re able to market your cause to more people and effectively use the money to make your community a better place. With the evolution of the digital world, many teenagers can now raise hundreds for their volunteer projects or charities from the comfort of their computer desk. This relatively new phenomenon of virtual fundraising, called Crowdfunding, enables you to market your cause to one of the largest pools of donors possible: the internet.
How exactly does Crowdfunding work? It is a reward – based system where you set funding goals and offer incentives for people to donate. The first step is to define your project and set a concrete and realistic path to completion; once you know exactly what you want to do, you set benchmarks and offer some sort of exchange. For example, if you want to raise money for children’s hospital to fight cancer, you can inform your donors that you will do something special for them if they donate $20 (i.e. write them a thank you note, send them candy etc.)
The most effective Crowdfunding campaigns not only require careful planning for goals and rewards, but also have more holistic qualities that make them huge hits in the community. According to StartSomeGood, a Crowdfunding platform for non-profits and changemakers, the best campaigns are:
Shareable - Concise enough to have backers understand your goals
Tangible - Realistic enough to make backers believe in your goals
Personal - Establish an emotional connection with your backers
Rewarding - Offer fun and eclectic rewards to incentivize backers
The best crowd funders are the ones who take an active approach, connecting early with friends and fellow students, and also maintaining persistence through the length of their campaign. “Successful crowdfunding ventures do not just appear out of thin air,” explains 17-year-old Jared Kleinert, who founded his own Crowdfunding platform Synergeist. “Most successful projects do pre-campaign work for at least 2-4 weeks in order to make sure their personal communities are intact and ready to support.” Just like you would invest a lot of time in volunteering, Jared compares the time investment of Crowdfunding to that of a full-time job.
As a teenager, Jared embraced the benefits of Crowdfunding and encourages other teenagers not to be intimidated. “To our advantage, age always makes for a great story; doing something unique as a teenager makes it that much easier to raise money.”
StartSomeGood echoed this message. “Don't feel limited by your youth - telling the story of what you aspire to at such a young age can be a particularly compelling hook for your campaign! Many people are passionate about the capabilities of young people to change the world.”
The benefits of Crowdfunding are multi-faceted. Not only can you get money, but you can also gain an entire network of backers interested in your cause. Starting with small goals could eventually lead to unimaginable results. There is no ceiling to the impact of a Crowdfunding campaign.
How do you get started? If you have an idea for a Crowdfunding campaign, your best friend will be the Internet. Find the best platform and read other success stories to point you in the right direction for success. While StartSomeGood is one of the many platforms that support Crowdfunding, it is one of the best for individuals with a vision to better their community.
“You should also find mentors who are well-respected and have experience in your field,” adds Jared. “Having those people on your side with the knowledge, resources, and impact to make things happen will do wonders in educating you and putting you on the right track for success with your campaign.”