There are a number of distinctive differences between charity, rewards and customer crowdfunding. However, all forms of successful crowdfunding require an understanding of the person who is going to write the check whether they are a donor, a customer or an investor. Their motivation not only determines whether they will provide the needed funds, but whether they will even look at the proposal.
In charity crowdfunding, it may appear that the motivation of a donor is less important than that of a customer in a rewards campaign or of an investor in an investment campaign, but my opinion is that the issue of motivation is more important. In other forms of campaigns, the person writing the check is getting something of current and/or future value. In a charity campaign, the donor typically expects and receives nothing in return.
To demonstrate this issue, consider a charity crowdfunding campaign that I am currently conducting in support of Plant With Purpose on GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/DakinforPlantWithPurpose
In planning this campaign, with me as the donor and the center of the fundraising activities, I considered who would benefit from the success of the campaign. The primary stakeholders in the campaign are:
- · Myself
- · Plant With Purpose
- · Communities supported by Plant With Purpose
- · Other donors
My contribution (in this case $100) advances my personal goals and missions – helping improve local capital systems and helping restore the planet.
My donation advances the work of Plant With Purpose, but does not provide enough funding to support a new community ($5,000 required).
By asking others to donate through the investment crowdfunding campaign, I stand to leverage my donation and the impact on Plant With Purpose. That benefits both of us, but why would anyone else contribute?
Common reasons may be:
- · Because I asked (representing a benefit of the relationship between myself and the donor)
- · Because they share in my values and want to aid Plant With Purpose
This may be enough within the large number of people in my network. For one or both reasons, I may be able to hit the $6,000 target of my campaign (Gross less fees of GoFundMe).
I did not consider this enough. No matter how I phrased my request to others to join in the campaign and donate, it sounded to me like professional begging. I need money. You have money. Please give me money.
The event of giving felt one sided – as though Plant With Purpose or I was receiving all the benefit and none would be received by another donor.
A successful crowdfunding campaign is dependent upon a relationship between the person asking for funding and the person providing the funding.
After considering this challenge, I decided to offer a reward in the form of a Charity Crowdfunding Campaign Planning Workbook. By offering this reward, I changed the transaction from a gift to a sale – an exchange of values. My approach is not new or original – all kinds of charities offer anything from cookies to pens and notepads.
More importantly than the value of the reward, the offer demonstrates my respect for the donor and an acknowledgement of our relationship. It indicates that I would like for our relationship to continue (or start) and that it will not end after I receive a check.
Too many charities as well as too many businesses do not have a relationship with their donors or customers. They don’t know who they are, their motivations or whether they will provide funding today or tomorrow. Donors/Customers often feel like disposables – used once and thrown away.
By offering a reward, I increased the reasons to donate. Not only is there the value of a relationship with me and the help to Plant With Purpose, but the value of the Workbook. The value will vary greatly from no value at all to enabling an individual to build and conduct their own charity crowdfunding campaign in support of Plant With Purpose or another charity. In addition, my demonstration of respect increases the likelihood that a person may donate for only one of the first two reasons.
By seeking to understand the motivation of a participant in a crowdfunding campaign, it is possible to improve the value of participation and to better communicate that value. Successful crowdfunding may be considered the telling of a story where the offer is too good to refuse.
Karl Dakin, President
Colorado Community Capital PBC