Check your inbox right now.
Is someone asking you for money?
My guess is many people are asking you for it.
Everywhere you look someone is raising money online.
I have been approached by a few people recently to discuss the best way to go about this and I decided to share that info with my readers. So here it is, my top 5 tips for online fundraising.
1. Know the difference between "Friends" and Friends- The online world has become a great equalizer. Gone are the days of the cool kids table, now anyone can be "friends" with the cool kid, but just try and sit with that "friend" at lunch in the real world. Before you bank on your thousand facebook friends or twitter followers to fund your next project, take the time to ask how many of those people are really your friends and are willing to support you. It can be a harsh reality check, but it will save you a lot of time. If it seems that your base of friends is really strong and willing to support you, go ahead and put that page up because you really have a shot, but if no one is returning your calls, online funding may not be for you.
2. Budget your time- Online works in real time meaning that if you step away from your computer for a few days and no one is manning your fundraising campaign, chances are nothing will happen. The best online campaigns seem to respond faster than anyone else. So if you are planning to raise money online, be prepared to spend a lot of time there because you'll be competing with a lot of people every second you're there.
3. You need advocates- Find people with a lot of outreach and a loyal fanbase and get them on your side. The more people who advocate for you and your campaign, the more money you'll be able to raise. Most winning campaigns are the result of the work of a select group of people who spread the online fire. For more insight on this, be sure to read Gladwell's The Tipping Point. Once done, find the three people he mentions in the chapter titled:The Law of the Few.
4. Add value- If every tweet and post is "Please we need money" that song will get old really fast. Think about cool thngs that you can mention about your oroject, promote other projects and causes, tag people and use clever hashtags, the content needs to be interesting so that people come back. If they get value out of reading your posts, they'll be willing to give and tell their friends.
5. Go to the edges- If you are a theatre company, then all of your friends with theatre companies are not going to help you blow up your campaign. Seek people outside of your circle and you'll find that they are more open to giving and helping you. Your show may have a great tie in to a political cause or a particular product, find the fans and reach out to them. Everyone in the arts is pulling from the same well and it's running dry. Be the person who reaches out to a restaurant or a laundromat. The edge is where all the great opportunities are and who knows, there may be a billionaire in those unchartered waters.
So there you have it. Hopefully this is helpful and if you have your own tips, feel free to leave them in the comments below. Excelsior!