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Community Futures Visions North

Box 810, 711 LaRonge Avenue, LaRonge, SK - Phone: (306) 425-2612

Image Credit: Tourism Saskatchewan/Greg Huszar Photography

Lessons From Crowdfunding

  • January 23, 2017
  • Written by Visions North Admin

Show Me the Money!!”

This crowdfunding experience brought up something no one anticipated and it reassured us that going through a campaign, step-by-step, was an excellent learning experience.
Early estimates for 2016 Christmas shopping indicated that almost half of spending would be online. We bank online. We purchase event and travel tickets online. People are using credit cards in unprecedented numbers. An online campaign for fundraising is a no-brainer, right?

Our campaign gave us a real wake-up call right from the start. At the launch, several people approached the organizers and wanted to contribute with a cheque. Later, the group received emails that people wanted to contribute but didn’t want to use PayPal. Wait – did you say cheques?

Online contributions are critical to the success of crowdfunding campaigns. As contributors add their purchases, the total creeps higher and higher toward the goal. Additionally, platforms like allow small organizations to receive payments safely, quickly and easily through an online credit card processor (no NSF cheques or cash to track).
On the other hand, our group was comprised mainly of people over 60 years old. They are not part of the population who are shopping online. Their lack of experience makes them uncomfortable with setting up accounts and sharing their credit card number. They were also not big users of social media platforms that are an inexpensive but really effective method to share the campaign and interest contributors outside of the obvious supporters. When considering the potential audience of the campaign, consider the connectivity of the target audience. Maybe our team would have blown their goal away if it hadn’t been for the barrier of an online purchase!

Our team worked around this situation by taking the cheque then adding the contribution to the online platform using their corporate credit card. The downside of this is that the contact information that is collected as part of the purchase is not added to the contact lists to promote the campaign, thank donors or connect with them for the next campaign.
Although it added a layer of complexity, the team worked around it and made it all work. What a dedicated group! They’ve added the names to their contact lists manually so they can send rewards and contact the contributors again.

In response to the challenges, we created a tip sheet that campaign organizers can send out to their audiences with step-by-step instructions on how to participate from both the desktop or mobile site. Sometimes, success just takes a little support!