Crowdfunding 101: How to raise $1,000 from your couch in your coziest pair of sweatpants


The Slice: Feeling guilty after bailing last minute on a volunteer event I had signed up for a month prior, I challenged myself to raise $1,000 for the organization through a Crowdrise crowdfunding campaign instead.  Spoiler Alert: I reached my goal!  Here’s how…

The Challenge: Fundraise $1,000 for a charity over 10 days utilizing a Crowdrise campaign platform

Difficulty Level:1-green-apple

A lesson in time management
Crowdrise easy donations

I’ll be honest with you.  Last week wasn’t the great
est.  Due to a demanding exam schedule and poor traffic planning (should have
taken the train!), I had to drop out of a volunteer
commitment last minute.  

A lesson I am always working on is not to over commit.

In picking my challenge this week, I was determined to do something that would deliver meaningful results while being more realistic about the time I had to contribute to the effort.  

The challenge

With GivingTuesday as a good end date, I gave myself roughly 10 days to raise $1,000 for scholarships for deserving students enrolled at Alliance Charter School in Los Angeles.  

After just 7 days, I am proud to say that that this was easy fundraising. In the end, I reached my goal, and then some.

Best part about this one is you can do it from the comfort of your home in a pair of your coziest sweatpants.

Pick a cause that’s important to you

Receive DonationsThis is arguably the most important part of a successful crowdfunding campaign.  To receive donations, you must be able to deliver a compelling argument about what this cause or organization means to you.

I chose to fundraise for scholarships for Alliance Charter School students because for the past two years I have volunteered on a committee that reviews applications for these scholarships.  From that experience, I understand the impact these scholarships have on the lives of incredibly deserving kids.  

Pick a platform and start your own fundraiser, or join an existing one

In my case, Alliance already had a campaign on Crowdrise, so I joined their fundraiser and created my personal fundraising page.  

Crowdrise is great because it is easy to use, gives you tools to personalize your page, and allows you to explore other interesting campaigns on the platform.

However, there are tons of crowdfunding platforms out there. All do essentially the same thing, so just pick whichever one feels best to you.

Do write group emails, don’t use bcc, and don’t be afraid to follow up
Crowdrise Receive Donations

Some people say it’s best to send personal emails (or handwritten notes) to those people that you know will donate.  I disagree. Save your effort on personal emails or notes for thank you notes once people donate. 

You never know who is in a position to contribute in a given year.  For this reason, I started with a group email to my closest friends and family.  I also made sure to tell them they are my closest friends and family (hey, it’s true, and it never hurts to make people feel good when you are asking for money).

Never use bcc on these kinds of emails.  It’s impersonal and people will spend more time wondering who else got the email and less time thinking about the cause.  

Always Mention Timing and Goal

I wanted to be able to follow up, so I let the people I contacted know that this was a 10 day campaign.  That way, when I emailed them 5 days later with a “friendly reminder” that they only had 5 more days to contribute, it didn’t seem too pushy.  

Utilize Social MediaEasy Fundraising

I was hesitant at first to ask for money on social
media.  Somehow it felt like pandering.  However, I tried it and actually received 4 contributions in 5 hours from people who I never would have suspected, let alone felt comfortable sending a personal email.  

The list is endless

If you are interested in reading more. Click here and here for additional tips 🙂

The Take-Away:
Crowdrise Receive Donations

This was my favorite challenge to date.  Not only did it make me feel really good to receive donations and raise money, it also made me thankful for and proud of the generosity of my friends and family that contributed.  This is a easy fundraising challenge that I plan to continue annually for every holiday season.

Total money raised after 10 days = $1,775.00

Changing the world from my couch = priceless

Kathleen Bryson is YDA’s community contributor.  She’s feeling very proud of herself right now .

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