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How to Start a Fundraiser in 2021

Do you want to learn how to start a fundraiser that successfully gathers funds and all the resources needed for you to achieve your objective? No matter if you’re an individual trying to fund your product launch or if you’re part of a non-profit organization raising money for a cause, fundraisers are the way to take the good ideas out of the paper.

Due to the pandemic caused by the covid-19, practically all campaigns have  moved online, making fundraisers and donors adapt to the new reality. And thanks to the internet now you can count on donors from any place in the world. All you need is a well-built fundraiser campaign.

Gathering funds for your project or social cause through internet resources, like fundraising platforms, social media, and website pages are what can make your cause global.

Web forms are also your ally on this quest. You may know that payment forms can be used for an online business to sell products or services. But do you know that they can also be used by non-profits and individuals that are creating a fundraiser?

To get donations with a web form is easy, quick, and with Stripe, you have only one small fee of 1% per transaction.

So, don’t waste any more time wondering how to do your fundraiser, or thinking if it will be successful. Follow this step-by-step and get it done. 

What is a fundraiser?

Do you know that great idea you had for a revolutionary product that can change the history of e-commerce? Or your plans to give an upgrade to the houses of your community? Dreams that are nothing but dreams for lack of money? Well, you can change your status for “entrepreneur” now with a fundraiser campaign. 

The process is simple: you come up with the idea and the plans to put it into practice, people from everywhere on Earth come up with the money.

But, to make that work, there are a few steps you must follow, and things you must arrange in advance  so you can conquer the trust from donors and get the amount you need to make your project real.

Fundraiser in numbers

Are you having second thoughts if a fundraiser is the best choice for you? We have a few data that may help you push forward the idea and start to plan your fundraiser soon.

55% of Millennial donors prefer to donate in some online way (credit/debit cards);

Social media sharing posts are responsible for 39% of donation from Millennials;

Only last year there were 6,455,080 worldwide crowdfunding campaigns;

The average of successful crowdfunding campaigns is 22.4%;

A crowdfunding campaign lasts, on average, 9 weeks;

11 days is the average time a successful campaign takes to be arranged  before the page launches.

How to build your own Fundraiser

Building a campaign for fundraising may seem quick and easy. But, when not done properly, a fundraiser can not generate the amount you need to give life to your projects. So, be aware of all the steps you must follow and carefully create your campaign. After all, being fast doesn’t mean being perfect. And, as just said, on average, a successful fundraiser takes 11 days to be arranged before even being launched.

To keep your campaign organized and help you see every step with closer eyes, we are separating the steps into three parts: before the campaign steps, during the campaign steps, and post-campaign steps.

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Before the campaign

So you have a terrific idea that can change the world, create jobs, help people, improve lives. But, you got no funds to put it into practice. Luckily there are hundreds of people out there eager to help great ideas take wings and fly. But, before they reach out for yours, you must follow a few steps. And, believe it or not, most of these steps, and the most important ones, come before putting your fundraiser into the world. You’ll need to define your goals, choose a platform to raise funds, and define your strategy. 

Step 1 - Set a Goal

Goals are the first action for all your plans. Without a goal, an objective, you can’t take any action or choose any direction. So, the first step couldn’t be other than settling on a goal for your fundraiser campaign. 

A fundraiser goal is the amount of money you need to raise. Therefore, you must decide how much you need to accomplish your project. For this reason, it is important to do a lot of research, have all the papers and data that proves your goal isn’t too much (neither less), and that also can define a proper amount to put the project on movement.

One more reason for being well prepared and knowing exactly how much money you need is because some platforms won’t give you the raised money unless it reaches the settled goal. Because of it, ask exactly (or the closest you can get to it) what you need for your project. It is the first step, but also, the most important of them all.

Only a realistic and precise goal can be reached and let you put into practice your idea.

Step 2 - Choose a fundraiser platform

The fundraiser platform is one of the main places where you’ll gain visibility and can find donors interested in your project. You must be sure that the platform you’re choosing corresponds to what you want to achieve and if it is related to your project. If it is on arts, there are platforms for it, if you’re developing a new product, it will be a different platform, and for charity, a completely new one. So, study all platforms out there and see which one you can most benefited from. Remember to read with extra attention the platform’s fundraiser rules since it can give you a better perspective of its function and how they are going to help you achieve your goal.

Only because a certain platform has more visitors per month, doesn’t mean your project will succeed on it. It’s all about being on targeted campaigns and platforms.

We have selected  5 platforms, with different purposes and target campaigns.

5 top fundraiser platforms and tools

#1 GoFundMe

One of the most well-known fundraiser platforms online. With more than 490 million users from the entire world, GoFundMe has, on average, 31 visits per second, and approximately 50 million donors. The platform is responsible for more than $9 BILLION in donations for millions of projects. 

GoFundMe is a platform that accepts projects both from charity organizations and individuals. They have two sign up fundraiser options:

1. Free plan doesn’t charge for any platform fee, but they do keep a small percentage (1.9%) plus $0.30 per donation for processing.

2. Flex subscription has a 3% platform fee plus the processing fee of 2.2% plus $0.30 per donation. In this option, the donor can choose to cover the processing fee.

#2 Kickstarter

Made to support creative projects to gain life, Kickstarter has helped, since its launch in 2009, 19 million people to conquer their goals in art projects. They have a total of 197,750 projects brought to life thanks to donations made in their platform.

Both individuals and organizations can create a fundraiser on Kickstarter as long as they fulfill the entire list of requirements, which includes being in one of the operating countries of  the platform. Remember, to start a fundraiser on Kickstarter your idea must be new and original.

Kickstarter has a single fee system that is 5% of the total funds raised and a 3% plus $0.20 per pledge.

#3 Indiegogo 

With more than 10 million visitors per month, Indiegogo is the platform for entrepreneurs. If you’re looking forward to launching your product, start your own business, then, this is the best place for you. They are present in 235 countries, receiving donations and letting users create new campaigns and projects around the globe, having, so far, approximately 19k campaigns launched on their platform per month.

If you’re running a campaign in the US you’ll be charged a platform fee of 5% and 2.9% plus $0.30 in transaction fee. If you’re outside the US, see the fees and rules specific to your country.

#4 Fundly

With the motto “Raise money for anything”, Fundly is a fundraiser platform for all kinds of projects, built for individuals or organizations. Located in the US, this platform lets you personalize your project page and easily spread the news of your fundraiser.

Fundly works for several areas so you can have your project added and be easily found by donors. You can see categories of fundraisers ranging from natural disasters to creative projects.

They have a platform fee of 4.9% and a credit card processing fee of 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction

#5 MightyForms

Although MightyForms is not a fundraiser platform per se, you can use its resources to raise funds for any project you have, being an organization or as an individual. You can build your form, using one of our free templates for a fundraiser, or creating your own form from scratch, and sharing the form with friends, families, and followers, or even embedding it on your website page or as a social media post and on its bio.

With MightyForms you can count on having a free account, or upgrade it to fit your goals. If you are part of a non-profit, reach out to our support team and get a special deal  made just for you. And as for the fees, it is the standard fee for Stripe payments and it is only 1% of each transaction. And you can let the donor decide if it will be a one-time donation, let them decide the amount they want to donate, or if they are up to recurring donations. With the Stripe integration, you can do more with your forms and build a great donation form that will help you achieve your goals and deliver your project.

Later on we talk about how to build a donation form that will drive donors in.

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Step 3 - Define your strategy

Let’s begin this step with a giant question you must answer: What is your promotion?

This is an important step, and this question is crucial to make this part of the process done. You had already chosen the most appropriate platform for your fundraiser by this point. Now you must think about how you’re going to promote the project to maximize your reach and achieve your goal. 

It’s time for you to define your strategy to spread the word about your fundraiser. How do you plan to promote your idea?

Due to the pandemic caused by the covid-19, we are in the second year where everything is online. Use this as an opportunity to conquer the world, by literally sending your campaign to all countries possible, reaching out to people willing to help bring to life new and good ideas. Don’t settle for local.

To help with that, you can use integrations that automatically translate your forms, and then you can have access to the maximum number of people, creating the possibility to achieve your goal sooner than you expected.

One more thing to think about in this step is what you can give to  donors in order to thank them for helping you. But we will discuss this further later, here you just have an idea of what you can pledge. Remember to be realistic in your promises. For example, if you’re building sustainable wood-made watches, promise percentages of discounts depending on the value donated until you give the watch itself. 

But let’s get back to how you will promote your campaign. We give you three possibilities to help you, and it’s advised that you use all three, to maximize your reach.

Using social media

Social media has a great visibility power. And it is about time for you to use it in your favor and in favor of your fundraiser. Create a Facebook Page for your campaign, invite your friends and family, ask them to help you with the promotion. Create a Twitter account only for the fundraiser, and also an Instagram account. Daily update all the platforms with news about the fundraiser, telling the followers how much you have raised, how much to go yet, and also telling more about your project. Inform and educate the followers.

Using email

Create an email campaign, use a lead generation form, or even contact forms, to gather more leads, people that can help you with the fundraiser. Send weekly or quarterly emails with reports and tell more about the project, giving reasons for them to contribute to the fundraiser.

Creating a website for your project

Creating a website is a quick way to let any potential donor get to know more about your projects and fundraiser. Add landing pages with reports, history, people that are part of it, testimonials, and any other relevant data and information that can help your website being found online and also that will create the spark of sharing from the readers. Being open about your fundraiser can contribute to the gathering of donors since it makes your fundraiser trustworthy.

For the Campaign

Now you’ve defined all the details of your campaign, it’s time to roll up your leaves and get it done. Build the campaign on one of the platforms you have chosen a priori and promote it as much as you can, always asking for others to help with the promotion. 

How you deal with the fundraiser has a direct impact on its success. So, don’t rest and keep close attention to all the details of your fundraiser.

Step 4 - Tell your story like a pro

Knowing how to be a storyteller can help you, but even if you don’t have the techniques of a good storyteller, you can give your personal touch and convince most people to donate to your cause or project.

When telling the story behind the fundraiser be honest and try to cover all details. Answering the 6W’s questions is a good resource to help you create and develop the story.

The Who talks about the one that will be benefited from the fundraiser. It can be yourself, but it can also be the organization, non-profit, or group you’re part of.

The What refers to what are the funds for, for what you need the money you’re raising.

Where refers to the location where the fundraiser will be used. If it’s to help people in other countries, or if it’s local, it is important to make it clear.

The When refers to the time necessary to raise the funds, plus the time for the project or cause to begin to be functional, for the project to be launched, or to send the funds to aid a social cause.

Why is the fundraiser needed? Why is that specific amount of money necessary?

And the HoW talks about your connection to the cause or project being developed. How will you be affected by the fundraiser?

Step 5 - Share and promote the fundraiser campaign

We already gave you the tips for you to be prepared for this step when we talked above about your strategy. Now is time to take your plan of action and put it into practice. Share your campaign in all places and with the most people possible. Use your social media, create pages only for the fundraiser. Don’t be shy. The more people knowing about your campaign, the more are the chances of success.

Bring friends and family into this step. Ask them to help not only with the money but especially with the promotion.

Promoting your campaign is crucial. Is the only way you can actually gather the necessary funds.  Since you have done great work with the foundations of your campaign, when you finally reach the step of promoting it, you won’t have much to worry about. You have everything related to the campaign recorded and organized. You’ve prepared a solid base for this moment. This means that you're promoting something that can be trusted, which is an effective way to draw donors’ attention.

Use as many online channels as possible to promote the fundraiser. Write about it, or make videos, update all the social media constantly, use the right keywords for your campaign. 

Ideas to promote your fundraiser:

- Write Blog Articles

- Produce Videos for YouTube and your blog

- Share all the contents and update your Social Media with new posts daily

- Send Emails to potential donors

After the Campaign

The campaign is over, you have reached your goal. So, there is nothing else to do. Well, this is not quite right. There is still a lot to be done for your fundraiser  And finalizing your campaign can take more time than you’ve expected. And it includes thanking, in some notable way, all the donors, after all, without them, you wouldn't have any means to start your project.

Step 6 - Thank the donors

With a successful fundraiser you have  a great responsibility, where you must disclose with the donors, - that are like part of your team, part of your project, - all the documents, and proofs, and also must keep your promises. If you’re fundraising in order to self publish and have promised discounts or a copy of the book itself, you must deliver it to your donor. So, it is important to always make realistic promises, as we said above. 

Not always you promise something tangible back to the donor. Sometimes all you have to give back is the proof that their money truly helped people. Let’s say you were raising funds to build houses in a poor community. Send pictures and video testimonials to the donors. That might be thanks enough.

Step 7 - Deliver on your promises

No matter if you’re raising funds for your startup, non-profit organization, a humanitarian cause, for the launch of a product, or even to help a sick friend. By the end of it, you must show the results and fulfill your promises.

Your friend must receive the necessary treatment, the donors deserve a copy of your book, and the students you promise new computers (just an example of a cause you can help with) must receive them.

Delivery of your promises means that you’ll reap the rewards and distribute them to everyone belonging to your project. Be honest from the top until the end. Don’t ask for too much at the beginning, do more if you got more money than you had anticipated.

How to build your own Fundraiser Form

With a fundraiser form you have the liberty to do things freely, in the way that is most convenient for you, your organization, and your goal.

You can build a fundraiser website, and create targeting landing pages that bring more donors to the page, and to the form.

To build a donation form using MightyForms you don’t have to worry about fees and taxes. You can talk to the support team, building an exclusive plan for your fundraising, plus you’ll have the 1% fee for the Stripe per donation, but you can leave it up to the donor to give you a tip to cover that fee.

Step 1 - Add a Payment field to receive Donations

You can start to build your forms from scratch, from a PDF file, importing from another form builder, or from a template. We have several free donation form templates to give a boost to your process.

Add all the fields you believe are necessary, don’t forget to mark as required the ones you believe contain data you can’t work without, like the email address or if it is a recurring or one-time donation.

Step 2 - Customize the Form Design

Now it’s time for you to customize your form, making it attractive to donors, and also giving the fundraiser personality, by adding its characteristics.

Change the background image, use the same color scheme and typography of the rest of your page, Add photos to exemplify your project. And also testimonials from past projects, from previous donors (if applicable), from the benefited ones, in sum, offer social proof.

Making the form multi-step also helps you to keep the donor’s attention and raise the complete donations rate. That’s because you’re making the form more interactive and less overwhelming. Multi-step forms are extremely recommended if your form is long, so you can separate the questions by topics.

Design a New Form

Step 3 - Automate Frequent Tasks

The last step is to add any feature and integration that can automate your form, streamlining your donation process.

Send an automatic thank you note, after each submission, along with a PDF copy that can work as a receipt of the donation. Collect signatures, making the donation form a legal document, and you can also send an automatic nice reminder to those that started but abandoned the form.

MightyForms has what you need to build a successful fundraiser. If you have any doubts or if you’re looking for a custom plan, don’t hesitate to talk to our team. Together we can help your fundraiser gather the funds you need.


Heloise Montini

Heloise Montini is a journalist and SEO specialist. She writes about travel, news, and, as a hobby, creative writing. She is always available for new challenges and learning.