When a family you know is struggling, it’s human nature to want to lend a hand. Perhaps the family needs assistance as they deal with an illness, or a parent is struggling with unemployment and unable to make ends meet.
Six Steps to Help Raise Money for a Family In Need
1. Identify how and why fundraising will make a difference
Reach out to the family you want to help and ask how they’re coping with their situation. If they talk about particular challenges, inquire respectfully about how financial support could help ease their burden.
Ask if the family is comfortable with you crowdfunding on their behalf. If so, follow up with a Q&A conversation that helps you tell their story to others who don’t know them personally.
You’ll need to tell potential donors why their contributions are vital to this family. Learn exactly how the funds will be used by the family, so you can explain how and why the support will make a difference. Take a cue from public radio stations, which do a great job of answering the “why” in their fundraising drives. Why is this fundraiser needed? What could happen if people don’t contribute?
2. Give your fundraiser a compelling name that inspires action
The title of your fundraiser is your best chance to introduce people to the family you’re helping.
Include the names of the family in the title—people typically search for fundraisers by the name of the beneficiary. Also consider including the word “family” and a modifier word that helps explain the situation or type of help needed—for example, you may want to help a family fight cancer, support a child with special needs, or recover after a disaster.
Choose a name that’s simple, tells a story, draws interest, and inspires people to action.
3. Write a concise and specific description
Fundraisers for families that gain visibility beyond their local communities raise more money. To make your donation page easier for the public to discover, use words that people are likely to search for when looking for a cause like yours.
This is especially important if the family is in the same boat as other families suffering in the aftermath of a community-wide disaster, as the people search for fundraisers using terms related to that event. Add plenty of details in the description to broaden your appeal to diverse audiences. But avoid writing an essay. The description should be between 300 to 500 words. In other words state the who, what, when and why. Also emphasize the people and why they deserve the donors help.
4. Add photos and/or videos
Donation pages that feature several images are more successful. Pictures give your fundraiser more authenticity and clarity and help people better understand the family’s situation.
Photos and videos that make an emotional impact help donors connect with a family and its needs. Images also make it easier for supporters to share your fundraiser with their own social networks.
Videos should be two to three minutes maximum. Videos do not have to be of professional quality. Shooting a video with your phone is ok just make sure it stresses the reason for the fundraiser. A good video that hits the main points of the fundraiser and helps potential donors identify with the family is great.
5. Follow your fundraiser rollout plan
The first few days of a fundraiser are critical and can greatly influence how successful your fundraiser will be in the long run. First, share it with a few close friends and ask for their feedback. Then share your fundraiser on social media
Since people are more likely to donate if they see others have already donated, you need a rollout strategy to make sure you have a few solid donations before you blast your fundraiser to everyone over social media channels.
A note on blasting your fundraiser; Do not use the “Blast and Pray” approach. The best approach is to do regular updates about the family and the fundraiser. Do not simply post asking people to donate with a link. Post and tweets should be about the Need and the Family, people support people not the fundraiser. Of course include links to the fundraiser but the family’s situation is the point.
Another rollout tip: Start your fundraiser by sending personal fundraising letters to the beneficiary’s closest friends and family. That way you can have a healthy fundraiser even before you share it on social media.
Once you’ve got some momentum going, share the family fundraiser with all your friends and neighbors. Every Donate2it fundraising page has simple tools to help you quickly reach out and share your story on top social networking sites.
On each social media channel where you have connections (for example, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram), invite others to donate to the family in need by posting messages regularly. Always include the URL link to your donation page, and ask recipients to let their connections know about the cause, too.
6. Invite local media coverage
Local news coverage can make a huge difference in the success of family fundraisers. Even though they may not be connected to the family, a surprising number of people in your community will know who they are, having seen them at school functions, clubs, etc. Especially if the family’s hardship arose suddenly, such people may have no idea the family needs help—until they see it on the news.
Here are a few ways press coverage can support fundraising success:
By contacting the local press to request coverage of your online fundraiser, you can raise the likelihood of attracting donations from the larger community, along with the family’s neighbors, colleagues, friends, and acquaintances. Go a step further and Google “How to write a press release” there are plenty of resources on the subject. Many news outlets have email address for the department you will want to reach and having your information in a format they are familiar with will help them understand the facts of the situation.
A news outlet might feature your fundraiser—perhaps including it in a broader story about how the family is coping with daily life, or coverage of local community issues.
The national press might pick up a local news story if they decide it has special relevance or resonance for their audiences, or relationship to an aspect of a larger national issue (such as unemployment, education, or healthcare).
If your cause gains any media attention, amplify it by sharing the coverage with other media outlets—the media often move as a herd once they get wind of a story. Add the coverage to your fundraiser page. Post the coverage on social media, and in your updates to your donors. Ask others to post it. Keep spreading the word and attracting support.