Promoting Your Fundraiser Online: Strategies That Actually Work

Online sharing is what makes crowdfunding possible. If you’re already a whiz at social media, your skills will certainly help you with crowdfunding—but there are strategies and tactics specific to crowdfunding that can really help you get the most from your efforts. Promoting your fundraiser online starts with sending your fundraising letter to family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues, then doing whatever you can to spread your message as widely as possible. With the following best practices, that initial share could grow to reach many more potential donors.

Start a fundraiser

It all starts with your title, photo, and description

As friends, family, and random strangers scroll through their social media feeds, your featured photo is the first thing that grabs their attention—followed in rapid succession by the title of your fundraiser and the first sentence of your description.

If those three elements work well, people seeing them might think “I need to share this” before they’ve even seen your fundraising page. A visit to your fundraising page should then seal the deal for both a donation and a share.

Use our resources to get great ideas for naming your online fundraiser. Next, learn how to improve your crowdfunding fundraiser with inspiring images. After that, you can explore how to make a fundraising video that attracts donors.

Once you’ve told your story as well as you can using these tools, go through it one more time. Look at it as if it were someone else’s fundraiser—ask yourself which parts would inspire you to donate and share. Should any of those parts be expanded or clarified? How can you make them even stronger?

Inspire others to share (and reshare) with updates

Don’t underestimate the importance of sharing updates on your fundraiser page and through social media. The more you share, the more opportunities you get to inspire supporters to reshare, widening the reach of your fundraiser.

As each update appears on your fundraising page, it shows existing and potential donors how your story is unfolding—and inspires them to become part of it, to donate again, or to share your progress on social media. We’ve found that this is especially true for updates that show how prior donations have helped your beneficiary, include photos or videos of fundraising events, or show supporters spending time with the beneficiary.

In your updates, don’t be afraid to share both good news and hardships, making clear both the beneficiary’s positive progress and his or her continuing need. For details on writing powerful and effective updates, see our blog post How to Write a Fundraising Update.

How often should you post fundraiser updates? At least once a week—and each time, you and everyone on your fundraising team should share each update on social media.

Best practices for social media promotion

  • Attention spans are short on social media. When you keep messages brief, you increase the likelihood they’ll be shared.
  • Somewhere in every post, tweet, or message, briefly ask people to share your fundraiser. Without this, the idea of sharing may not occur to the reader.
  • Think about promoting your crowdfunding fundraiser with a custom hashtag. When you create a hashtag, if appropriate, use it in tandem with established hashtags for larger events (for example, a natural disaster). Use both tags each time you post. This will dramatically boost your exposure to like minded people and those looking to help victims.
  • Consider creating a dedicated Facebook page for your fundraiser or cause. This is an especially good idea if you’re raising money for an ongoing need, rather than funding for a specific life event. For more tips on using Facebook, see How to Start a Facebook Page for Your Fundraiser. And if you use Twitter, don’t miss the community and promotion tips at How to Fundraise on Twitter.
  • For more basic social media tips, check out our post Using Social Media to Promote Your Fundraiser.

Promote your fundraiser with our simple sharing tools

From your fundraiser page, it only takes a few clicks to start promoting your fundraiser online:

  • Use Facebook or Twitter share buttons beneath your fundraiser title to post directly to social media.
  • Click on the button with the “+” sign below your fundraiser story to get an embeddable widget for easy placement on your website or blog.
  • The “Subscribe to Updates” button lets people receive your updates automatically. Encourage supporters to sign up when they visit your donation page.
  • Don’t forget the URL of your fundraiser page—it’s a one-step promotional tool and the only thing people need to share your fundraiser. Add your URL to your email signature. If you have a blog, feature it prominently there.

Attract media coverage to get shares from strangers

Invite journalists and local media outlets to share your cause with their audiences. We break down every step of this process in How to Get Local Media to Cover Your Fundraiser.

An overview: Compose a brief yet thorough press release and send it via email and social media. Make it simple for reporters to verify and feature your information using our tips for writing an effective fundraiser press release. Always include your contact details and a link to your fundraiser.

Press coverage creates more sharing. Today, sharing can also create press coverage (which in turn creates more sharing). Often, the key to creating this circle of interest is getting the first piece of press coverage, which that alerts the media herd to move toward your story. The first story can be the hardest to get, but it will pay dividends when the media begins calling you, instead of you calling them.

For a more detailed look at this phenomenon, see our post on viral fundraising. Evidence of viral fundraising in action at GoFundMe: the successful fundraisers Relief for Fidencio the paleta man and Chauncy’s Chance.

More sharing means more donations

We see it time and time again—the more updates people post to their fundraising pages, the more money they raise. Sharing updates frequently (at least once a week) is the best approach for reaching new people, keeping supporters in the loop, and providing fresh news they can share and reshare. Updates can also inspire repeat donations.

These fundraisers demonstrated the effectiveness of earning tens of thousands of shares—each one brought in donations exceeding $100,000:

For tips on sharing offline read Online Fundraising Without Social Media: 42 Ways to Share OfflineAre you ready to start sharing? Create your fundraiser today.