ioby’s Comprehensive Guide to Raising Money For A Cause You Care About

Fundraising can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. With ioby’s help, you can successfully crowdfund for community projects both small and large. Through events, crowdfunding campaigns, and social media, it is possible to fundraise for a cause you care about. ioby’s comprehensive guide provides step-by-step tips for how to get started.

There is nothing more exciting than getting a new project off the ground. You have the energy, enthusiasm, and excitement — now you just need the funds to make it happen! Raising money for a cause you care about can be daunting at first, but with the right tools you can fundraise like a pro. Below is ioby’s comprehensive guide to raising money for a cause you care about. 

  1. Remember your “why.”

First and foremost, it’s essential to remember why you are fundraising. 

 Your goal should address the heart of why this project matters to you: maybe you want a safe place for your children to play or accessible, fresh produce for members of your community. Once you’ve identified your “why,” write it down on a post-it note wherever you work. This will help you stay focused when people inevitably say “no” to a fundraising task or you experience a stall in your crowdfunding campaign.

  1. Host an Event.

One of the best ways to raise money is to get people excited about your cause through events. Here at ioby we think that neighborhood  events like block parties can be very  impactful. Events can serve as a direct fundraising source through tickets, raffles, or a good old fashioned cake walk.  They can also serve as an indirect form of fundraising as people spread the word about your project to friends, coworkers, and family members. If you’re going the indirect route, make sure to gather people’s information via a sign-up sheet or online registration form so that you can follow up with them once the event is over. (And make sure to follow-up shortly after the event: people are more likely to give when a powerful experience is fresh in their mind). 

Winston Hills Historic Society is collecting the history of the Winton Hills Community to tell and preserve their stories through a physical community history timeline to be installed in their community garden space. This project is a part of our current Reimagining Communities Match Program!
  1. Speaking of Old Fashioned — Don’t Be Afraid to Speak with People In-Person!

According to research by the Harvard Business Review, a face-to-face request is 34 times more likely to get a “yes” than sending an email. The study found that although email senders were highly attuned to their cause, “they failed to anticipate what the recipients of their emails were likely to see: an untrustworthy email asking them to click on a suspicious link.” 

The study found that it is more impactful to ask six close friends for donations in-person than it is to email 200 people. These results track for phone calls, too. Although not as effective as in-person requests, phone calls are significantly more likely to result in a “yes” than an email. So don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or ask a friend to get coffee — you’ll see someone you love, save yourself time and raise more money. It’s a win-win.

  1. But Don’t Be Afraid to Enter the Present Era, Too! 

In the past year alone, Nonprofit Source reports that mobile giving donations have increased by 205%. The same study found that by incorporating mobile-responsive design to their websites, organizations can increase their donations by 126% on average. Having a streamlined donation page (like ioby’s!) ensures that people won’t have to think twice when they are ready to donate. 

Combining new donation technologies with social media campaigns can be particularly effective. Consider using free tools such as Canva to create colorful graphics about your project. These can include images and stories from people who will be impacted by the crowdfunding campaign. Using the stories and a simple “call to action” at the link in your social media bio can help get the word out and drive donations for your cause.  

  1. Launch a Crowdfunding Campaign. 

Here at ioby, we specialize in crowdfunding: the pooling of small online donations for a cause or project. We believe that crowdfunding is powerful for several reasons, including that it works! In the past ten years, ioby has helped leaders raise more than $3M in community-led positive change, from basketball courts to street signs. During those years, one key insight has emerged again and again: fundraising and community buy-in go hand in hand. 

An online crowdfunding campaign can also provide key motivation. Research by the National Institutes for Health has found that people are more likely to give if they believe they are helping you reach a discrete, one-time goal. This is true for one key reason: there is an increase in the perceived progress that one’s donation makes towards reaching the campaign goal. By seeing how far you’ve come, people feel inspired to help you cross the finish line. A clear donation page like ioby’s makes it clear that people are helping make magic! 

NYC-based @greenfeen is an educational consulting firm, using Hip Hop and Environmental Sustainability to create culturally responsive content that supports curriculum development and engagement. Their project raised funds to build 5 creative pop-up events across NYC featuring costume characters and compost education!
  1. Finally, remember to say thank you! 

Thank you notes and calls are essential because they emphasize the human relationship that transcends the financial transaction. This is a key ingredient of remembering your “why.” Instead of viewing fundraising as a means to an end, try to think of it as part of your project’s overall goal: to build connections, center your community, and create something that your whole neighborhood feels proud to call its own. 

One of the best parts of fundraising with ioby is that you will not have to undertake any of these steps alone. In addition to a streamlined crowdfunding platform that makes it easy for people to give, we will pair you with a personalized coach to help you navigate the ups and down of raising money. This will make fundraising less intimidating and more inspiring as you see your phone calls, social media posts, and in-person events transform into compelling community projects. 

Additional Resources:

  • This helpful guide from the Harvard Business Review details key tactics to increase your donations, from giving people a choice in their donations to centering the power of “you” in fundraising tasks.
  • This list has 45 fundraising ideas to help out when you’re stuck (some of our favorites on the list include community potlucks, craft fairs, and crowdfunding – of course!)
  • ioby’s Guide to Making It Rain outlines the fundraising strategies of ioby leaders who have successfully crowdfunded larger budgets.

ioby is a national crowdfunding nonprofit, but we’re much more than that. We help connect leaders (like you!) with one-on-one coaching and support to raise the money they need from their communities to make our neighborhoods safer, greener, more livable, and more fun.
Have a great idea to get good done in your neighborhood? We want to help! Share your idea with us and we can help get you started.