Promote your campaign

Get all the tips & tricks you need to run a successful crowdfunding campaign

Promoting your campaign

Now that you've got a beautiful campaign page up and running, it's now time to get potential supporters to it. While there are plenty of people who give to multiple campaigns on, the campaigns that succeed create their own momentum through a lot of promotion.

Here's what they do.

Step 1: Create a campaign team

Campaigns that have more than one person in their campaign are significantly more successful than campaigns run by one person. There's many reasons for this but the most important one is that your team members can reach far more people as a group than you can reach on your own. Rob Caslick has run 5 campaigns on, all of them collecting more than $10,000 in donations (the biggest made it to a whopping $58,111):

By myself I could only raise so much, but with 10 of me, we’ll clean up.

Also, having a team means you have more feedback to improve the campaign and you can spread the promotion effort.

The easiest way to create a team is to email your entire email list - or just everyone you've emailed in the last year - and ask for volunteers to join your campaign team. Here's an email template you can use for this:

Hey Jill,

We're planning on launching a crowdfunding campaign soon and I'd love you to get involved.

We're going to re-unite a Somali refugee family with their son that they haven't seen in 23 years, and we're looking to raise $12,000 over a 30 day campaign.

To make this a success, we need 5-10 campaign soldiers who can email the campaign to 100 of their colleagues on launch day. In exchange, you'll get __. I think you'd be excellent for this.

To get involved, just email me back or give me a call.

I'd really appreciate it if you would forward this onto your own mailing lists so we can more people involved.

Thanks a bunch,


To get a campaign team of 5-10, you'll need to email at least 100 people. Once you've got your campaign team, it's time to create your promotion plan.

Step 2: Create a promotion plan

Planning your promotion activities is critical, but it doesn't need to be complicated.

The first thing to do is to create a list of everyone you're going to contact to tell them about the campaign. We recommend you break this list into three main groups:

Group Examples
Core supporters People who you're at least 80% sure will give, your campaign team (from Step 1) and your personal contacts (family, friends, work colleagues)
Influencers People who have wider reach to a relevant audience than you, for example, corporate partners, bloggers, celebrity tweeps who are interested in your area or issue, or well-connected individuals in your personal networks
Everyone else People who are more loosely connected to you or your organisation, your full email list or database, your Facebook page audience, and for organisations: your beneficiaries

For each sub-group, you should then decide what is the key message that you want to tell them that would get them to give. Make sure you're thinking about what they want to hear, not what you want to tell them.

As a general rule of thumb:

  • Core supporters care about you or your organisation more than they care about the particulars of the issue or even the project. They want to see you and hear the story of why you're doing the project. First person narratives work well for these people.
  • Influencers care about great content for their audiences. They prefer spreading things that have already got momentum and are often concerned with whether promoting your campaign is going to make themselves look good in front of their audience.
  • Everyone else loves joining the party once it's going, without having to make much effort. They can care about a variety of things, so it's better to design your campaign for the first two groups.

Once you've decided on the key message for each group, you need to decide on the channels that you're going to use to get in touch with them. For core supporters, you probably will use a personalised email, followed up by a Facebook message or SMS and then a phone call. For influencers, it might be a personalised email, followed by a phone call or tweet.

Once you've decided on all these touchpoints, you can create a table like this:

You can find this table here.

You should create one for your core believers and one for your influencers. You'll use this table as the basis of all your promotion activity. Some campaigners put this on a calendar and assign tasks to different Campaign Team members.

Step 3: Launch with everything you have

The first five days of your campaign are critical. We very rarely see campaigns recover from a bad launch, so make sure you're prepared. You should aim to get to 20-30% of your target in your first 5 days. To do that, you need to execute your promotion plan in a very specific order.

Here's what we recommend you do:

  • Create a Facebook event for your campaign launch. Invite everyone in your Facebook friends list who you think might give to the campaign. Note, this isn't a real in-person event - it's just a better way to notify everyone on the campaign launch than just posting on your wall.
  • Launch on a Monday or Tuesday. This gives you 4 or 5 full days before you hit the weekend. Donations are much lower on the weekend, so you need as many weekdays as you can before you lose that initial momentum.
  • At 9am, get your campaign team to donate first. This not only makes it easier for them to ask their friends to donate, it lets everyone catch any last minute typos before you send it out public.
  • Once your campaign team had donated, get them to send an email to 100 friends each. Make it easy for your team by writing out the text of the email that you want them to send - like this campaign did - so all they have to do is to hit forward and choose who they want to send it to.
  • Celebrate the campaign team member who does the most. There's normally one team member who goes above and beyond and does something extraordinary - like organises their own fundraising event for launch day. Tell the rest of the campaign team members about what that person has done. It'll make them feel special and will kick the rest of the team into action.
  • Celebrate milestones. Update your campaign team via email when you hit all the smaller milestones (10%, 25%, 30% etc) and your full email list when you hit major milestones (25%, 50% etc). We'll automatically send emails from to your supporters who've already donated when you hit these bigger milestones too.
  • Work from the inside out. Send out emails to the people who know you best first, then to your wider network and only then to people you don't know. It's important to build credibility using people who know you - no-one gives to a campaign by someone they don't know that's sitting on $0.

Step 4: Use the mid-campaign lull to get bigger donations

If you get to 20-30% in your first five days, you've set yourself up well for the middle part of your campaign. Most campaigns experience a lull after their launch - this is entirely normal. This happens because the initial excitement of the campaign passes and your supporters get distracted by other things that happen in their lives.

This lull gives you a bit of breathing space to do three things:

  • Approach corporate partners or local businesses for larger donations. If you've got initial momentum, it's now much easier to approach potential partners about large donations. You can do this via email, but it's often more effective over the phone. You want to target organisations that you're already connected to, even if it's through a couple of degrees of separation.
  • Pitch the story to relevant media. Crowdfunding stories often get a run in the media, but pitching the story with an interesting angle to the right journalist is critical here. Research journalists who are interested in your topic area and try pitching to different levels of media (national television, local newspaper, sector newsletter, etc). Then try and hook your story onto something that's topical at the moment - this makes it more newsworthy. Try and make your project a great example or counter-example of something that's being debated in the news at the moment. Follow up with journalists, but don't be a pain. Generally, if you get one story for every 10 pitches, you're doing really well.
  • Approach influencers to share. If you've researched who the influencers are in your space, now is the time to email them. You can show them all the support you've got to date and any news items. You should explain to them, briefly, why you think their audience would be interested and link them to any extra images or videos you've made. If they accept guest posts, you can even pitch them a story.

Step 5: Race to the finish line

The last week of your campaign can be magical, but it's easy to lose hope. Don't. You need always maintain and communicate the belief that you'll hit your target - if you don't believe it, no-one else will. People respond to a deadline, so it's not uncommon for people to raise half of their campaign funds in their final week.

Here are some tips on things to do in your last week:

  • Post a daily countdown on Facebook. Keep the sense of urgency up by posting images with "X days left" and the percentage still to raise. You can tag your campaign team in the photos to remind them to share it on their personal pages.
  • Follow up on all those promises. During your campaign, there are normally a bunch of people who said they were going to donate, but just haven't gotten around to it. Now is the time to send them an email, message or call to get them to act.
  • Message all the people who've already donated and get them to share the campaign again. They're the ones who are most invested in this campaign, and they want to see it succeed. If you're lucky, you may even get supporters donating again.
  • Thank everyone when you hit your target. People love to celebrate success, so make sure you share the celebrations with them. If you can, organise an in-person celebration with your campaign team to enjoy the moment and to debrief.