Setting up a Crowdrise Campaign
iMentor has utilized the services of crowdfunding company Crowdrise for the past few years to increase our mentor community fundraising capacity as well as simultaneously sharing the great work that our mentors do with their friends, family and personal networks. Crowdrise makes it easy for organizations to start a fundraising campaign and even easier for individuals to set up fundraising pages that anyone can donate to. That said, the start-to-finish process of running a crowdfunding initiative is a time-intensive process, and includes everything from doing outreach to tracking and logging donations to doing the appropriate follow up. We’ll go into more detail about those components of crowdfunding below and in other articles.
- Steps to Starting a Crowdrise Campaign
- Key Mentor Supporters
- General Outreach & Timing
- Working with Pagemakers
- Phone Banking
- Logging and Tracking Donations
- Follow-up and Thank You
The process for getting your organization affiliated with Crowdrise and starting your campaign is pretty simple. You’ll need to sign up and claim your charity with Crowdrise and then you can begin customizing your page and starting a campaign. The Crowdrise website does an excellent job of guiding the process, and you can find some of the most important information on their website by clicking the following links:
- Information about how to get started with Crowdrise
- Information about how to set up a campaign
- General FAQ for Crowdrise users
The best part? It’s free to set up a basic account and run campaigns with Crowdrise! If you require gift integration with Salesforce or additional supports you will need to look into the Premium Plan.
Running your Crowdrise Campaign
If there’s one thing that just about every fundraiser working in the non-profit world knows: money doesn’t raise itself. Developing your mentor community into a group that not only provides their time and energy to work with students, but who also become champions of the work and contribute to the fundraising efforts that allow mentor2.0 programs to grow isn’t easy, but it can certainly be worth it. Ultimately, staff at all levels and on various teams through the organization will play a role, from Program Managers to chief officers, so having teams committed and excited about participating is invaluable in this effort.
Program Managers will have a role in the campaign from the beginning, when they can leverage their knowledge of their cohorts and pairs to identify mentors who might be more likely to be engaged and excited about a fundraising opportunity like this. Having a few supporters and early adopters will make the roll-out of a crowdfunding campaign more well-received.
Organizations that are able to roll out a dynamic and layered outreach plan are likely to have the most success in developing their mentor community into excited fundraisers. Here, Program Managers have another role: to announce the campaign to mentors during in-person check-ins and at the mentor huddle after events. It’s strongly encouraged to have some materials to provide to mentors at this time. Program Managers should also work with their supervisors and any development staff on including language about the crowdfunding campaign in their regular email outreach. However, PMs and development staffers should send an introductory email to mentors at the lauch of the campaign, and development staffers can follow up with mentors throughout the campaign. You can find email examples for staff use here.
Pagemakers are the mentors (or other mentor2.0 community members) who make Crowdrise pages to share with their friends and family. Not all of your mentors will make a page to support your Crowdrise campaign; typically in iMentor’s crowdsourcing efforts, we have seen 5-8% of mentors participate. That shouldn’t deter you! Developing your mentor community into something more than a community of volunteer mentors takes time. But for the mentors who do participate right away, it’s important to provide support and resources to help make their engagement feel smooth and natural.
You can find email templates to provide to your pagemakers, as well as a one-pager of tips and tricks. Because each fundraising page associated with your campaign is a chance for a mentor to tell the story of their experience in the program, pagemakers should ensure that they are customizing their page as much as possible. If pagemakers don’t have a picture with their mentee, make sure you can take and send them one that they can use. You can explore the iMentor NYC Challenge to see examples of pages that mentors have made, or take a look at the screenshots below (which link to the fundraisers that those mentors set up).
Also, we’ve found that continuing to do weekly outreach to pagemakers is a great way to keep them excited and engaged in their campaign. We've provided some examples of that communication.
See below for a couple real examples of pages that NYC mentors have made:
Doing direct outreach to mentors over the phone can be a great way to both boost engagement with your crowdfunding campaign and also to learn more about your mentors and how they see their role in the program. This script is a great starting place for staff to do some direct outreach to your mentor community. The great part about phone banking is that anyone in the organization can help with the effort; it doesn’t just need to be mentor2.0 staff. It’s a best practice that when using phone banking as one method of outreach to your mentor community, you record how each person responds. Setting up a Google Spreadsheet with the relevant information is the best method as it allows for multiple people to be calling and recording responses simultaneously. You can see below for an example of what your spreadsheet should include. We would recommend doing an export from User Management to get the initial information for your spreadsheet (note that you’ll need to remove some columns from the original export, as it presents more than the necessary information). Then, just copy and paste the mentor contact info into a Google Spreadsheet and use that to fill in the “yes”, “no” and “maybe” of what mentors are interested in doing.
Example export from user management:
Example export edited to include phone banking notes:
Keeping track of who is fundraising and who is donating to your campaign is a key component of running a successful Crowdrise fundraiser. Fortunately, Crowdrise has some built in tools to help with the process. You can find clear information about the reporting functions of Crowdrise here. If your fundraising takes off and you opt for the Premium plan, you will have the ability to sync your donation with Salesforce. Information on that integration can be found here.
However, while the reporting piece of a fundraising campaign might seem like something do to when the campaign is over, you’re more likely to engage your community by monitoring who is donating in real-time and using that information to focus your continued outreach and follow up efforts.
As with any gift giving and receiving, the appropriate thank you and follow-up action is important to solidify your appreciation and recognize the hard work mentors and their networks did on the behalf of your organization. Expressing this gratitude and recognition can come in various forms and from various people at the organization. You can find thank-you email templates, though we would also recommend the Program Mangers taking a more personal approach, thanking mentors in-person and acknowledging their hard work at mentor huddles after events. Further, you can celebrate the accomplishments of the entire mentor community by sending an email blast to all of your mentors highlighting the success of the campaign and calling out the top fundraisers. You can find a sample email in the Learning Center article with other email templates here.