You’ve won a sort of lottery in your sport. You’ve got an opportunity to participate in something like the KSP World Tour. Only one problem. You’re not sponsored (yet) and you have no idea how you’re ever going to raise the funds to get to go on the tour. It may seem like your only choices are to give up that once in a life time opportunity or borrow the money. There is a third option.
These days there are all kinds of ways to do creative fundraising and there are tools available to set it up easily and for free (or very close to free). Take a look at what my friend Mary MacDonald aka Ruby Riptide – a Derby Girl who is also a pilot did. She had the opportunity to attend an invitation only Airplane Acrobatics camp. A once in a life time experience for a pilot. She didn’t have the thousands of dollars she needed to go.
She set up this website. It is simple and straight forward. Simple header image. Video explaining what she is up to and donate button connected to a paypal account. She included the option for people to leave comments. These days with video cameras in every phone, video editing on every computer & video hosting online it easy for anyone to put it all together. It can be even easier with sites like Kickstarter.com.
This is more of what’s called a long tail fundraiser. Instead of relying on one huge donation from one source the funds are raised by small donations from many sources.
Here’s a summary of the tactical side.
1) Create a website with a very clear and simple URL. I strongly recommend your name if you don’t already have your brand created this is a great place to start. And it will be easy for your fans to remember where to find your posts sharing about your adventure.
2)Film a short video. Two minutes or less explaining who you are, what you are raising funds for, why people should care and telling them to click on the donate button below
3)Include a paypal or some other secure online payment donation button.
4) You may want to provide the option for comments. People like to share.
Now, because my business strategies tend to be a blend of tactical and philosophical here’s the philosophical.
Link Your Project To Other Big Names and Feel Good Moments
Mary is from Santa Cruz where James Durbin of American Idol recently returned to surge of hometown pride and which was represented by Lex van de Berghe in one of the first seasons of Survivor. Had she started her video with a brief clip of Lex on Survivor and James Durbin’s welcome home event at Santa Cruz’s beach boardwalk (pretty much the whole city came out) and said something like “First Lex represented Santa Cruz on Survivor’s island, then James Durbin on the American Idol stage, Now Santa Cruz’s own Derby Girl Ruby Riptide is ready to represent Santa Cruz in the ultimate frontier – in the air. Or something like that. The point is with the clips of the people who have represented Santa Cruz before her. It evokes in viewers that pride and excitement. It lines her up as the next source of that civic pride. People want to be a part of that.
Who are the people who have come before you in your community? What are the sources of collective pride? How is your adventure a continuation of that?
Shameless Self Promotion or a Gift to the Community?
At this point some of you may be having a similar reaction to this idea as one person I know. She felt completely uncomfortable with the idea of accepting money without giving something in return. She has chosen to go a route that is much harder work, and that is more comfortable for her to raise the money. What if your invitation to contribute to your adventure is actually a gift to the community? I am reluctant to talk about the hard economic times because I believe we get more of whatever we pay attention to. I will concede that these days many people are focusing on economic hardships. Just look back at the stories of hope from other times in history and other parts of the world. One of the most common and most loved is the hometown hero going out an representing their community in the world. People love to support that. And the gifts of hope, belonging, contribution, connection and significance that they get from contributing those few dollars It’s so much more than a few dollars. As I explain in another blog post asking for and graciously accepting help builds community.
Bonus Tip – Newspapers need to fill pages everyday. Local papers love stories about local heros. Call your local newspaper and ask who would be the best person to query with your story. Call them and 1) Ask if it is a good time or if they are on a deadline 2) Share your story in a way that they will see how their readers would love to read about it. 3) Have the call to action to visit the video and donate integrated into the story.
How people respond to your fundraising will reflect your attitude. If you approach it with shame and embarrassment it people will experience as an awkward ask for a handout. No one likes that. If you approach it that you are inviting them to be a part of an adventure. Now that’s something people are excited to be a part of! Just be sure to post lots of videos, pictures, tweets etc so they can continue to feel a part of it all.