Dolan Community Crowdfunding

Strategy Guide

Getting Your Project Funded

To successfully fundraise for any campaign, even the most inspiring, you're going to need to use proper strategy. The impression that the readers get, the images they see, the rewards they are offered, and the overall feeling of the campaign is going to influence their decision of whether to contribute or not. In general, by following the tips in this strategy guide, you will have a much higher chance of landing in the Successfully Funded Campaigns category!

Lesson 1. Defining your Campaign

The first step in the process of being a successful fundraiser is figuring out exactly what your campaign is. For most of us, the projects that we are interested in fundraising could almost be infinite in scope, so usually the challenge when defining the campaign to post on Dolan's 2014 Class Project Community Crowdfunding is where to set the boundaries of the campaign.

To meet our guidelines, your campaign must be for a finite project, one that can clearly be defined and achieved. Make sure you are not fundraising for something very vague like “improving education,” or “helping students.” The campaign must be for a clear finite achievable project.

Setting clear goals is the first step, so this step can actually help you as the campaign creator to get more focused on what you are trying to achieve. It also helps to make it very clear to the contributors what exactly the campaign is, whether it is achievable or not, and whether they would like to contribute to it.

Be sure to have your goals clearly defined in your campaign description.

Lesson 2. Setting your Fundraising Goal

When you run a campaign at Dolan's 2014 Class Project Community Crowdfunding, you either reach your goal, and get the money you've funded plus the matching funds from Dolan Auto Group. If you don't reach your goal you still receive the money raised, just no matching funds.

It is very important to know how much money it takes to actually do the project you would like to do, and how much do you need to raise to make it a reality. So make sure you set your goal at high enough to make it happen. At the same time, because you have to meet your goal to receive any of the matching contributions, you need to set your goal low enough so that it's achievable.

So what is the solution? There is no one answer for all campaigns. Each campaign has its own limitations and advantages, and you must judge these to correctly set your fundraising goal.

YOU CAN RAISE MORE THAN YOUR GOAL. There is no limit to how much you can raise in the 45 day period, so get out the word! Please note: We'll only match up to the goal amount. Once $60,000 in matching funds is met the campaign will end.

How much money do you need? Make sure to research the expenses it is going to take to make this project a reality. Make sure you have done the math accurately enough to know that you can complete the project if your campaign is fully funded.

Who are your potential contributors? Some may feel confident that they will easily be able to raise the funds when their contacts know about the campaign. If you feel like you are in this category, then it may be appropriate to expand the project. If you are more of the suspicion that it will be difficult to garner contributions, then you may consider setting your goal at a bit less.

Remember, just because you have set your goal at $1500, doesn't mean you couldn't raise more than that. Some crowdfunding projects raise many times their stated goal.

There is no one right way.

It is up to you to find contributors. Through your social networks, your e-mail contacts, and any other means that you can think of, you need to find contributors for your campaigns. There may be the occasional person surfing Dolan's 2014 Class Project Community Crowdfunding site that gives a contribution to your campaign, but don't count on these, look at them as bonuses. We give you tools that help connect you to your favorite social networks, but the real work is yours. If your campaign succeeds, its because you promoted it well, if not, well... See more about promoting your project below.

Setting your campaign fundraising goal. Once you have established the amount of money you need to make the project happen, and analyzed and assessed your possible contributor base, you are ready to set your campaign fundraising goal. You can always raise more money than your goal, but if you do not raise enough, you won't receive matching funds.

Lesson 3. Create a Campaign Video

One of the most important required details that you'll need to add to your campaign to help meet your fundraising goals is to add a video. It doesn't need to be fancy or highly produced (though you could do that), but simply something that shows people who you are, and why your campaign is worth contributing to.

You could spend a number of days on shooting and editing, or just set you camera up and get it in one shot. Either way, there are a few key components that are really important to include in every video.

Important components to every video:

Introduce yourself and potentially your students (media releases required), describe your campaign, and what it means to you. Why it is important. Ask for peoples support in helping you make this project a reality. Thank them for their support.

Avoid copyrighted material

Make sure not to use music, images, or video clips that do not belong to you. It can easily turn into a lengthy and expensive lawsuit if you use this material. Some great techniques for avoiding this is to create your own music and images, or to use music that is registered under a Creative Commons license from places like SoundCloud.

Making your video

There are lots of great open source video editing software out there that you can download for free, as well as lots of on-line resources for learning to create simple videos. From our experience, it is well worth your time to create a video for your project.

Posting your video

Once you have your video edited to exactly how you want it, you need to upload it to Vimeo (sign up first if you do not already have an account), and then use the unique video URL to put your video onto your campaign page. It takes a few steps, but if you have a good connection, it shouldn't take too long.

Choose your video image

This image is important, because it will also be the image that is displayed on your campaign badge. Make sure to choose an image that represents your campaign, as well as catches peoples eye.

You can only change this image (or video thumbnail) if you manage the Vimeo or YouTube account that uploaded the video that you are using.

Make sure to do this before you submit your campaign, because the Dolan's 2014 Class Project Community Crowdfunding system stores the first image in its database, and that cannot be changed after submission.

Tell the world what you are doing! Make a video!

Unable to make a video?

We require a video for all campaigns, unless your physical location is somewhere that just does not have the technology available to be able to create or upload a video. If you have another legitimate reason for why you can't make a video, please let us know.

Lesson 4. Your Campaign Page

When you are writing and building your campaign description on Dolan's 2014 Class Project Community Crowdfunding, make sure to take your time. It makes a huge difference in quality if you dedicate the time to work on it.

Remember, once you launch you want to be focused on promotion. You only have a limited amount of time to accept contributions (your campaign deadline). The maximum length of your campaign deadline is 45 days.

Naming Your Campaign

A catchy, simple and memorable title is really important. Make sure to use a unique name for your campaign rather than giving it a general title. Make sure to include your school name in the title.

Writing your Headline

This is the short sentence that will appear on your campaign badge along with your title graphic and the fundraising goal. Like the title graphic, this is a very important piece of how people perceive your campaign, and may make or break whether a person chooses to open your campaign page and ultimately whether they decide to contribute or not.

Make sure that you quickly communicate exactly what your campaign is about and what it hopes to achieve. Keep it quick, make it sound positive and energizing, and give it personality.

Choosing your Campaign Image

This image is important, because it will also be the image that is displayed on your campaign badge. Make sure to choose an image that represents your campaign, as well as catches peoples eye.

Make sure to do this before you submit your campaign, because the Dolan's 2014 Class Project Community Crowdfunding system stores the first image in its database, and that cannot be changed after submission.

Making your Campaign Description look the best it can.

Making your campaign description look the best it can is very important. At Dolan's 2014 Class Project Community Crowdfunding we use a system called Markdown which is very easy to use with a few simple tips. You can use the following tricks to make your description look great.

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

  • list item 1
  • list item 2
  1. Ordered list item 1
  2. Ordered list item 2



link text

Adding images to your campaign description helps to add depth and an aesthetic quality to the page. We highly recommend you insert a number of images into your description giving a bit of color to what you are writing.

To insert a photos using the instructions above, you need to have an online location of the photo, i.e. a URL. If you do not already have a URL for your image, then go to, easily upload your image and retrieve your URL. Upload and image, then copy and paste the 'Direct link for layouts.' Return to the Dolan's 2014 Class Project Community Crowdfunding page, and paste this url into this code:

Writing your Bio

In addition to the campaign description and video, potential contributors may be interested in learning more about you and what you have been up to previously. The bio is an opportunity to expand more on who you are, your past experiences, and the passion for your work. Why is it that you do what you do? It doesn't need to be a whole life story. Keep it fairly short, and relative to the campaigns that you submit.

Lesson 5. Promoting your Campaign

There is no limit to the amount of money that can be contributed, but campaign promotion is probably the single biggest factor to getting lots of contributions. Simply, the more people know about your campaign, the more possible contributors you have. You will want to get the word out to all the appropriate networks of friends, colleagues and relatives, as well as ask them to share it with their friends. E-mail your friends and family and let them know what you are up to, and ask them to pass it on!

There are a number of techniques for getting the word out, its often best to combine many of them. Here are a few:

Send a Personal Message

The single most effective way of getting people to respond to your campaign promotion is to send a personal message to them sharing your campaign, and asking them to check it out. Start with an e-mail to your friends, family and your network, allowing them to be the first to contribute and possibly give feedback on your campaign page. Then send it out to anyone you think might be open to checking it out.

Use Social Networking

Post your campaign to Facebook. Send it out on the twitter airwaves to your followers, and share it through a blog post or two. Dolan's 2014 Class Project Community Crowdfunding makes it easy to share or embed your campaign badge. Invite others to “like” it or share it with their networks.

It is generally most effective to post to social networks three times throughout a fundraising campaign:

At the launch – introducing the campaign to your friends and contacts.

At the midway point - to give and update and to thank all those people who have contributed thus far.

A week before the project ends – to make your plea to the community to help meet your fundraising target and make this campaign a success.

The Real World

Consider giving a talk about your project, sharing some of your inspiration, and introducing your campaign to raise funds all in the same evening. This can be a great way to achieve multiple functions. Sharing with your community something that really moves you, educating them about the benefits of whatever your project is, and rallying support for contributions.

Being in person, and sharing from your heart is always an important and inspiring part of turning your vision into reality.

Bring it to the Media

Put out a press release to your local newspaper, TV station or school. Contact like-minded blog writers and seek their support in promoting this effort. Journalists and bloggers are always looking for stories and are eager to help a local or inspiring project to success.

Please don't spam or beg for money. And don't over-do it.

If you bombard your friends and family with too many e-mails, Facebook updates and tweets, they are going to feel very turned off by your campaign. It may actually reduce your chances of getting contributions. Don't post messages on other people's campaign pages, and don't hound people that you don't know. Stay true to your beliefs and promote your campaign in a way that is fun and productive!

Lesson 6. Campaign Updates

The campaign updates serve as the blog for your project. It is primarily used as a way of communicating with those folks who have already contributed to the campaign, but can also be used to give updates to the general Dolan's 2014 Class Project Community Crowdfunding community of contributors. When you post a campaign update, an e-mail will automatically be sent to all your contributors and you will be given the option about whether you would like it to be visible to just contributors or open to the public.

What to use campaign updates for?

Use your campaign updates to keep your contributors updated as to what is happening with your project, to keep them excited and to encourage them to spread the word to their networks. People who have already contributed to your campaign are eager to know about even the small steps you are taking to see your vision actualized, and to hear how the campaign fundraiser is going. If it is getting close, they will may be interested in trying to rally support for you. Share what is happening with some photos of events, or updates about progression of the project.

After the fundraising campaign, share the progress

Once the campaign is over and you have successfully raised enough money to move forward with your project, don't forget about your contributors. They are interested, and deserve to know how things are going. Use the Dolan's 2014 Class Project Community Crowdfunding campaign updates as a way of staying connected to them. Photos, videos or blog posts about your progress are always greatly appreciated.

The Success!

When you have completed your project and manifest your class project in reality, make sure you let your contributors know.