Once you've completed all your planning work, and you feel ready to start building your project page, it's a good idea to look at some examples of other successful projects on sites such as Crowdfunder. Be a critic. What do you like? What don't you like? What might you do differently for your project?
You will probably already have a clear idea of your project's core values and unique selling points. Give your project a strong title that's unique and catchy. Avoid using words such as 'help', 'support', 'project' or 'fund', which are too generic. Think of words that you would use to describe your project. Cross out or circle our suggestions below, then add some more of your own. Keep referring back to these words to check that your finished project page reflects them all.
When visitors land on your project, you need to make a connection - and get them excited about your project - quickly. To do this well you'll need make sure your description is structured, concise and engaging. Impactful images and enthusiastic testimonials can also help to give it a more polished finish.
Opening: Briefly summarise your key points in two or three sentences. Keep it simple and positive.
What are you trying to achieve? Explain the problem that your project solves and why it's important. Does it address social deprivation? Will it help pupils to develop new skills in a way that nothing else can? Does it build a sense of community?
What makes your project great? Introduce your project and all the key facts. Focus on what makes it unique. Why is it different? Why should people support it? Why is it important?
Who are you and what's your experience? This is your chance to show off your expertise and build credibility. Demonstrate clearly that you are the right people to make this project happen.
Tell your story: Explain how your idea came about and why you decided to make this project happen. Talk about your journey and inspiration for the project. Don't forget that your story is still unfolding - what does the future hold, and where are you going next?
How is the money being spent? Outline what the money raised will enable you to do. Create a pie chart to show that you're making smart decisions with your spending.
Rewards: If you have chosen to give rewards, use this section to highlight the strongest rewards and draw more attention to them. Give any extra information that will make them more attractive to potential donors.
FAQs: Anticipate the questions that people might have about your project or school.
Project images: Use images that clearly show everyone what your project involves.
Infographics: Can you display dreary data in a more visual way?
Testimonials: Add in some real quotes from people who will benefit from your project.
Team photos: People fund people. Use a spokesperson, such as the Headteacher, whose passion for the success of the project will engage potential donors.
Headings: Use snappy subheadings to separate each section.
Diagrams/maps: Use clear diagrams or maps to add context to your project.
See an example of a great crowdfunding page below.
It's becoming more and more important for organisations to use video to connect with their crowd. Stay ahead of the curve and create something bespoke for your crowdfunding project. It doesn't have to be professionally made, but it's always worth sending out a communication to parents to see if anyone in your school community has video-making skills.
Short and sweet: Less is more when it comes to video. Keep it short -around two to three minutes is ideal. Make sure you get the key information into the first 30 seconds - who, what, why, how?
Script: Write a script that gets to the point, strikes the right tone and builds the idea of sharing your campaign link early.
Storyboard: Plan a storyboard (download a template below), making a visual representation of shots to accompany your script.
Filming: Always shoot in landscape format and use the highest quality settings that your camera offers. If possible, use a tripod and an external microphone.
Edit your film: Avoid terrible transitions! And be mindful of copyright if adding background music. Follow your schools branding and marketing guidelines.
On Crowdfunder you can offer rewards in return for pledges, as well as simply collecting donations. Rewards are a great way to increase the amount of money a supporter will pledge as well as a great way to generate excitement around your project. Think about the kind of people who will be making pledges and offer rewards that you would want to receive. Consider the four main types of reward that you can offer: a simple thank you, products and services, experiences and events, and sponsorship.
Your crowdfunding target needs to be a balance between what you need to raise to make your project happen and what you think you can raise from your crowd. Be realistic - remember that you can always raise more and stretch your target to a bigger number once you hit 100%. Calculate the minimum amount of money you need to deliver your project and fulfil your rewards.
Don't forget that if your project is successful, there will usually be a platform fee that you'll need to account for. You should also bear in mind that the average pledge on Crowdfunder is £50 and, on average, one in 20 people who view a project page will make a pledge.
Your campaign can last anywhere from one day to eight weeks, but more time doesn't necessarily mean you'll raise more money. Four to five weeks is the ideal length.
Going for a short and sharp campaign means you can get your crowd excited and maintain a sense of urgency. Longer campaigns can start to lose steam after a while and might actually end up becoming annoyingly repetitive.
When picking your launch date, be aware of the calendar and factor in any events that might slow down or promote your campaign. When choosing what time of the day to launch, keep in mind that whatever time you launch the project, it will end at the same time of day, so choose a time that will allow you to have a big push at the end.
Sami Mauger is Head of Coaching and Project Innovation at Crowdfunder - the UK's largest rewards-based crowdfunding network. Sami oversees ongoing research and development to help projects become more successful. She also manages the delivery of expert guidance on strategic projects across a variety of channels and formats. For more information, go to crowdfunder.co.uk.