In honor of GoFundMe’s seventh birthday on May 10, we talked to seven of our top organizers about their best advice for running a great campaign. Here’s what they shared.
1. Push past the nervousness.
“Take action on the things that make you afraid — it’s an opportunity for the biggest reward.” —Donald
Donald never expected to change a stranger’s life. But that’s exactly what happened after he started a GoFundMe to raise money to send a Popeye’s worker named Shajuana to nursing school.
“I know more about people than fundraising,” Donald said. But to get over any hesitation about starting a campaign, he advises: “Throw caution to the wind. Slow down, listen to the story, listen to your heart — then take action.”
2. Be detailed in your campaign.
“Share the who, when, what, and why of your story. Explain how the funds will impact you and others.” —Toni
Toni and her daughter Taylor are GoFundMe pros. With five successful campaigns under their belts, including one that raised over $19,000 to send girls to see the movie “Hidden Figures,” Toni recommends “being as informative as possible.”
“Don’t just tell people,” Toni says. “Be detailed about how the money will be used. People are kind — they’re looking for an opportunity to be a Good Samaritan. So show gratitude, humbleness, and send personalized thank-yous.”
3. Have a clear goal in mind.
“People are more willing to donate if they can quickly understand what you’re trying to do.” —Jason
Ever since his friends pitched in to help his dog recover from being hit by a car, Jason has been paying it forward: so far, he’s raised over $84,000 to help other dogs get mobile again. Though he never expected this kind of success, Jason has learned some key lessons in fundraising.
“Be organized,” he recommends. “Take time to think about your campaign — don’t just throw it together. Focus on appealing to the right people.
“Remember that it’s actual people out there donating their hard-earned money, so send a great big thank-you to everyone.”
4. Share on social media.
“The main thing is social media — you need to trigger something personal in people.” —Katie
“You have to connect people with your cause,” said Katie. “Never let it lose steam by constantly getting it out there on social media. Get local business involved, call your local radio station — and give everything personality so people know there’s someone behind the campaign.”
She adds, “I responded to every single comment. It really helps to make personal connections with your supporters.”
5. Post frequent updates.
“Showing results is the holy grail.” —Febin
Febin didn’t just start a GoFundMe — he started a movement. After he created a nonprofit called “Unsung Heroes” that documents and celebrates the contributions of college campus workers, students at other schools are following his lead.
When asked what made his two campaigns for campus workers succeed, Febin replied, “You need to tell a story in your GoFundMe. A really good crowdfunding campaign tells a story and is transparent.”
Above all, Febin says to send updates to your donors: “It keeps people engaged and motivated.”
6. Add photos and videos.
“Connect people with the hero of the story and give them a chance to be involved.” —Matt
Matt started a GoFundMe in hopes of raising $250 for a lawnmower for Chauncy, a young man he met at a grocery store who was hungry and looking for a job. That campaign went on to raise over $340,000 and completely transform the lives of Chauncy and his mother — and Matt.
“You have to unlock people’s hearts,” says Matt. “Give people a part they can play. Use photos, use videos, and help build a community around the campaign.”
He adds, “You don’t have to be special to do something special for someone else. Regular people can do amazing things together when look around and are open to others in our own communities.”
7. It’s OK to ask for help.
“It feels really good to be part of something larger than myself.” —Margaret
Margaret had no idea how big the GoFundMe would get. She read a newspaper story about a selfless foster father named Mohamed who cared for terminally ill children, and she knew she wanted to give back.
More than $400,000 later, both Mohamed and Margaret’s lives were changed. “I originally set out to help Mohamed, but in the end, the campaign ended up helping me,” says Margaret.
“Focusing on the good, and taking action to start the campaign made me feel less powerless,” she added. “Setting up the GoFundMe also made me realize that it’s OK to ask for help. It inspired me to set up my own campaign.”
Change someone’s life — and your own. Start a GoFundMe.
Thanks to Donald, Toni, Jason, Katie, Febin, Matt, and Margaret for sharing their stories.