Best practices and examples for creating effective fundraising campaigns with good descriptions, that will improve your chances of raising money.
A campaign page on GivingWay is a crowdfunding feature that you may use to fundraise for a specific project your organization is doing.
An organization can have multiple campaigns for different goals or choose to create just 1 or non at all.
The campaign page has several elements to take into consideration, that are all crucial to the success of the fundraising efforts:
Your organization is probably involved in many different kinds of activities, and you can write all about them in your organization page. However, when you are building a campaign page, you are choosing to raise money for one specific program or activity. If you wish, you can create different campaign pages for each activity, but a single campaign should keep a clear focus on one mission.
The headline is crucial to the success of the campaign. It is the first thing someone reads, and it will determine if they continue on reading. This is why it has to be captivating and clear.
Keep it short - Try summarizing your goal in no more than 15 words.
Keep it simple - Use words that other people will understand, use short sentences, punctuate.
Keep it clear - The goal of the campaign should be understood from reading the headline, even without further information.
Add a call to action - Ask for what it is you need from the potential donors. Use active verbs such as "help", "support", "strengthen", "create", "build" etc.
Write it too short - The headline should contain enough information for others to understand your goal, but be careful from making it too short that it doesn't really say anything.
Overshare - Don't start going into details in the headline, you have the campaign description for that.
Examples of headlines:
"Musonda kapasa charity foundation" - This headline is short and simple which is great, however it is really not clear what the campaign is about. Is this a religious foundation? Is it helping women? Animals? Where does it operate? When writing the headline, think of your potential donor, what will make them click on your campaign link when they see your headline.
"The School Bag Project: For economic and women empowerment; improved quality education and good environmental management" - This is an example of a headline which is too long. It starts good, naming a specific project, and its goal, but then it starts using a lot of words that don't really add much information and don't have a much grammatical sense in the sentence, causing them to sound like buzz words. A better way to phrase the same headline could be: "The School Bag Project: Empowering women in Malawi".
"COVID - 19 crisis in India : Help us strengthen the health system" - This is a great headline by CARE India. It explains in 10 words, the cause, the location and the goal. It has a direct appeal to the potential donor, setting the expectation of what will happen if they click on the link.
"Stanley's Shop - Help Stanley build his shop and to provide for himself and his family" - This is another great example of a headline. Maisha Outreach Therapy Organization (MOTO) manages to insert a personal story into the headline, creating human interest and empathy. By adding a call to action (help), they push the potential donor to action.
A campaign description is like a short story, you have a very limited time frame to draw in listeners. While you may be tempted to included every detail about your organization and its activity, it’s better to choose one storyline that paints a comprehensive picture of the work you do, your motivation, and why an individual should support that effort.
Your GivingWay campaign page description is divided into 2 paragraphs:
The first part "About this campaign" should go into the reasons for the campaign. It should explain the general issue, and then discuss the solutions that the organization is currently developing and how they will help solve the problem. The second part "Use of the funds" should go into details about how you plan to use the donations you will receive.
The description should be well-written and free of errors. Double check that your text is flawless, that the grammar is good and that the message is very clear. This reflects on how professional your organization is and it's very very important.
Explain the cause you are raising money for, why it's important and who it will benefit.
Describe the impact of the donation, how will it help, how will the donation money be used.
Keep the length short. Most people don't have the patience to read a long description, try keeping it short and precise.
Ask someone to proof-read your campaign. When you are finished composing the description, ask some one else to go over it. See that everything you meant to say is understood, that the message is clear and that there are no mistakes.
Don't go into detail of everything your organization does, just what's relevant to this campaign.
Don't use complex sentences or share to much data. Keep the text simple so anyone can understand it.
Examples of campaigns descriptions
Below you can see two different campaigns. When looking at the first one, the first thing that comes to mind is how long it is. Honestly, it doesn't really matter what is written in the text, since no one is going to read a description this long.
When looking at the example on the right, you can see a good example of how TANF GHANA wrote a description with a great structure. This helps potential donors to quickly scan the description and read what interests them, and it also gives TANF's campaign a professional feel.
In the following campaign, you can see an example of a campaign that is full of errors.
The description is full of grammar mistakes, punctuation mistakes, misspelling etc. Overall this gives the campaign and the organization a very unprofessional look and feel. If you are writing in a language that is not your native one (and even if you are), it is always good to have another person give it another look.
In this final example, by Humanity and Community Development Foundation, you can see a terrific example for a a fundraising campaign description:
This campaign is doing a great job in telling a story. When reading the description, potential donors can imagine the cause and they can see themselves in the story, which creates empathy and compassion. The ask here is very subtle, even passive, but effective. "You and I got lucky" is a great phrase to motivate to action. Overall, this is a great campaign to strive inspiration from, as it also does a terrific job with the way it uses images & video, as well as a great headline and and a realistic goal.
You should definitely put some thought into defining the goal of your campaign. Aim too low and people might not be motivated to help out once you reach your funding goal. Aiming too high on the other hand, can give a sense that the goal is out of reach, and you might be left with nothing. Setting the perfect crowdfunding goal will motivate supporters and maximize the amount of donation you get.
To set a realistic goal, give the true cost of your project. Remember, a campaign is for a specific project, so you are not trying to solve the water problem in Africa, rather you are trying to help a specific village. Calculate how much this project costs and that is your goal!
If you reach your goal easily, you can always start another campaign to fundraise for another project. If you feel that your goal is too high and not attainable, try splitting the amount into separate campaigns. Once you reach the goal for the first one, launch the second.
Choosing the right images to go along with your campaign description is very important. Most people decide whether to read the text in the description based on the images. The role of the photos is to hook your donor in to reading the description.
Choose positive images, that convey a feeling of hope.
Upload more than 1 photo, preferably 3-8 photos.
Put thought into which picture is shown first, many people will only see this one.
Check how the photo looks after you uploaded it, some pictures get distorted or cut and don't look well on the page.
Make sure the direction of the photo is correct.
Make sure the picture is in good quality.
Don't put your organization's logo as the photo.
Don't choose shocking visuals (a body or body parts, malformations, unpleasant pictures) as people tend to look away from these kinds of images.
Don't use stock image photos, choose real ones from your organization's activity and from your community.
Example of images for a fundraising campaign
In this campaign for 'Back to School Support for Vulnerable Children', the Damsy Foundation chose a very smart image.
It is a happy and positive picture.
The boy is close up and looking right at you, creating a feeling of connection and closeness.
The boy is holding a book which is relevant to the cause of the campaign - going back to school.
The name of the foundation is on the book, showing this is a photo from real activity done by the Damsy Foundation. This gives the potential donor a feeling of trust toward the organization, knowing the money donated will truly reach its purpose.
A good video tells your story for you, if you have one, you should definitely add it to your campaign.
To create an effective fundraising campaign, you have to put thought into all the elements of the page: The concept, the headline, the description, the goal, the images and the video.
Don't be afraid to study other crowdfunding campaigns and see what worked for them. Remember, if you launch a campaign and you see it's not giving you the expected results - don't give up, you can always try again. Edit the campaign to make changes that you think might help or even start a new campaign and try approaching the cause from a different angle.
Having problems phrasing your campaign description? Did you know you can ask for help from GivingWay's Online Volunteers? Learn more about accepting online volunteers.