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The Beginner’s Guide to Viral Fundraising
The Beginner’s Guide to Viral Fundraising
Updated over a week ago

What is viral fundraising? It happens when a fundraiser spreads rapidly throughout the internet. And you benefit because it drives an unparalleled amount of traffic to your fundraiser.

Viral content leaves a lasting impression. The key is that it evokes an emotion.

Crowdfunding is often an emotional experience that can be both heartbreaking and heartwarming. You can use those emotions as a part of your fundraising strategy.

Although there isn’t one blueprint to make your fundraising fundraiser go viral, there are a few ways to ensure that it has the potential.

Broken down to its bare essentials, a viral fundraiser must have:

  1. A relatable story

  2. Captivating content

  3. Channels to share

Often fundraising fundraisers go viral as a result of a powerful piece of content that is shared with it. Outlined below are tips for creating your fundraiser, matching it with amazing content, and finding the right channels to share it on.

1. Building your fundraiser’s foundation

Determine your audience

First, decide who your target audience is. Choose one that is most likely to resonate with your story. Then, do some research on their likes, dislikes, and values. Once you understand who they are, you can design a powerful message that moves them to engage with your cause.

Keep your title simple

Your title should be a clear introduction to what your fundraiser is about. Include the beneficiary’s name then add a few keywords that help summarize why you are raising funds. A great strategy is to come up with an unforgettable hashtag to add to the end of your title. Here are our tips on creating a fundraiser hashtag.

For example: Raleigh #BlackPantherChallenge

Write your fundraiser description

There are two goals of viral fundraising. First, you want people to share your fundraiser. Second, you want to invite people to click your fundraiser link and donate. Once someone lands on your fundraiser, they will read your fundraiser description to gather more context. This is where you should break down why you raising money, who the money is for, and how the money will be used.

2. Match your fundraiser with amazing content

Make your message shareable

The next step is going to be sharing a post on social media that links to your fundraiser. The goal is for that post to go viral. Viral content must be easy for readers to digest while piquing their interest. People will only share your post if they deem it worthy. So frame your story in such a way that people will want to be a part of the solution.

For example: Before Matt’s fundraiser Chauncy’s Chance went viral, it was his original Facebook post that captured attention. He shared his story of meeting Chauncy in an honest, emotional way. His post got shared so much that, once he started his fundraiser, he already had an audience ready to donate.

Create a viral video challenge

People want to be giving. So give them the opportunity to practice their altruism in a new way like a video challenge.

For example: In honor of his late friend Garmt, Andrew started the Hot Pepper Challenge for ALS. Taking a cue from the famous ice bucket challenge, Andrew asked his friends and family to endure a pepper as hot as they could handle; the hotter the pepper, the less money they’re asked to donate. No matter what, each nominee must nominate three others to take the challenge. Thanks to a viral video that got more 1.4 million views, Andrew raised more than $25,000 for this cause close to his heart.

Trigger shares with high-quality photos

If you don’t have the time or the resources to create a video, high-quality photos that evoke powerful emotional responses can be used to help your fundraiser go viral. Get creative and brainstorm photo ideas that will whoa potential donors. An intriguing photo will force people to stop scrolling through their feed to find out more about your fundraiser.

For example: Joel started his fundraiser Relief for Fidencio the paleta man when he saw an elderly man in his neighborhood, still hard at work selling popsicles (paletas). His touching photo of Fidencio played a critical part in fueling the fire of this viral fundraiser.

Be clear in your call to action

You should always include a call to action at the end of your post. Ask for a donation first, but make your ask manageable. Often asking for a smaller amount like $10 to $25 will get you more donations than a larger ask. And if someone can’t give, then encourage them to help by sharing your fundraiser with their online network.

For example: When Donald wanted to help a fast food employee get to school to become a CNA, he did a little math in his fundraiser, Send a Random Girl 2 Nursing School. He figured he could reach his goal of $1,500 if 300 of his Facebook friends gave $5 each—and he ended up raising more than $15,000.

3. Strategizing your sharing

Make connections

Leverage social media to build your fundraising community. Reach out to people with large spheres of influence. Then ask them if they would be interested in supporting your efforts. Before you share your post to social media, send a message to your influencers reminding them to share your post as soon as you do.

Share on multiple platforms

Facebook is a great tool for sharing, but don’t underestimate the power of other platforms like Twitter or Instagram. Plan on posting on several social media platforms to maximize your chances of going viral. And remember to always include a link to your fundraiser in your post.

Know when to share

The day and time that you share have a lot to do with whether or not your post will be seen, liked, and shared. Many quality posts fall beneath the cracks because they are shared at the wrong times. Use this social media research to guide your posting.

The best time to post on Facebook:

  • From 12 to 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday

  • From 1 to 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday

  • At 3 p.m. on Wednesdays

The best time to post on Twitter:

  • 12 to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday Through Fridays

  • Noon and from 5 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays

The best time to post on Instagram:

  • Anytime besides 3 to 4 p.m. from Monday through Thursdays

  • Videos get more engagement after 9 p.m.

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