Hannah Sklar tells you how her nonprofit exceeded its fundraising goals and found new ways to reach donors through the GlobalGiving Accelerator program.
Creamos earned the #1 fundraiser spot in the 2016 September Accelerator, a crowdfunding training program for nonprofits. Hannah Sklar of Creamos tells you how her team did it in this Q+A with GlobalGiving.
Mission: Help women in Guatemala City break the cycle of poverty through economic training and emotional support programs
Location: Guatemala City
Accelerator Campaign: Raised $17,887 from 226 donors in 14 days
Q: How did Creamos initially feel about crowdfunding in Guatemala through the Accelerator
A: When we first heard that we had to raise $5,000 in 12 days from 40 unique donors our staff was worried. Half were nervous about the amount of donors, half were nervous about making the dollar amount.
Q: How did you overcome your fundraising nerves?
A: Instead of freaking out about what may happen, sit with your team and begin drafting a fundraising plan. This is possible!
Q: If you had to share just one tip with new Accelerator participants, what would it be?
A: Clear your calendars for GG Accelerator trainings. We all have busy days—we work in chaotic and unstable environments. Although a training may not seem like it is at the top of the to-do list, try your hardest to get as many staff members to attend as possible. The trainings will provide tips, answer any of your questions, and give you homework which will further your preparation for the Accelerator training. Every team member will take something different out of each training, so make sure you share feedback with each other after!
Q: What should future Accelerator participants know about GlobalGiving training and resources?
A: The great part about the Accelerator program is the resources you have available. GlobalGiving provides webinars and presentations on things that every organization should do, but thinks that they do not have time, for example conducting a SWOT analysis and defining SMART goals. It is a great way to ensure all team members are on the same page regarding how you are going to achieve your organization’s mission and vision both during and after the campaign.
Q: Tell us about one of your favorite training sessions.
A: One of the trainings you will go to is Network Mapping. This is a critical component to running a successful campaign. Make long lists of your team’s network—this includes people that can make donations, but also people who have access to larger networks. After you have listed all, write down what type of supporter they will be—a donor, an ambassador, a social media “sharer,” a fundraiser or any other categories that fits your network. Remember just because someone cannot donate big bucks doesn’t mean they cannot play an imperative role in your campaign.
Q: How did you involve your whole staff in crowdfunding in Guatemala?
A: Bring all of your staff to the table … regularly. Even before the campaign starts, (minimally six weeks before) the entire staff should share any and every idea they have on how you can best graduate from the Accelerator program. Write down all ideas on either a big piece of paper/chalk board/whiteboard—the purpose is to have a visual of everyone’s ideas. Assign people to spearhead various ideas on the board, and meet weekly to check in on progress. In the weeks leading up to the campaign, as well as during the actual campaign, all team members should check in to hold everyone accountable and see if there are any changes that need to be made.
Q: Email is a powerful fundraising tool. What works?
A: Write personal emails and make things easy. This is an ESSENTIAL part of your campaign’s success and definitely takes the most time. Your friends and family are going to want to support you and you just have to make it easy for them to help. Make a list of your personal contacts (the network mapping training will explain this more). Most of the emails should be very personalized and give clear instructions on how they can help. List options that are feasible (sharing an email, sharing a post on social media, small donation, or a more sizable donation). Give clear and concise instructions on what they can do to help.
Q: How did you make social media part of your Accelerator campaign?
A: For many of us, social media is not the focal point of the day. We have to work on our actual work—especially for those of us who don’t have someone focused on public relations. That being said, social media is an essential part of engaging the masses about your project. There are simple things you can do like post something every day, and invite people to like your page or follow you. If you don’t have a PR department, I recommend you make a social media calendar so one person doesn’t get burnt out of posting everyday. If you are worried about taking time with your post, you can pre-write posts for the week so all you have to do for your daily post is copy and paste. The most important thing is to make people excited to look at your page—happy, bright and positive photos.
Q: Raising $5,000 in 12 days is intimidating! Tell us one tactic that you used to make the goal more manageable.
A: Focus on one or two days. Although 12 days feels very short to begin with, it is actually a really long window for donors to donate. Try to have two big push days—one a few days into the campaign and one towards the end. Create excitement and urgency around these days so your donors have a specific time they know they need to donate. You could even give them a time to donate on matching days to make it even more specific. No matter what, some donors will be late, but making them feel like they are part of a special day for the organization is an important component.
Q: How should you respond when someone doesn’t donate?
A: Asking for money can be awkward. Your friends and your family will want to help, but do not make them feel pressured to donate. Offer multiple ways they can support, even if it’s just by spreading the word. If they do not donate, or do not offer the help that you expected, don’t worry! It doesn’t mean they love you any less—people have stuff going on. Do not hold grudges—it’s just a campaign!
Q: How should nonprofits thank their donors?
A: After your supporters give, make them feel like they are part of the team. Sending thank you cards on GlobalGiving is an easy way to quickly thank donors. To add a special touch, send a personal email or note to anyone that donated from your contact list.
Take your nonprofit’s fundraising to the next level. Apply now to be part of the next Accelerator.
Featured Banner Photo: A portrait of a Creamos participant by Creamos