GoFundMe is a fundraising platform that is social media-driven, making it a great place to find small business funding when you already have a following. Unlike many crowdfunding platforms, GoFundMe isn’t all-or-nothing, which means that even if you don’t meet your funding goal, you still receive whatever funds have been pledged. However, if you don’t meet your goal, your backers still expect results. This makes it a good choice for businesses seeking extra funds for a cushion or stretch goals, rather than businesses that are 100% reliant on the funding.
Building a Campaign
GoFundMe campaigns are more flexible than Kickstarter campaigns in that there are no deadlines, goal time limits, or requirements for backer rewards. These campaigns are very DIY-minded, so be prepared to pull in your own party of backers from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and elsewhere.
Getting started is simple:
- Click “Start a Campaign.”
- Create an account using your business Facebook account.
- Enter a goal.
- Name your campaign.
- Enter your location.
- Choose “Business” as campaign type.
Campaign Best Practices
Now that you’ve done the preliminary work, it is time to build up the rest of your campaign. The following best practices for crowdfunding help ensure the best responses from your audience. Here are a few tips:
- Be descriptive and clear. Your backers want to know the exact plan. What is your business? Why do you need the funding?
- Don’t be afraid to set lofty goals. You’ll receive the existing pledges even if you don’t meet the goal, so aim high and be ambitious.
- Tell a story. GoFundMe users tend to be highly personal, so help them understand who you are and why your business is important to your community.
- Update often. Backers and followers receive alerts when you update your story, so add pictures, video, and text regularly showing backers what is going on in your business.
- Don’t forget about your campaign. There is no deadline or end date in sight, so make sure you keep updating and sharing your campaign until you’re done seeking funding.
GoFundMe relies largely on existing communities to get backers because it doesn’t have its own internal community. It is integrated with social media, so it doesn’t need a unique community to get results. This means that if you want a successful campaign, you need to have an established brand with a following. Some tips for bringing in backers include:
- Schedule regular sharing on Facebook and Twitter. A tool such as HootSuite lets you automate this so you don’t forget to share your campaign at the right times.
- Thank your backers. Even if you don’t offer tier rewards, a quick note of thanks on social media goes a long way toward making backers feel like they’ve done something tangible for your brand.
- Research alternative communities and build a presence there. Reddit and Voat are both content alternative communities that reward users who actually put in an effort to participate.