Memorial Fundraising

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Memorial fundraising is an easy and effective method for paying for a memorial service. DonationTo provides users with access to a long list of useful tools that may crowdfunding easier, including our social networking integration tool, one click email feature and many other options. However, it is important to note that these tools will only be useful when you combine them with a specific strategy. Therefore, we have put together our 101 memorial crowdfunding strategy list to give you step-by-step specifics for quickly raising money for a memorial. These memorial fundraising tips are especially viable because they are contexualized with proper timing, and this will help you get the most out of your efforts. Fundraising requires four different stages: preparation, starting, middle and the ending stage. The following tips are organized within the stages make everything go as smoothly as possible.

We will also focus on helping you learn which fundraising platform is the right one for your cause. Many people to be between using free fundraising platforms that actually keep 5 percent of each donation versus paid platforms like DonationTo.com that will enable you to keep 100 percent of each donation and avoid any additional credit card processing fees.

It is essential to take the time to educate yourself about memorial fundraising techniques that have been proven to be successful so that you can meet or surpass your funeral fundraising goal. With this in mind, we present an extensive list of tips that will make it easy for you to enhance your memorial fundraiser.

Memorial Fundraising Preparation Section I – Gather a Small Team of Helpers

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1: Utilizing an online donation website gives you a centralized location for sharing information about your campaign and collecting contributions, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done if you truly want to be successful. For example, you will need to take full advantage of social media and emails to get people involved. The reality is that no person can efficiently run a campaign by themselves, so we strongly recommend getting a small team together to assist you throughout the process. This can be your parents, a few very close friends or even a combination of friends and family. The important part is to bring people together who are brought together or can relate as they share the same passion for the person who has passed away.

2: Once you have assembled your team, you will need to determine the best task to what person based on their skill. Everyone will have certain skill sets that make them valuable to your memorial campaign, and you need to utilize them appropriately. In other words, if your mother is extremely skilled with writing and typing, you can have her do all of your memorial fundraising emails. Your sister who spends all of their time on Facebook will be an ideal choice for your social media expert. Perhaps you have a friend from school who became a graphic designer? If so, they will be perfect for the role of working with your memorial fundraiser’s photos and videos.

3: Ultimately, the goal of gathering a small team of people to assist you with your memorial fundraiser is to ensure that everything will keep moving smoothly without causing you to become overwhelmed. Additionally, sharing all of the necessary tasks with your team will allow everyone to contribute without spending all of their time focused on your memorial campaign. This will help prevent everyone involved from getting burned out, and it will make them more likely to stick by your side until you reach your funeral expense goal. As an added bonus, your close family and friends will feel touched by the fact that you think highly enough of them to get them involved. After all, sharing access to your page on our donation website for memorial expenses requires a lot of trust, but it will empower you and the rest of your team to make great things happen for the individual who needs financial assistance.

Preparation Section II – Crowdfunding Checklist

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There are several things that you need to prepare before you launch your memorial fundraiser to help ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. The following checklist can be utilized to make sure that you do not miss any critical components.

4: Set up a PayPal or WePay Account: DonationTo has a payment processing partnership in place with PayPal and WePay. You have the option between using one or both of these sites, but research indicates that providing potential donors with multiple ways to pay will increase the total amount of online donations that you receive. Either way, you need to set up an account with one or both of these websites before you launch your page. The payment processing site of your choice will hold all of your funeral donations until you are ready to have them transferred to your checking account. With this in mind, it will also be imperative to connect your checking account to PayPal or WePay in advance so that you will be fully prepared to access your contributions right away.

5: Provide In-Depth Details About Your Charity Cause: One of the most important aspects of your memorial crowdfunding campaign will be written text that can provide each visitor to your page with in-depth details about your funeral fundraising efforts. Our online donation website gives you an unlimited amount of space to offer this information, and it has been proven that visitors become more engaged and make larger donations when they are able to truly understand your cause. Therefore, you need to make sure that someone on your team is a good writer so that you can take advantage of this invaluable memorial fundraising opportunity.

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In a recent example Lauren McDonald created a Memorial Crowdfunding page. She set the goal at $20,000 and gives great detail regarding the expense – Lauren explains:

“It is an extreme tragedy to inform you that our colleague and friend, David Fider, suddenly lost his 21 month old daughter Melody last week to meningitis. Melody was a beautiful, happy, cheeky toddler and contracted an aggressive strain of meningitis which tragically took her from her family within a matter of hours. This sudden loss has devastated the family and close friends and even though we can offer support both emotionally and physically I feel there is more we can do to help. David relocated to Canada from the UK with his family and Melody was born here in summer 2012. It is the family’s wish to have Melody buried on a family grave plot in Essex, England. The cost of having her flown back to the UK and buried are extortionate and insurance only covers a small fraction of the costs.”

6: Utilize High Quality Photos: The memorial pictures you use to share your fundraiser can be high quality and relevant to your campaign. This means you can upload unlimited photos of the person who has passed. By doing this people can share a semblance of joy during such a hard time of passing. Fortunately, this can easily be achieved with any smartphone, so it is not necessary to invest in expensive photography equipment. It is a good idea to see if someone on your team is handy with Photoshop because this will give you the ability to touch-up images in a variety of ways.

In the same example Lauren took the time to upload high quality photos. Taking advantage of this will really give visitors clear perspective on the fundraising story at hand. This will ultimately help with your story telling and give visitors to your cause an engaging story to follow. 

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7: Get Your Videos Ready: Photos are an integral part of every crowdfunding page, and videos can provide you with even more forward momentum. This is another situation that only requires a smartphone, and you can easily upload your videos to YouTube to increase your fundraising reach. Ultimately, the purpose of photos and videos is to let people see a visual representation of the cause that you are asking them to assist with an online donation. Video is key in this context as there is a great deal of data that suggests those who make videos for their memorial fundraisers get more in donations.

8: Choose an Email Master: Email has been proven to be one of the most beneficial resources for acquiring new donations. Therefore, you will need to select someone from your group who is comfortable with the task of organizing email lists and sending out mass emails at the same time in order to help your memorial crowdfunding campaign achieve the best results. DonationTo makes this easy as you can click 1 button and an email is sent to everyone in your contact this for any type of email account you have.

9: Social Media Owner: Just like email, you will need someone to become responsible for organizing every aspect of your social media outreach efforts. This will include organizing updates for the entire team to place on site such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus. Keep in mind that posting these updates at the same time will help make your topic become trending, and this is a fantastic way to reach a wider audience.

10: Communications Expert: The person who fills this role will be responsible for ensuring that all funeral fundraising announcements take place in a timely manner. For example, after the initial announcement of your memorial donation page, you will need to provide updates on a daily basis to ensure that communication stays high enough to keep everyone connected throughout your campaign. This will make it much easier to hit your goal.

11: Bloggers: You need at least one blogger on your team who will write about the story of your fundraiser and place it on their blog. There are many benefits to using a blog format, including it gives you space to provide additional relevant details that will draw a deeper level of engagement from your donors. Additionally, blog posts will provide further validity for your cause, and this can help publications decide to feature your story. Remember a loved one has pass a blog is a perfect way to really share all the details that most will want to read. As you create your memorial fundraising page a blog post is a perfect way to add additional story telling about the loved one who has passed.

We understand that all of this preparatory work might seem like a lot, but setting clear expectations before your fundraising page launches will be the key to making sure that everything actually happens. It is also important to note that one person can own many tasks, so you do not necessarily need to have a different individual in charge of each aspect of your campaign. It is common for fundraisers to wear many hats throughout the process, and it will be much easier for this happen if you follow our template.

Preparation Section III – Select a Donation Website for Memorial Bills

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There are several different fundraising services available, and the online donation website that you choose should be based around the specific type of campaign that you are running. Taking this approach will help get your campaign in front of the right potential donors, and it will also enable you to maximize each contribution that you receive. After all, every crowdfunding website has different pros and cons, but it is definitely possible to select a site that has been designed with your specific memorial fundraising needs in mind.

12: New Products or Inventions: It is very common for people who are trying to launch a new product or invention such as a camera to turn to Kickstarter or IndieGoGo. There are many rules in place for these fundraising platforms, and it is necessary to go through an approval process before you can get started. For example, you will not be able to launch a crowdfunding campaign via either of these sites without offering product to each of your donors. Additionally, if you do not reach your goal in time, you will be penalized by either losing every donation or approximately 9 percent of the contributions that you have raised. Kickstarter or IndieGoGo are not ideal for memorial fundraising, especially because they enable someone to raise money for a project, not for a cause.

13: Fundraising for a Personal Need: Any fundraiser that is not for an invention such as medical expenses, memorial fundraising or a natural disaster should be hosted through a service such as DonationTo.com or GoFundMe. There are a few major differences between these two platforms that you need to carefully consider. GoFundMe will keep 5 percent of each online donation, but DonationTo will let you keep 100 percent of your donations, and we will also enable you to avoid paying credit card processing fees. Here is how this works, if you raise $30,000 in three months, GoFundMe will keep $1,500 from your donations. Alternatively, DonationTo charges a small monthly fee of $9/month that is a total of $27 in a 3 month period. In other words, you will save $1,473 in this scenario by choosing DonationTo.

Ultimately, the type of crowdfunding service that you select should be based around your campaign. Therefore, if you are trying to fund a project or new invention, it will typically make the most sense to use Kickstarter or IndieGoGo. However, if you are fundraising for a personal reason, you should definitely work with either DonationTo or GoFundMe depending on your preference with fees.

We are pleased to offer a low fee environment, and our commitment to helping fundraisers reach their goal has made us the preferred platform for thousands of people worldwide. You will also receive much more than just financial benefits by choosing our approach. In fact, we offer a long list of tips and tools that will help everyone from novices to experienced fundraisers with the process of reaching out to potential supporters.

Preparation Section IV – Establish a Goal Amount that is Meaningful

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The goal amount that you set for your memorial fundraising campaign will have a big impact on your ability to collect enough money to cover all of the necessary memorial expenses. It is important to note that asking for too much or too little can be very problematic, so you need to carefully analyze the situation.

14: Make an Itemized List: This list can be used to showcase the reason that you need people to make a memorial donation. For example, telling people all of the different things that your goal amount will pay for will make them feel more inclined to get involved by making a contribution. This is basic psychology, and you should use it to your advantage. Many people end up hitting their goal only to discover that there are still many outstanding expenses. Taking the time to put together an itemized list will help you determine the exact amount that is needed for your specific funeral. As you create this itemized list share it on your funeral fundraising page to give clarity to those who will donate.

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A example of this can be found with the Daja Brown-Rogers memorial fund page on DonationTo. They gave a lot of details about the nature of the memorial fundraising page. They also were very detailed in explaining what would happen to funds as they went over their goal. The ultimate amount reached was over $18,000!

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15: Make Your Goal Attainable: It is important that you do not set such a high goal amount that people feel like their online donation is essentially worthless. This is a problem that funeral crowdfunding campaigns can have because a lot of donors will not give financial support to a cause that they do not believe will become fully funded. In other words, if you truly need to raise $20,000 for memorial expenses, it might be better to split your campaign into 2 separate fundraisers so that each goal does not seem unattainable to your visitors. You can also get the ball rolling by having your close family and friends make a contribution to your memorial fundraiser before you begin advertising your DonationTo page to other people. This will show potential donors that there is support for your campaign, and it will make them feel more comfortable with the idea of joining in by making a donation. More about goal setting and asking for too little here. More about goal setting and asking for too much, you can click here.

Preparation Section V – Give a Detailed Explanation of Your Cause

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We have already mentioned the importance of providing in-depth information about your memorial fundraiser, but this is the part where most people make a mistake. It is easy to understand why you might not want to spend a lot of time writing out all of the details about your campaign, but simply focus on story telling and provide great memories that others will enjoy. In fact, the more transparent you are about your funeral fundraiser, the more likely you to bring people together to reach your goal. Therefore, there are some specifics you should address on your memorial fundraising page if you want to reach your goal.

16: What Are You Raising Money For?: Everyone who visits your page will want to be able to immediately determine if you are raising money for the cost of the funeral. For example, if your memorial fundraising efforts are intended to assist a family who lost a loved one in a car accident, you will need to provide this information along with any news links that can help corroborate your campaign’s story. Again, transparency is critical, and offering these details will make people feel more confident that you will be utilizing their memorial donation in the intended way. Odds are not all friends are loved ones will know of this news and want to learn more.

17: What is the Significance of This Cause, and is it Time Sensitive?: People will be more likely to make a contribution if they understand that there is a sense of urgency. For example, if you are assisting someone with the fundraising process because they do not have enough money for the service, you should let everyone know that this is what is happening. By providing more details visitors will have clarity when arriving to your webpage for donations. Ultimately this will set the best expectations and have friends and loved ones ready to donate.

18: Who Else is Helping?: It will be beneficial to include a content on your DonationTo memorial crowdfunding page that shows which family and friends are involved in your campaign. Most people will have previous experiences with each other and knowing that other friends or family members have already started to help get others engaged.  Keep in mind that everyone who is helping is also giving up a significant portion of their personal time, so it is a good idea to mention them so they feel recognized for their efforts. This type of social validations will reduce hesitation as visitors arrive to your page to donate. By having others already participating will make it more willing for others to join. We address this by also advocating having a few donations on your page before you announce your memorial fundraising page. Again social validation here is that you don’t want visitors to arrive to a blank fundraising page.

19: What is the Timing and Deadline?: Your supporters need to be aware of any long-term goals. For example, if the family wants to raise money to create a scholarship in the deceased individual’s name, you will need to make this information well-known. Doing this will help alleviate any concerns about how the money will be spent, and it will also answer questions that your donors will have about the memorial process that will be followed as a result of their online donation. As an added bonus, telling people the anticipated time frame and exactly what is happening will help them determine if they need to make a big donation immediately for a memorial service or if they can space out smaller contributions during the fundraising period.

20: What is the Goal Amount, and How Did You Reach That Figure?: Donors do not like being given a random goal amount. Instead, they want to have enough information to help them see exactly how you arrived at that figure. If you consider previous instances when you have been asked to assist a memorial fundraising campaign, you should be able to easily understand why everyone will want more detailed information. The reality is that seeing a high goal without an explanation will make people feel hesitant to donate. However, you can remove this problem by being committed to offering full transparency with a list that details exactly how the money will be utilized. Providing a detail list of of funeral expenses is no more complex than writing something like this:

1: Fee for the funeral director’s services: $1,500
2: Cost for a casket: $2,300
3: Embalming: $500
4: Using the funeral home for the actual funeral service: $500
5: Grave site: $1,000
6: Dig the grave: $600
7: Grave liner or outer burial container: $1,000
8: Headstone: $1,500

By adding these funeral costs on your donation page you can see how visitors will now have better perspective as they donate. Now if someone donates $500 they can feel good that they covered the entire expense of using the funeral home etc.

21: Which Donation Website for Memorial Bills Are You Using?: The technology that you use to collect memorial donations will have an impact on whether or not you hit your goal. For example, if you are using DonationTo, you can let people know that we have provided you with a low fee structure that will enable you to keep 100 percent of the money that they contribute. This knowledge will make people happy and more comfortable with their decision to make an online donation. Therefore, make sure that you include a blurb on your page that explains why you chose our crowdfunding platform.

Preparation Section VI – What Schedule are You Using to Collect Money for the Memorial Service?

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The type of memorial fundraiser and its length will make a big difference in your memorial fundraising efforts. Letting everyone know exactly what is expected will be extremely beneficial for your campaign.

22: Crowdfunding for Multiple Purposes: It is imperative that you let all of your potential supporters know the schedule for anything beyond the memorial service so that they know exactly what you need from them. For example, you will need to have one huge single push to raise money during a short period of time if you are simply trying to fund the memorial. On the other hand, setting up a memorial scholarship can be spread out over the next year, and this will make it necessary to have several small campaign pushes to ensure that enough funding is available. Letting people know in advance what the schedule looks like will help them become prepared to make online donations as needed until the final goal is achieved.

An example of Memorial Scholarships is when Tony Peach passed away and a college fund was created for his daughters. The page reads

“To bring a little peace to Tony’s concerns for his kids, we have initiated an education fund to help ease his mind about sending his daughters to college. It’s a small token of our appreciation for Tony’s mentorship, teamwork, leadership, friendship and positive impact on our lives for many years. Many people have asked what they could do to support the family – dinner, groceries, flowers, etc. – a small donation to the girls’ education fund would be a very meaningful way to support Tony and his family during this difficult time. “

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The Peach fund ended up raising over $85,000 for the daughters. And many supporters were happy to give. One donor stated: “As friends of Steve Cauz, we are happy to contribute to the Peach girls’ education fund. The Cauz family spoke very highly of Tony.”

23: Provide Specific Dates: Everyone who contributes will want to know the scheduled dates for every aspect of your campaign. There are many reasons that you need to provide this information. For example, creating a sense of urgency is an essential aspect of all fundraising campaigns, and letting people know the date of the memorial service will give them a firm deadline for making a donation. If you need to raise money for more than one thing, you still need to list each applicable deadline. This will give people an easy to follow guideline so that they can budget for each memorial donation.

Here is an example of how to organize your outreach for a multiple purpose memorial fundraising scenario. Please note that the area in parentheses after each paragraph contains notes to help you learn how to craft the most effective crowdfunding page. These sections are for your personal usage only, and they should not be added to your public fundraising materials.

Sample Letter

Friends and family,

My best friend, Sarah, lost her life in a car accident, and we are raising $10,000 as soon as possible to assist her family with the memorial expenses. Sarah passed away at a young age, and her family did not have any money put aside for a memorial service. If we can all join together to hit the $10,000 goal, Sarah’s family can honor her with a nice service without taking on a huge financial burden.

(This opening paragraph gives people an understanding of the total amount of money that will be needed by the end of the campaign, and it also indicates that there will be multiple stages. This information should always be divulged right away because transparency and asking for exactly what you need are essential components of hitting your goal.)

This is an extremely important fundraiser for me because I have known Sarah all of my life. We grew up together, and I know that many of my friends and family have also known Sarah for a long time. Therefore, I am reaching out to each of you to help Sarah’s family during their time of need. I also want to ensure that we all stay connected throughout this process and do what we can to raise the funding that is required for her memorial service.

(The second paragraph is the perfect place to reiterate who needs the treatment and what your overall plan is. This section also gives you a good opportunity to remind people of their personal connection to the person in need. Additionally, letting everyone know why you are hosting this campaign can make a big impact on those who do not know the individual who needs treatment.)

My parents have already donated $1,200 toward this very worthy cause, and I also received another $500 from the local coffee shop that Sarah and I used to frequent together. The overwhelming support so far has been tremendous, but we need much more to hit our goal! Every penny counts, so please make a memorial donation today so that we can make sure that Sarah receives the type of service that she deserves.

(It is always best to showcase the efforts of those who have already started to support your cause. After all, people like to feel like they are getting involved with a group effort, and your earliest donors will be pleased to receive some public recognition. Keep in mind that people are also much more likely to donate if they believe that you can hit your goal. Indicating that you have already gotten a good start will make everyone who visits your page feel more comfortable with the idea of contributing.)

We need to hit our $10,000 goal by [dd/mm/yyyy] to ensure that we get all of the funds required for the memorial service. Her family does not currently have the necessary money available, but $10,000 will make this possible.

(Indicating exactly what you need and the deadline to receive it is a great way to create a sense of urgency. Additionally, clearly stating what the consequences are of failing to hit your goal will make people feel more inclined to help out.)

I want to thank everyone in advance for all of their support and the heartfelt emails that Sarah’s family has already started receiving. Sarah was a truly wonderful person, and I would do anything to support her family in their hour of need. I know that all of you will do everything that you can to help too! We made the decision to use DonationTo.com as our memorial fundraising platform because they enable us to keep 100 percent of each donation and avoid paying for extra credit card processing fees. In other words, we will be able to put every penny of your contributions toward Sarah’s memorial expenses.

We all will be sharing our personal stories about Sarah. Please tell us your memories in the comment section when you donate.

(People like to be given enough information to understand why you have made certain choices for your fundraiser. For example, letting them know the financial benefits of using DonationTo will encourage them to make a larger online donation. After all, many people are leery of contributing to a campaign that has high fees attached to it. Being transparent by explaining our low fee structure will help assuage these fears and increase the total amount of contributions that you receive.)

Thank you,
Jessica

PS: I have attached a schedule below of all of the necessary expenses.

Casket, burial shroud and all necessary burial preparation services: $8,000

Flowers: $200

Grave marker: $1,500

Graveside service: $300

24: An Example of a Previous Fundraiser: We hosted the “Friends of Jeffrey Kish” campaign, and they were able to perfectly execute the communication phase of their campaign in order to dramatically increase their likelihood of success. Ultimately, taking this approach made it possible for them to surpass their $15,000 goal. In fact, they ended up raising more than $22,000.

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We have chosen this particular fundraiser as an example for everyone to follow because they used a template very similar to the one that you have just read through. For example, they explained exactly what happened to Jeffrey, and they indicated that he had lost his job two months prior to the accident that severely damaged his left hand. After this introduction, they let everyone know exactly what medical steps were being taken and how each online donation would be utilized. They even provided a full list of dates, medical procedures and expenses so that each donor would have an immediate understanding of how their contribution would assist Jeffrey. This fundraiser contains a great example of how to introduce your decision to use DonationTo, and the page also includes two updates to keep everyone in the loop.

As you can see, the campaign took full advantage of the template for fundraising success that is posted above. Their massive success highlights the importance of using each of the tips that are providing for you within this post. After all, the total amount of money that you are able to raise will be significantly altered by the steps that you take. Emulating the “Friends of Jeffrey Kish” fundraiser will put you in a great position to meet or even exceed your goal.

Preparation Section VII – Prepare Your Crowdfunding Page Before You Announce and Share It

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Taking the time to properly prepare your page before you announce it and begin sharing it with others will have a major impact on the quantity of memorial donations that you receive.

25: Get Your Closest Friends Involved: We have touched on basic fundraising psychology before, and now it is time to once again consider how it will affect your campaign. The reality is that most people do not want to be the first person to make a contribution or leave a comment. Therefore, we highly recommend that you get a few of your closest personal friends to be the first ones to take the plunge so that visitors to your page will not see a zero balance. The best analogy for the situation is that clicking on a crowdfunding page that has not had any activity yet is similar to arriving at a party before everyone else. Fortunately, ensuring that you have at least a few active users who have made donations before you begin sharing your page will make everyone feel more confident about donating, and it will also give them the motivation that they need to join the party.

26: Add as Many Photos as You Can: DonationTo gives you an unlimited uploads feature so that you can post a large quantity of images to your fundraising page. This will allow you to take advantage of the highly visual nature of the Internet, and it will also encourage your friends, family and the entire community to get involved. Uploading several pictures that include people from within your entire social network will cause each person to feel more motivated to donate. The key is to upload photographs of the specific people involved with the fundraiser along with their friends and family. For example, if you were in charge of Sarah’s memorial crowdfunding campaign, you would want to post images that showcase her life with family and friends. Posting pictures on a regular basis will increase the amount of return visitors that your page receives. However, even adding all of your photos at once will make a great first impression, and it will increase the validation of your campaign.

27: Make a Video: Most smartphones make it easy to shoot video, and this is a great format for letting everyone know what your cause is about. In fact, it has been proven that fundraising pages that feature a video that explains their cause outperform campaigns that fail to take this step. It is not necessary to have a lot of experience shooting videos, but there are a few tips that you will want to use to get the best possible results.

29: Shoot in the Shade: Shooting your video in direct sunlight will cause harsh shadows, and this will prevent you from looking your best.

30: Utilize Sunrise and Sunset: The best natural lighting occurs during sunrise and sunset, and this will even have an impact on the videos that you should inside your home. Therefore, we highly recommend using one of these time frames to get the best lighting for your video.

31: Eliminate Background Noise: In order to get the best sound quality, you will need to ensure that you are shooting in an area with zero background noise. This will add clarity to your video, and it will make it easier for people to hear your message.

32: Act Natural: It is understandable to become nervous when you are on camera, but it is best to act natural and use your own voice so that visitors can see the real you.

33: Carefully Select Your Fundraising Name: Your DonationTo page has a title area, and you want to make it as explanatory as possible. For example, if you are hosting a memorial fundraising campaign, you could name the page after this such as Sarah’s Memorial Fundraiser. This will allow visitors to immediately understand the purpose of your page, and this is a great way to increase contributions. You can see how this was done with “Garrett Bradley Frazier Memorial Fund” here the real name is used and the purpose of the fundraising. This will add clarity to the cause as visitors arrive.

Here they talk about their story:

“A group of family and friends who would like to show their love and support for our dear friends, Jason and Shanna Frazier, with the sudden loss of their youngest son. By giving to this family we might be able to show them some grace during this very difficult time in their lives. So many of us want to help them but are not sure how to do it, making a donation to this family will help us all as we try to understand the loss of this very special little boy, Garrett. During this difficult time for the family we need to show them that they are not alone, there are many people that are thinking about them and want to support them.”

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34: Maximize Your DonationTo URL: DonationTo will give you your own URL to help you advertise your crowdfunding efforts. Everyone receives a free URL permalink that will look like this: www.DonationTo.com/Sarahs-Memorial-Fundraiser. This permalink includes the name of your page, and it will give further validation of your cause to first time visitors. Therefore, you need to make sure that your page’s name is carefully thought out. An example of this can be found here: https://www.donationto.com/Think-of-Jim-Help-Ease-Family-Financial-Strain  as it states “Think of Jim Ease Family Financial Strain. This is ideal as people will read URLs and it helps to have the URL give relevant and supporting meaning to your cause to help visitors understand the purpose.

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35: Choose Your Own Domain Name: You will also have the opportunity to purchase your own domain name instead of relying on the permalink that is provided by DonationTo. For example, you could choose the domain name www.sarahs-memorial-fundraiser.com to make it easy for all of your supporters to remember your URL. Another bonus of selecting this option is the fact that it will help build donor confidence because it will make it obvious that you are personally invested in hitting your goal. For additional tips on how to select a domain name or where to buy a domain name, read our blog post at iwantMyName.com.

36: Think About Who Will be Reading the URL: Although the Internet gives you the opportunity to connect with people worldwide who are not affiliated with your cause in any way, it is most important to tailor your URL toward family and friends. With this in mind, you should pick a domain name that is very specific and relevant to your cause so that it will be easier for them to remember. Taking this step will help keep everyone on track with making a donation.

37: Keep it Relevant: The more relevant your URL is, the more likely you are to hit your goal. For example, sarahs-memorial-fundraiser.com is extremely relevant and specific as it reminds your visitors of who you are raising money for and what their donations can accomplish. In other words, contributing will help Sarah’s family pay for a nice memorial service.

38: Keep It Short: The shorter your URL is, the easier it will be for people to remember and share it.

39: Use Hyphens if Necessary: It will not always be possible to get the exact URL that you have in mind. If you run into this issue, you can use hyphens to separate each word so that your URL will be unique but easy to read, remember and share. An example of this is highlighted in the URL sarahs-memorial-fundraiser.com.

You can find out more information about choosing the right domain name by reading more in our past blog post entitled 12 Epic Tips for Selecting a Domain Name.

40: Include Information About the Fundraising Host: When you create your fundraising page, you will be given the opportunity to tell everyone who you are. This is a minor detail that can help provide a great deal of context for the people who visit your page. In this case, you can simply add your first and last name along with a headshot to help people immediately recognize the individual behind the campaign. This is a hyper relevant form of imagery that will really tie your fundraising page together for all of your first-time visitors. If you imagine what it is like to visit a crowdfunding page for the first time, you will be able to understand the importance of letting people know who is in need and who is spearheading the effort to help them. Providing this information will make people feel more comfortable, and it will help you get your fundraising page moving much more quickly.

41: Tier Rewards: Many fundraisers offer a tiered rewards or perks program as an incentive to get people to donate a large amount of money. For example, everyone who contributes $10 could get a personal note or hug from Sarah’s best friend, and donors who choose to give $50 for the cause could receive a T-shirt that will turn them into a walking billboard for the campaign. Those who are able to make a $100 online donation could be given a name plaque in their honor. Ultimately, the exact type of rewards that you offer will be less important than simply having this option available. After all, people like to feel like they will be getting something in return for their financial
investment.

At this point, the preparatory work for launching your crowdfunding page is nearing its completion. However, there are certain factors that you need to firm up before you will be ready to tell the world about your need for contributions.

42: Get Your Team Organized: If you have gathered at least three people together to act as your fundraising team, you are already off to a good start. If you have more than three people, this will be even better. Either way, the idea is to ensure that everyone is on the same page before you launch your campaign. Fortunately, we have a simple checklist that you can review the day before your efforts go live.

43: Check Your URL: It is critical to make sure that your URL is working properly.

44: Are Your Emails Consistent?: You can easily share documents with each other via Google Docs. This is a fantastic way to make sure that you are all using the same type of verbiage in the introductory emails that you will be sending off in the morning. We talk more about this in our 15 Fundraising Email Tips blog post.

45: Have You Assigned a Social Media Blast Time?: One of the best ways to capture attention and make your campaign go viral is by getting everyone who is involved in the campaign to post information on websites such as Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Twitter and every other social media site at the same time. For example, you could all commit to posting on Facebook at 9 a.m., followed up by a post on Google Plus five minutes later.

46: Do You Have a Daily Schedule in Place?: Many people erroneously place the majority of their focus on the first day of their campaign. Although this is critical, you need to make sure that you do not lose momentum after the first day. Putting a schedule in place will help you keep your campaign moving forward, and this will make it much easier for you to reach your goal.

47: Do You Have Donations, Comments and Photos in Place?: Remember that no one likes to be the first person to arrive at a party. Therefore, you need to have a few donations, comments and photos already in place before you widely launch your fundraiser.

If you have already achieved everything on this checklist, you can consider yourself off to a fantastic start. The next thing that you need to focus on is getting your URL in front of as many people as possible.

48: Useful Places to Share Your URL: The more places that your URL is listed, the better your end result will be. To help you with this process, we have compiled a few tips that everyone on your fundraising team can easily follow. You should also encourage your other friends and family to do the same thing to raise awareness of your campaign.

49: Email Signature: Every major email provider gives you the ability to set up a default email signature that will attach itself automatically to the bottom of your emails. For example, you could build a signature that says “Help Sarah’s family pay for her memorial service. Visit www.sarahs-memorial-fundraiser.com to get involved.” If possible, you should add this signature to your personal and work emails to get it in front of the largest amount of people.

memorial-fundraising

In an example Vicken Keheian created a memorial fundraising page for Hovig Akmakjian who touched many lives.  Vicken goes on to explain – “In loving memory of Hovig Akmakjian – son, brother, friend, cousin, grandson, and loved one, who passed suddenly on Friday, February 21st, 2014 in a tragic motorcycle accident in Huntington Beach, California. Twenty-two-year-old Hovig Akmakjian had a long and bright future ahead of him. One of the most loving and compassionate souls, all he ever wanted was to share that with those around him. He had a contagious laugh and heart-melting smile that lit up every room he stepped into. He was the only son to Sam and Nargis Akmakjian of Santa Ana in Orange County, California, and has left behind his only sibling, younger sister Ani. His untimely and unfortunate death has been devastating for everyone that had the honor of knowing him. Funeral arrangements take a lot of courage, strength, and resources. We would like to do all that we can in order to assist his family during this difficult time. Any and all contributions will help and the appreciation of his loved ones will serve as gratitude for your kindness.”

funeral-fundraising

50: Chat Status Message: Most mobile chat services such as Gmail, WeChat, Line, WhatsApp, Skype and AOL give you the opportunity to have a status that everyone can see. Taking advantage of this status by using it to share information about your campaign is a great way to raise awareness. After all, there are probably several previous examples from your own life when you learned about something important via a status update, and you want to use the same format to tell others about your fundraiser.

51: About Section of Facebook: Every Facebook user has the ability to fill out the “about” section of their profile with information that pertains to their life. In this instance, you should utilize this section to give people basic details about your campaign. Make sure that you include the URL to your DonationTo page. Keep in mind that a wide variety of people will see your “about” section, including those who are not friends with you. This makes it a prime piece of Internet real estate, and it is critical to take advantage of this space.

52: About Section of Google Plus: This section should be used in a similar manner to Facebook’s. Include basic information about your fundraiser, and do not forget to include your URL. Remember that people who are curious about your life are likely to check out your “about” section, and you can utilize this to assist your campaign.

53: About Section of LinkedIn: Again, the “about” section of this social media site can be used to raise awareness of your fundraiser. LinkedIn is a professional social media site, so anyone who visits your page with the intention of learning more about your business accomplishments will also receive information about your memorial crowdfunding efforts.

54: Profile Section of Twitter: Everything about Twitter requires a more minimalistic approach, and this includes the profile section of your page. However, you should still have more than enough room to do a basic introduction to your campaign and include the URL. Anyone who visits your Twitter profile will be exposed to this information, and that can definitely have a big impact on the total amount of money that you raise.

55: Your YouTube Channel: YouTube gives you the ability to provide basic details about yourself and your channel with visitors, so this makes it a great place to share the URL of your memorial fundraiser. Make sure that you also include at least a few details to give people more of a reason to visit your crowdfunding page. If you are an active YouTube user, you will most likely receive some support from people who enjoy your videos.

One of the most important aspects of sharing information on all of these different platforms is the added value that you will receive from getting others to do the same thing. Therefore, you need to make sure that you include your DonationTo link so that everyone can find out more about your campaign and make a donation. Additionally, it is a good idea to personally ask your closest family members and friends to take the same steps with their email and social media accounts.

Starting Section VIII. Facebook Events: A Successful Fundraising Secret

funeral-fundraising-Facebook-Events--A-Successful-Fundraising-Secret

The answers are practically endless when the Facebook status update box asks you “what’s on your mind?” You might be thinking about the delicious burrito you just had or perhaps you want to share a funny image that you found on StumbleUpon. Regardless of what is on your mind, posting an update on Facebook allows you to broadcast this information to all of your friends. Naturally, this can be a very powerful feature in the context of fundraising. You are probably thinking that if you type out a few lines about your cause and click share that all of your friends will instantly see your message, but this is not exactly how things work. You have probably had several situations when you posted a link or image only to hear some of your friends say later “what? I never saw that on your wall.” The reason that this happens is the fact that Facebook uses an algorithm to determine which of your friends will receive each of your particular updates.

How Does All of This Work?

Due to the enormous size of Facebook’s membership base, the website is tasked with perpetually organizing an incredible amount of information from its users. Due to this, when a user posts a status update, a web programming technique that is referred to as behavioral targeting is enabled to help streamline the flow of data. As a result, each status update that you make will only be displayed to a subset of friends who Facebook considers relevant to the content of that specific update. For example, if you are a big sports fan and regularly post updates about your favorite team, you will be much more likely to see updates from friends about that same team than random updates about other aspects of their lives.

When you consider the implications of how this will impact your efforts to raise awareness of your memorial fundraising campaign, it becomes clear that status updates are not the best implementation of Facebook for your specific needs. However, this does not mean that you should avoid using Facebook. Instead, you simply need to utilize a different technique in order to be able to reach all of your Facebook friends to gain support for your cause. The best method available is the Facebook Events feature. After all, creating an event on Facebook gives you the opportunity to actually reach 100 percent of your friends. This enables you to leverage your social network by spreading the word for free in order to gain support for your cause.

How Do I Set up an Event Page?

56: Name Your Event: The name that you give to your event will have a big impact on whether or not people actually click on it, so make sure that you choose a relevant name that will allow people to instantly recognize your need for their assistance.

facebook-events

57: Choose Online as the Location: Most events that are advertised via Facebook will take place in an actual physical location. Therefore, you need to select online for your location, and you also need to include a note to remind people there is no physical location to visit so everyone can get involved.

58: Set a Start and End Time: Your event will remain active and easily accessible until the end time that you specify. Listing a specific start and end time will also let people know exactly when their help is needed.

59: Provide More Information: Giving an in-depth description that provides your social network with more information about your cause is imperative. Although you need to provide your DonationTo page URL and ask for support, you want to make sure that you also list the reason for your campaign so that people will feel more compelled to join in. In fact, the more information that you include, the more contributions you will receive from this outreach effort.

60: Ensure That This is an Open Event: Facebook gives you the opportunity to make your event open, closed or secret. Closed and secret events make sense when you are having a personal gathering, but they are not the route to take when you need to raise money for a worthy cause. Selecting the open event option will give all of your supporters the ability to easily share your event and invite their family and friends to participate. This is one of the best ways to gain additional supporters, and you should ask everyone to take these steps.

61: Enable the Event’s Wall: You have the option to allow each person who was involved with your event to add posts, images, links and videos to the event’s wall. Additionally, everyone who has already joined the event will be able to invite their friends. Making these options available will increase interaction, and this will make it much easier to raise awareness of your cause.

62: Invite Your Friends: Facebook allows you to invite an unlimited number of friends, but you can only choose 100 of them at a time. In other words, if you have 1,000 Facebook friends, you will need to divide them up into groups of 10. Please note that Facebook also allows you to add a personal note to your invitations, and you should take advantage of this feature in order to send out a meaningful message about your campaign.

Simply creating the event is not enough. Instead, you will need to regularly monitor your event page after it is completed. Taking this step is a critical aspect of effectively implementing this particular Facebook strategy. After all, your visitors will ask questions and post comments, and you need to be able to provide additional support by replying to each person in a timely manner. Do not be surprised if some of your supporters ask you for additional ways that they can continue spreading awareness of your fundraiser. In this case, you can kindly ask them to create their own events to gain additional reach within their extended network of family and friends.

When other people create a Facebook event for your cause, they will raise awareness and increase engagement via their network. Ultimately, this will result in much more visibility, and it will increase your likelihood of receiving additional contributions. Make sure that you thank people who become involved by creating their own event.

Starting Section IX – Announce Your Campaign and Communicate about it Via Email and Social Media

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The planning phase of your memorial fundraiser is absolutely essential, but you also need to communicate throughout the entire campaign in order to make people aware of your cause. Additionally, communicating regularly will show your friends and loved ones how much you care about this specific cause, and it will also give them the knowledge of what you expect from them. For example, sending out regular updates that highlight how much money you still need to raise will make it clear that you need everyone to get involved. To help you with this process, we have put together a template of the basic essentials so that you can learn how to plan your communication for all memorial crowdfunding related campaigns.

First Week: Making the Announcement of Your Cause and Asking for Donations

63: Double-Check Your URL: As previously mentioned, setting up your URL is a key element of running a successful campaign. Before you begin announcing and sharing your cause, you need to make certain that your URL works properly. It does not matter if you purchased your own domain name or are using a DonationTo permalink. What does matter is double checking to ensure that everything is working properly before you begin sharing information about your cause with your family and friends. Consider for instance how you have responded in the past when you have received an email with a dead link. The odds are high that you did not waste any time trying to get the link to work or checking it again in the future. All of your potential supporters have busy lives, and you need to be cognizant of the fact that you will lose their attention if you do not get your URL right the first time. Taking just a moment to double-check everything will give you a much smoother fundraising launch experience.

64: Email the URL to Your Family and Friends: Now that you are certain that your URL is working properly, you should email it to all of your family and friends. This initial email does not need to be extremely long, but you should tailor it so that all of your viewers will be able to understand the importance of clicking on the link. We are including an email template below that will give you an idea of how to get started with this process. Just remember that the specific email is exclusively intended for the purpose of letting friends and family know that your fundraising page exists.

Example Email:

Jenny,

I have created a fundraising page to raise $10,000 for Sarah’s memorial service. My fundraising page is located at DonationTo.com/Raise-Money-For-Sarah. I would love to get your support, and it would also be extremely helpful if you could share my cause today to help me reach my goal during the upcoming months.

Once again, you can donate here: DonationTo.com/Raise-Money-For-Sarah. We have had amazing support so far, and we are asking everyone to share memorable stories about Sarah when they donate!

[Your name]
www.CompanyURL.com
555-555-5555

As a note, you can make your first email more effective by getting a few of your closest family and friends to send out a mass email to everyone on their contact list at the same time. Taking this step will help your donation page become viral. For example, if your entire fundraising team and a few other friends send a message to all of their family and friends that encourages them to get involved, you are much more likely to end up with a high level of traffic and engagement during the first 24 hours. This is a good example of taking advantage of the potentially viral nature of the Internet, and it can help you gather a lot of support very quickly.

65: Share Your URL on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Other Social Networks

A high level of engagement via social networking is the best way to get your fundraising efforts to go viral. Therefore, we highly encourage you to utilize each of the following tips.

66: Plan a Time for Everyone to Share the URL on Facebook: Scheduling a specific date and time for all of your supporters and everyone on your fundraising team to simultaneously post the URL to your campaign on Facebook can have a huge impact on the total amount of memorial donations that you receive. For example, you can have everyone post the URL on their Facebook profile at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. Doing this will greatly increase your chances of having your URL go viral, and this can dramatically increase the amount of people who find out about your cause. This will also make your page a trending topic among other news feeds. Keep doing this and your exposure will grow.

67: Have Everyone Ask a Question and Tell People How to Donate: It has been proven that viewer engagement goes way up when Facebook posts specifically ask questions and provide a strong call to action. For example, asking a question such as “what is your favorite memory or story about Sarah?” will get your visitors to leave comments, and this will increase your engagement and spread your cause to a wider audience. It is also a good idea to use a statement such as “share a memorable story about Sarah when you donate. View the fundraising page here and donate now!” Make sure that you paste the URL after this statement so that people can easily take action. Again, a statement of this type will get your visitors more engaged with your post, and this will help your cause become a trending topic that people within and outside of your social network will be able to find.

68: Make Sure Everyone Understands the Importance of Responding to Comments: Getting your family and friends to share the URL to your crowdfunding page at the same time should be only half your goal. After all, each person who participates will also need to understand that they need to be able and willing to respond to comments in order to increase donations. For example, if someone asks a question on your friend’s post about your fundraiser, your friend needs to answer it in a timely manner. Additionally, you should encourage everyone who has joined in with your group post at 1 p.m. on Tuesday to click like on each person’s response to their post. Liking and replying to comments is another way to increase engagement, and this will once again improve your chances of having your campaign go viral.

69: Expand Your Reach to Other Social Networks: Facebook is a great place to get started, but you need to drive user engagement across every possible social network. Therefore, you should follow this same process with Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and other major international social networks. Keep in mind that not everyone has a Facebook account, and you do not want to miss out on every possible opportunity to gather financial support for your cause.

Second Week: Ask for Sharing Support

70: Draft an Update Email: The second week of your memorial fundraising campaign is the perfect time to give all of your supporters an update about how much money you have already raised. Additionally, this update email can be used to ask everyone to share your URL. In other words, instead of making a targeted request for donations during this communication, you should encourage everyone to get involved by helping others find out about your cause. For example, you might have some family and friends who can greatly contribute to your fundraiser by taking steps to raise awareness. After all, asking these people to share the URL to your DonationTo page could easily help generate a much larger quantity of donations.

71: The Importance of Sharing Your URL: Each of your family and friends has their own extended network of friends and family members, and they are all a potential resource of memorial donations. For example, if you are raising money for someone who passed away from cancer, you are likely to receive support from people who you have never met because they have known someone who died from this deadly disease. This level of support can only be received if you get all of your friends and family members to share the URL with anyone relevant within their social network. In other words, even if they do not want to share the URL with everyone they know, they should at least pass it on to individuals who they believe would be interested in helping a campaign like yours.

72: Tailor Your Emails to Each Recipient: It is easier to send out one mass email like you did during the first week, but taking a personal approach during the second week can have a massive impact on the total amount of contributions and URL shares that your campaign receives. After all, everyone likes to feel like they are being personally recognized, and taking this approach will make them feel more involved in your fundraising efforts. There might be some people who you are unable to do this with due to a lack of familiarity, but any of your close family and friends should receive a message during the second week that asks them to share your URL and contains personal information so that they know you are speaking to them directly.

Sample Second Week Email:

Dear Jenny,

It was really great seeing you last week in New York City. I will actually be back there in June, so we should definitely have dinner again!

As you probably already know, I have created a fundraising page to raise $10,000 for Sarah’s memorial bills. This fundraising page can be found at DonationTo.com/Raise-Money-For-Sarah. I would love to get your support, and it would be extremely helpful if you could share my cause today to help me reach my goal during the upcoming months. It would also be very helpful if you posted the URL on your social networking profiles! You can simply copy and paste what I have already drafted for you below to make this process as easy as possible. You can email this message as well to your relevant friends and family members, and this would be greatly appreciated!

“Let’s help raise $10,000 for Sarah’s memorial service! You can learn more about this campaign and the marathons that are being run to raise the required funds by visiting www.DonationTo.com/Raise-Money-For-Sarah.”

I know that you liked those cookies the last time we saw each other, so when I come back to New York City in June I will make sure that I bring you some!

I saw that New York City received about five inches of snow yesterday. Try to stay warm!

[Your name]
www.CompanyURL.com
555-555-5555

73: Share Your Message Via Multiple Communication Platforms: Now that you have an easy to tweak draft for your second week message, you need to reach out to people via their preferred communication method. For example, some people will communicate with you via email each time, but others prefer to use the Facebook chat window or text messaging. Therefore, you should take these messages and paste them into the appropriate format. Sending out your second week update via chat, email, social media and texting is the absolute best way to capture a large amount of support for this portion of your campaign. Keep in mind that reaching out to everyone via various communication platforms will increase the impact and timeliness of your message. In other words, if your best friend is always on Facebook, send her a message by pasting it into the Facebook chat window. On the other hand, if your sister only visits Facebook once a week, you will need to email or text her your update to make sure that she sees it more quickly.

Third Week: Another Contextual Update

74: What Is the Status of Your Fundraiser? – During the third week, you can take your baseline email template from above and perform a few small edits that will help you address specific points that your followers will want to know about. To help you with this process, we have compiled a list of five questions that you need to answer during the third week. Following this guideline will make your donors feel more connected to your campaign, and it will also encourage some of them to make an additional contribution.

75: Who Has Donated?: Although it probably will not make sense to include a list of every single person who has donated during the previous two weeks, you can still provide your supporters with a basic overview that answers this question. For example, if you have received 77 memorial donations to date, you should definitely mention this number. It is also a good idea to publicly acknowledge and thank the people who have provided the largest online donations. In other words, if you have three people who have each contributed $100 or more, you should take the time to think them by name. A good way to do this would be to say the following: “We are very thankful for the outpouring of support that we have received so far. To date, 77 people have stepped up to the plate and made a donation to help Sarah’s family. Each of these contributions have been invaluable, and we cannot possibly think all of you enough for getting involved. We would also like to publicly acknowledge our top three donors by saying a special thank you to John Smith, Jane Doe and the Taylor family. Every dollar counts, so we encourage all of you to give as much as you can!”

76: How Far Are You from Your Goal?: Everyone who is involved in your memorial fundraising campaign will want to be able to see that you are continuously making progress. Finding out exactly how much more money you need to raise will also give people the push that they need to make their first contribution or to make an additional online donation. For example, if your goal update indicates that you are off to a really good start, some of your donors might make the decision to contribute again in order to get you past the finish line. Alternatively, if your update indicates that you are not off to a very good start, people who have been waiting to make a donation will be more likely to step up and contribute to your cause to help move it forward. Either way, providing factual information about the amount of money that you still need to raise is one of the best ways to gather all of your supporters together for a big push so that you can get closer to your goal.

77: What is the Latest Update on the Person or Thing That You Are Fundraising For?: It is also vital to keep people up to date on any positive or negative changes with the person or thing that you are raising money for. In the example of Sarah’s memorial fundraiser, your third week update should contain information about how the memorial service went. These type of details will keep people more personally involved in your campaign, and it will help remind them of the importance of making a memorial donation. As an added bonus, letting your supporters know everything that is happening will give them an opportunity to provide emotional support by sending a nice card to the family.

78: Are You Are Ahead or Behind Your Goal?: At this point, you should have reached a certain percentage of your total goal amount. For example, if your campaign is going to run for 10 weeks, you should be at least 30 percent of the way to your goal by the end of the third week. Letting people know that you are ahead of this goal will make them feel encouraged to help you continue building your forward momentum. Alternatively, if you are behind your goal, people who believe in your campaign will feel the desire to help you make up lost time. As you can see, there are psychological benefits to being open about your campaign’s progress, regardless of whether or not things are going well. Make sure that you remain transparent throughout your entire fundraiser, and always take the time to thank people for their support. Following these two steps is a recipe for success, and this can have a major impact on the total dollar amount that you end up with on the last day of your crowdfunding campaign.

79: Do You Have a Stretch Goal?: If you have already reached your goal, it will be important to let your supporters know if you are now going for a stretch goal. The purpose of a stretch goal is to take care of other related aspects that you were not originally focused on. For example, $10,000 might pay for Sarah’s memorial treatment, but it will not do anything to help her family keep their other bills paid while they take time off of work to mourn their loss. Therefore, if you have already reached your $10,000 goal, you could set a stretch goal of $15,000 in order to help take more of the financial burden off of the family’s shoulders. The great thing about a stretch goal is that any extra money that you receive will be beneficial, and you will also be able to take advantage of your campaign’s current momentum in order to keep things moving forward. We have hosted several fundraisers that have ended up setting multiple stretch goals, so we definitely recommend that you utilize this opportunity if there are other related expenses. Keep in mind that the same level of details and transparency that you offered people for your original goal should be included for each stretch goal. Failure to do this might make your supporters question the integrity of this extra portion of your fundraiser, and this will make it very hard to hit your next goal.

Middle Section X – Communication Summary

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Now that you have had the opportunity to review a few good examples of contextual updates, it is time for you to try creating your own weekly updates. You need to send out an update during each week to everyone who is supporting your campaign, and every message needs to be relative to the specific timing of your fundraiser. For example, the announcement always comes first, and the second week is the perfect time to ask people to share the URL to your DonationTo page.

As a reminder, it is an imperative to make sure that your crowdfunding page already has a few donations before you begin sending out notifications about your campaign. Remember that no one likes to be the first person to arrive at a party, and sending out your URL before a few donations and comments are in place will make people feel like they are experiencing the virtual version of this uncomfortable situation. Therefore, make sure that you have at least a few close family members and friends start things off with donations and comments before you move forward with your efforts to raise awareness of your fundraiser.

Examples of Weekly Updates That You Can Send out for Your Campaign

80: Week One: The Announcement of Your Fundraiser – This initial communication needs to give people basic details about your crowdfunding page so that they will understand that their assistance as needed. For example, you can tell people Sarah has passed away and her family needs $10,000 to pay for a memorial service. After you provide this intro, you should ask everyone to make a contribution by visiting your DonationTo page. Make sure that you include the URL, and do not forget to check the URL in advance to ensure that it is working before you begin your marketing efforts.

81: Week Two: Ask Your Supporters to Share Your URL – Now that your supporters are aware of the importance of your campaign, it is time to get them to help you raise awareness. For example, your second week update can include a request for everyone to copy and paste a short message that you provide into their social media status updates and into emails that they send to their family and friends. This is a fantastic and proven method for spreading the word about any type of fundraiser, and it will also make everyone feel more personally invested in your funeral fundraising campaign.

82: Week Three: Give Everyone an Update to Help Create a Sense of Urgency – Letting everyone know how much money you have raised for the funeral cost and whether or not you are on track to hit your goal is the perfect way to urge people to make additional contributions. Consider for instance how you would react if a cause that you really believe in was having difficulty gathering enough financial support. The odds are high that you would feel that it was necessary to increase your online donation, and you would probably also take a few moments to share information about the campaign with your extended social network. The same thought process is true of almost everyone, and you can use it to your advantage to increase donations. It is also always important to make people understand the limited nature of your campaign so that they do not keep putting off their contribution.

83: Week Four: Images of Your Funeral Fundraising Efforts – People like to see a visual representation of whatever cause they are being asked to support, so you should definitely attach some photos to your fourth update. For example, if Sarah you found some old photos of Sarah, this would be the perfect time to post those photos. Also keep user engaged by having them share their photos of Sarah too.

84: Week Five: Begin Repeating One Through Four – There will be new people learning about your funeral fundraiser on a daily basis, and you want to make sure that everyone stays in the loop. Therefore, it will be beneficial to repeat the same basic crowdfunding update schedule every five weeks. For example, you can use the fifth week to send out another quick blurb that reminds everybody what your efforts are all about. This will serve as an introduction to new supporters, and it will be a nice summary reminder of the purpose behind your campaign for everyone who has been involved since the beginning. As an added bonus, repeating your previous updates with slight tweaks to keep them relevant and up-to-date will make the entire process much easier.

Middle Section XI – Contact Members of Your Local Press

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Now that you have created a well-tailored fundraising page that includes plenty of photos, videos and donations, it is time to reach out to the local press. After all, getting your local news channels, newspapers and well-known bloggers to run a piece about your campaign will make it a lot easier for you to hit your goal. For example, you have most likely seen several crowdfunding events in the news, and you probably felt compelled to donate to at least one of these causes. This helps highlight the importance of connecting with members of the local media, and adding this into your overall marketing efforts could make the difference between hitting your goal and falling short. There are several professionals who have tips that will help you capture the attention of your local news. We have compiled some of the most useful and intriguing tips to help you get started.

85: Keep It Short: According to Brett Nelson’s 14 years of experience, one of the most vital things to remember is that you need to keep it short when you reach out to the media. In fact, he said “if they have to scroll, your email is too long.” In other words, Brett is trying to get the point across that you need to stick with only the most important facts to capture attention and help media personnel determine how to move forward with your story. You can learn more about Brett’s approach to getting press coverage by visiting his <12 step guide on Forbes.com.

86: Tug at the Heartstrings: Diana Spechler and Jim O’Grady say that it is important to “tug at our heartstrings.” This media duo gave a good explanation of what they mean during an article that they co-wrote for Entrepreneur.com:

“Did you open a bakery to woo a croissant-loving woman you were too afraid to chat up? That’s way more interesting than telling us you graduated from a prestigious culinary school. Do 10 percent of your proceeds go to a charity? Tell us about your connection to that organization. But don’t be maudlin or false–journalists are excellent BS detectors.”

This is a great point that helps emphasize the importance of providing details about your memorial fundraiser in order to create an emotional connection with your readers. We previously spoke about the necessity of creating a good biography section in order to link you to your cause, and if you took this advice, you should already be prepared to give the media a heart tugging but completely honest story that will make them intrigued by your memorial crowdfunding efforts.

87: Use the Scraper Extension to Connect with the Right Publishers: Although this is a bit technical, Austin Allred provides the relatively easy to follow and implement tip that showcases a browser extension that helps you gather relevant and key sites to reach out to that will be more inclined to be interested in your specific story. Austin’s post about this topic is fantastic because it offers step by step directions that will help you find the right sites by using the right tools. Here is an excerpt that features Austin discussing his site scraper:

“We’re going to use a couple of sites that rank blogs within their categories and scrape for the URLs blogs in the applicable categories. First, download the Scraper Chrome Extension or its equivalent in the browser of your choice. Now we go to our blog ranking website. Let’s start with Alltop. Go to Alltop and find your category, remembering to be as narrow as possible.”

To find out more about this process and how you can put it to work for your campaign, you can visit Austin’s in-depth explanatory article by clicking here.

88: Start Small and Do Not Stop with Just One Publisher: According to Dani Fankhouser, it would be a big mistake to feel satisfied with coverage from just one media source, but it can be very beneficial to start small. In fact, capturing the attention of one smaller news station or site will make it easier to get other larger media outlets interested. Dani touched on this topic with an informative article for Mashable that include several key quotes such as this one:

“The most interesting thing about press outreach is that it isn’t ever just a one-time sprint. Press coverage can snowball into more press coverage, so instead of going after your industry’s leading publication, consider pitching smaller blogs or local news. People who work in media do read their competitors and may be looking for a source — if they see you featured in a story, they can assume you’re accessible and may reach out.”

89: Reaching out to places that the deceased individual was involved with, including their alma mater and the industry they worked in, is a great way to increase donations and press attention. For example, most industries have a magazine that touches on relevant topics, and they might be willing to run a piece about your memorial fundraising efforts.

Middle Section XII – Turn Yourself into a Walking Billboard

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Most fundraising hosts forget about the fact that they can take advantage of all of the time that they spend walking through their local community. For example, every time you go to the grocery store, all of the other customers are exposed to the images and text on your T-shirt and hat. With this in mind, it makes sense to give all of these eyes that will be on you access to information about your campaign. In other words, you should turn yourself into a walking billboard.

90: Make a T-Shirt: The process of creating a T-shirt that showcases the URL of your memorial fundraiser is a lot easier and more cost-effective than you would probably anticipate. In fact, there is a very easy site called www.customink.com that gives you the ability to design your own shirt. You will not be limited to simply using text either. Instead, you will have the opportunity to upload a relevant image and place it on your shirt along with the URL of supporters should visit to make an online donation. It is important to note that harnessing this easy marketing opportunity will be more effective if you are utilizing a custom URL, but you can still use a DonationTo permalink on your T-shirt. Another idea is to sell your own shirts to raise additional awareness and money for your memorial cause using teespring.com. Here it is easy to create your own design and then sell your shirts.

91: The shirt that you design will provide you with a new promotional method, and it is also a very good way to capture attention and start conversations. The reality is that this is exactly what you need to do in order to raise enough money to hit your goal, so it is definitely a good idea to consider getting a T-shirt made. As an added bonus, after you design your shirt, you will be able to use this promotional material in multiple ways. For example, you can give everyone on your fundraising team a T-shirt and have them commit to wearing it whenever they go somewhere that will have a large group of people.

92: Additionally, you could offer T-shirts as a tier reward for people who donate above a specific level. Make sure that you select a high enough contribution to make it worth your while. In other words, if the shirts cost $15 to make, you should probably reserve them for people who donate at least $100 so that you can maximize each contribution. Alternatively, you can offer them as an additional fundraising method and charge $25 to supporters who are locally based so that you end up with a large group of walking billboards while still making $10 per shirt for your campaign. Please note that this would need to be handled separately from your DonationTo page, but you could certainly mention it on your page.

93: Make a Hat: A T-shirt is a great start, but you should also consider taking your design and tweaking it as needed to fit properly on a hat. After all, hats can be less expensive, and they are also easier to wear on a daily basis. If you are running in a marathon to capture attention for your memorial fundraiser, you can wear a hat for part of your race to capture extra attention for your cause. A lot of runners do not like wearing a hat while they are participating in a marathon, but you could certainly put it on as you cross the finish line or while you are resting right after the race. People who are not tying their crowdfunding efforts to a marathon can simply wear their hat whenever they go out of the house.

94: Obtaining a custom hat to capture attention and start conversations is easy to do. There are many sites that offer this service, and one of your options is the create your own embroidered hat feature that is offered by Zazzle.com. Again, taking this step will give you the opportunity to get additional people involved in the walking billboard portion of your campaign. For example, if you are running in a marathon, you can make sure that some of your supporters are wearing a hat while they cheer you on from the sidelines. A hat could also be tied to tiered rewards or used as a separate fundraising method in the same way that was previously discussed for T-shirts.

95: The ultimate goal of creating items such as T-shirts and hats is to get the URL for your page in front of as many people as possible. As the fundraising host, you might also consider printing out some free business cards that contain the URL of your DonationTo page so that you can hand them to people who express interest in your hat or shirt. This is another great way to ensure that they do not forget the URL, and it will help them get in touch with you later if they have any questions. As an added bonus, if you happen to run into a member of the media or an influential local business owner, handing out a business card will be a great way to make sure that they are able to follow-up with you for a news story or to make a major contribution.

96: You should also consider making some flyers that can be posted in local store windows and in business break rooms. Having these flyers with you at all times will allow you to segue from a conversation about your shirt or hat into a request to post an informative flyer to help your campaign gain additional support from your local community.

Ending Section – XIII. Send a Thank You Message to Each Online Donor

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97: Every person who makes an online donation to your campaign via our donation website for funeral cost should receive a personalized thank you email. This is important because it will make people feel like their contribution was truly appreciated, and it will also make them more inclined to donate again in the future. After all, you might need to ask the same people for additional support if you are unable to meet your goal, so you need them to feel satisfied with the results of their first online donation. At DonationTo we help with this type of labor by enabling you to send a personalized thank you email to all donors with one click of a button.

98: Before you move forward with sending a thank you email, you should take the time to carefully reflect upon what their donation has enabled you to do. In the example of Sarah’s fundraising campaign, you would want to take a look back at the original issue so that you can comment upon the impact that their donation had on helping you move forward financially with Sarah’s memorial service. Once you have considered these factors, you will be in a much better position to create an appropriate and well worded thank you email. Keep in mind that these messages do not need to be extremely long, but they should offer some information to make the contributor feel like they personally had a real impact on your campaign.

Example of a Thank You Email

Hello Mike,

Sarah’s memorial service was held this week, and her family was able to honor her with a beautiful grave marker. This would not have been possible without your thoughtful and generous donation of $300.

As you know, an unexpected death is tough for families to deal with. However, because of you, Sarah’s family has been able to focus on getting through this difficult time instead of worrying about money.

Thank you for taking the time to think of Sarah and her family during this tragedy. I know that I speak on behalf of Sarah’s family and everyone within our fundraising team when I say that your financial generosity has been truly appreciated, and it made a great difference in everyone’s life during a very difficult time.

Sincerely,
Your Name

99: As you can see from this example, everyone who receives this type of thank you email will feel like their specific online donation played a vital role in Sarah’s memorial fundraising campaign. This personalized approach will go a long way, and it will definitely make it easier to convince people to support your future crowdfunding efforts. Keep in mind that everyone likes to be thanked and kept in the loop when they are supporting a fundraiser. Therefore, whether someone gives you $1 or $100, they should still be treated with the same form of respect and receive a gracious thank you email.

100: The timing of your thank you messages is also important. Some people wait until the end of their campaign and send out all of their emails at once, but this is actually not the best course of action to follow. Instead, it is better to send out thank you messages at least once per week. There are multiple reasons for this, including keeping the current momentum of your fundraising efforts. Those who have donated will share their story with others and typically acting as an advocate for your cause. This can lead to more donations and there is nothing like a polite thank you email to keep make this happen. It will also be easier for you to touch base - Therefore, you will need to slightly tweak each round of thank you emails so that they will be relevant to the most recent progress that has been made.

101: Do not forget that one of the main perks of having a fundraising team assembled is the fact that you can turn to the best writer on your team to put together your thank you emails. Fortunately, even if you do not have a skilled writer assisting you, it should still be easy to simply tweak the email example that we provided above. In fact, all of the examples that have been included in this list of tips are yours to tweak and use as necessary to help get the word out about your crowdfunding efforts.

Ending Section – XIV. You Are Now Prepared to be Successful

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The 13 sections that preceded this area of our Epic Online Memorial Fundraising Tips provided you with an intensive road map this should make it easy for anyone fundraiser to launch a successful campaign. If you need any additional assistance, you should definitely peruse our blog to gain access to a wide variety of additional tips that can help you maximize your crowdfunding efforts.

Conclusion Section – XV. The Many Perks of Utilizing DonationTo

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As previously mentioned, you do have multiple choices when it comes to your online fundraising platform. However, DonationTo makes the most sense for anyone who is hosting a personal campaign. These campaigns can range from memorial expenses to honeymoon funding, and there is a long list of reasons that you should turn to us for all of your crowdfunding needs.

1. We Are Trusted Worldwide – Thousands of people globally have already utilized our services, and this has led to positive press from well-known media resources such as The Wall Street Journal and the Huffington Post. Additionally, several previous fundraising hosts have provided glowing feedback for our platform. For example, the hosts of the <a href=”https://www.donationto.com/Theo-Fund”>Theo Menswar’s Bone Marrow Transplant Fund</a> campaign said the following: “Donation To has proved to be a powerful and convenient way to raise money and accept donations for the treatment of our son, Theo. The money we have raised has allowed us to stay in the hospital with him over the last 170 days and provide the loving care he needs. Thank for for making such a difficult situation a little easier.”

2. You Keep 100 Percent of all Donations – Most fundraising platforms charge a fee of at least 5 percent of each contribution. This adds up extremely quickly, and it makes the process of collecting online donations less beneficial because so much money ends up being wasted on fees. Fortunately, DonationTo has a much more cost-effective structure. We charge a nominal monthly fee ranging from $9-$24 in lieu of a percentage fee, and this will allow you to save an astronomical amount of money. For example, if you raise $10,000 in three months, you will pay $500 to most crowdfunding sites. DonationTo makes it possible to reduce this fee to only $27. As an added bonus, we will enable you to avoid paying for any extra credit card processing fees. When you add these two factors together, it is undeniable that DonationTo is the best fundraising resource from a financial perspective.

3. You Can Use Your Own Domain Name – We will give you a free permalink that will include the name of your campaign, but you also have the opportunity to take a bigger level of control over your page by signing up for your own domain name. This makes marketing much easier, and it will greatly improve the number of people who will be able to remember your URL. Therefore, we highly encourage each of our users take advantage of this option.

4. We Have Partnered with PayPal and WePay – Online payment processing is something that we take very seriously, and we want your donors to feel as comfortable as possible. Due to this, we have partnered with PayPal and WePay to give you the ability to collect and process payments via one or both of these respected and well-known websites. Most of your contributors will probably already have an account with WePay or PayPal, and this will definitely make them feel more encouraged to donate to your cause.

5. We Offer Email and Social Fundraising Tools – Whether this will be your first crowdfunding experience or your 50th, it is important for you to select a platform that assists you with your goal by giving you access to highly useful tools. For example, our one click email feature makes it easy for everyone to spread the word about your page. We also have a social networking integration tool that will enable you to share information easily and efficiently.

6. You Can Upload Unlimited Photo – The visual nature of the Internet makes it imperative to use images to capture the attention of your visitors. In fact, it has been proven that giving your potential supporters a look at the person or organization that their donation will assist is one of the best ways to increase contributions. This is caused by the fact that photographs help everyone feel more connected to a charitable cause, and this makes it much harder to say no. Therefore, we heavily encourage our users to take full advantage of our unlimited photo uploads feature. You can post new pictures throughout your campaign, and this will get people to visit your page on a regular basis.

7. No Technical Skills or Experience Needed – Our online donation website has been created with everyone from novices to experienced fundraisers in mind. In order to ensure that everyone is able to utilize our services, we have created a simple platform that does not require any special technical skills or previous fundraising experience. However, we also provide a robust enough platform that comes with so many extra tools that experienced fundraisers will enjoy making the switch to DonationTo.

8. Designed for desktop, tablets and mobile – Many memorial donation websites are not fully equipped to provide the same high level experience to potential donors who are not using a smart phone or desktop. Fortunately, this is a problem that you will never need to worry about with DonationTo. In fact, we have optimized our site to be compatible with all web enabled devices. Therefore, if someone wants to make an online donation from their tablet or smartphone, they will be able to easily do so. Additionally, this enables people worldwide to contribute to your cause 24/7 from their credit or debit card via PayPal or WePay.

9. SEO Friendly for an Enhanced Campaign – Search engine optimization (SEO) is a very important aspect of your fundraiser. After all, this is what makes it possible for people to find your campaign by using Google or any other search engine. Due to this, we have placed a major emphasis on ensuring that each crowdfunding page we host is SEO friendly. This will also help you attract the attention of charitable individuals who do not know you but are looking for a cause similar to yours to assist. For example, some people search for memorial fundraisers so that they can make an online donation in honor of a loved one who passed away from similar causes. Our SEO friendly approach will improve the odds that your campaign will be the one that they choose to donate to.

10. Short URL for Social Media – Your URL is a critical aspect of your campaign, and it is necessary to carefully select the unique permalink or domain name that people can enter into their browser’s address bar. However, a descriptive URL that is easy to remember will end up taking a lot of space when you are putting up a post on Twitter and other social media websites. This can be problematic because Twitter only allows you to use 140 characters in each tweet. Fortunately, we solved this problem for all of our users, and you will receive a short URL that you can utilize when you post updates about your campaign via social media.

Ultimately, the best online donation website for you is the one that helps you save money and attract a large audience. Our platform will definitely do both of these things, and you will also be able to access a lot of informative tips that will help you enhance your current and future campaigns. We are committed to helping you get the most out of your memorial fundraiser, and this includes enhancing your ability to maximize each contribution. With all these perks, it is no wonder that we are the preferred crowdfunding platform of thousands of people worldwide.

Thanks from the DonationTo team!

Thanks again! From the DonationTo Team!

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