Webinar Recap: Lesley Mansford of Razoo on Crowdfunding and Volunteers—An Untapped Source of Social Fundraising Power

Lesley Mansford, crowdfunding guru and CEO of Razoo.

The March 6th edition of our monthly Nonprofit Insights webinar series, “The Secret Sauce for Nonprofit Crowdfunding,” featured some valuable advice on how to engage volunteers to produce a successful crowdfunding campaign for your organization. Razoo’s very own Lesley Mansford was our guest speaker and she had some wonderful insights for our attendees. As CEO of one of the largest online fundraising platforms, Lesley had a lot of inspirational knowledge and advice to share with our listeners interested in crowdfunding.

“The Network Trumps the Wallet”

These days, fundraising isn’t only about how much each donor can give, but about what their collective network can contribute to your cause. All the latest research shows that crowdfunding is here to stay and it’s growing fast! It is the natural way to reach people in today’s online world and it’s an essential way to engage the “giving generation” of tech-savvy and cause-oriented millennials.

And, Lesley emphasizes, it doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming for your organization!

Crowdfunding is Easy! Six Steps to Make It Happen

An online social fundraising campaign doesn’t have to be reserved for the large or hi-tech nonprofit. Lesley gives six easy steps on how to make crowdfunding work for you and goes into detail about each of them in her webinar.

Lesley’s Six Steps to a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign:

  1. Set realistic goals—People like to be part of a successful campaign and you can always continue fundraising after you’ve reached your goal.
  2. Tell a compelling story—Give people a compelling reason to engage with and give to your cause, and TELL IT!
  3. Set a deadline—Create a sense of urgency and build momentum for your campaign with a clear end date (45 days = an optimal length for this to happen online).
  4. Start with your inner circle—Test things out with a “soft launch” to people in your network. Start building the momentum close to home, then reach out from there.
  5. Start!—Get everything together and go for it! Promote your campaign using your website, email marketing, social media, widgets, and press releases.
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask—Share your campaign! And ask donors to share!

How to Make Volunteers “Crowdfunding Campaigners”

Volunteers are natural advocates and ambassadors for your cause. “They’ve have already raised their hand and said they want to be a part of your organization,” Lesley explains. Now the next step is getting them to reach out to their networks and share that passion. With the right direction, volunteers can become great fundraisers for your crowdfunding campaign.

Lesley spent the second half of her talk discussing how you can involve volunteers in a crowdfunding campaign, including how to get them started, how to keep them engaged, and ways to make them feel important and essential to the team–which, she emphasizes, they really are.

Here’s Some of Lesley’s Key Advice on How to Engage Volunteers:

  • Just ask them! Don’t assume that because they are already working for your cause that volunteers won’t want to be bothered about donating too. They may not become your major donors, but they can definitely be great fundraisers by reaching out to their networks and spreading the campaign. Also, crowdfunding is much less intimidating or time-consuming than traditional fundraising, so it will be easier to involve even your busier volunteers.
  • Make it easy. Help drive the momentum of their online fundraising efforts by providing your volunteers with key messaging, sample emails and posts, and training. This will let them focus on building the campaign, while helping to maintain consistent messaging for your cause.
  • Make it fun. It is important to make sure your volunteers are having a good time and are engaged with your cause throughout it all. Set up rewards and milestones, and perhaps even “gamify” the experience by having prizes for specific achievements. Teams are also a great way to create a sense of camaraderie and competition between your volunteers.
  • Treat your volunteers like VIPs. Like it is for all your donors, it’s important to make volunteers feel important and needed. Celebrate their accomplishments with praise and recognition, promote top fundraisers, and make sure to thank them for their work.

From the feedback we’ve gotten, this talk has been very helpful for a lot of nonprofits who are looking for ways to engage in crowdfunding and new ways of engaging their volunteers. This was our second largest Nonprofit Insights webinar ever and the presentation slides went viral within days of uploading them on Slideshare. It seems this topic is very relevant for today’s nonprofits!

Learn more about crowdfunding and how to engage your volunteers in online fundraising by exploring Razoo and all their great tools.

Watch the full webinar here or view and download Lesley’s slides from Slideshare.

Don’t miss our next Nonprofit Insights Webinar, to be announced soon! Stay tuned for our next exciting topic in this series and check out our other great webinars and tools in our Learning Center today.

Stephanie Rosenburg is a Communications & Social Media Intern at VolunteerMatch. You can reach her at srosenburg@volunteermatch.org and follow her at @smrosenburg.