The New Fundraising Frontier: Crowdsourcing

by Abby @ Quaver on August 5, 2014

in Grant Watch,In the Quaver Classroom!,QK-5 Curriculum

If you use the Internet in any capacity – like reading this blog! – then you’ve probably seen at least one request from a friend, student, or family member to donate online to help them reach a fundraising goal.

This method of raising funds is called crowdsourcing – gathering donations from connections all over the world through the internet. 

Savvy music educators are now taking advantage of crowdsourcing to raise funds for their music programs.

We asked Kansas teacher, Jeremiah, to share about his recent experience funding his Quaver QK-5 Curriculum purchase with Fundly – a popular crowdsourcing site.
Here’s what Jeremiah had to say:
***

My approach to fundraising is very simple:  

Prepare. Ask. Be Patient. Repeat.

PREPARE:  

Setting an account up with Fundly is super easy!  They make it effortless to get started.  Visit Fundly.com to instantly start fundraising for free!   They have a very simple turnkey way to log in with your Facebook account and gather contacts through any email database you can imagine.  They even have templates to guide invitations for people to donate, support, or thank the people helping you in your campaign.

Fields

Step One – You’ll need to fill in the following:

  • Campaign Title: I used “5,000 for Quaver Music for 1,200 students” to demonstrate how much value per student was packed into this program! You might also consider “High-Tech Curriculum for Elementary Music Program.”
  • Goal: Total amount you aim to raise. The great news is, there is no minimum amount to raise in order to keep your funds, so you’ll keep any amount raised – even if you don’t meet your goal. There are fees to withdraw money, so in order to plan ahead for that, I estimated those fees and added that amount to my fundraising goal to account for it. My total goal was: $5,350.
  • Zip-code: This allows people familiar with Fundly to look for campaigns in their area
  • Category: Choose “School & Education” from the drop down

Step Two – Fundly will ask you to activate a WePay account to collect funds.

This works just like PayPal and processes all payments securely and automatically. Simply create a password, click accept, and Boom-Chicka-Boom, you’re ready to collect funds!

Step Three – Customize your Campaign

Now you’re ready to customize your campaign with video, photos, and more! Fundly will guide you through your options and you can pull great images and video from Quaver’s Info Center, YouTube page, or just email their team for specific content. They’d love to help! The Fundly site walks you through the pieces to a great campaign!

 

Here’s how page turned out – pretty nice, right?
KansasCampaign

 

JUST ASK:  

Once your campaign is ready, you’ll need to conquer the BIG ASK – asking people in your community and online network to help support your campaign.

Don’t over saturate folks too much with blanket emails. Sure, hit them up at the beginning  but then you need to hold back and write personal emails.  Plan for the long run!  Converse locally too!  Pipe all of your local cash/checks to the campaign show your growth! People thrive for virility and they WANT to be a part of what you’re doing but only if they know what you’re doing!

To help donors to my campaign feel like part of the excitement, I’m going to produce a plaque bearing the names of all the individuals donating $100 or more.  Having a professional plaque produced to hang on the walls allows my students to see and remember who helped make their music program what it is today.

It’s amazing how many folks out there are willing to help if you just let them know what your needs are.

BE PATIENT:  

The average Fundly campaign is set up for 60 days – but you can adjust your end date in the settings. You may see a surge of traffic in the beginning and need to use emails to remind your supporters farther into the campaign. It won’t happen overnight, but with some patience and creative thinking – you’ll get there! Fundly also has LOTS of ideas on their blog for increasing donations.

While you wait – you might think of ways to use your time to share with others offline.  If you are like me then you have some talents to share that lie beyond the classroom.  ANY amount of swapping talent for treasure is a great idea to support your online fundraising! Maybe you teach piano on the side and can include a link to your Fundly campaign in a free newsletter with tips for your students and parents.

Definitely take advantage of social media as you spread the word.  Think about posting a video on YouTube explaining your campaign.  Get your Twitter/Facebook and make regular posts….But remember BE PATIENT.  Don’t overdue it.  Just ask people to share.  Make sure to tag @Fundly on Twitter (and @QuaverMusic) so they can help spread the word! You can also use the #MusicEd hashtag to tell other educators about your campaign.  I even was able to get a couple local personalities to post for me.  That’s what you want!

Both Quaver and Fundly were very helpful in getting the buzz generated across social networks. In fact, I was able to gather shares, mentions, supporters, and most importantly donations from kind strangers in the online world! During the month of June 2014 my campaign was the most viral campaign in the world across the entire Fundly network!  I couldn’t have made that happen without the Quaver team and other Quaver Followers!  We earned an extra $100!

Remember:  

People want to be a part of “it” whatever “it” is. In my specific situation, our funding is very limited, and I feel lucky to have a job. I work hard to have ZERO impact on my school’s budget, so when I felt I needed some more help I decided to try Fundly.  It has been the most organized and encouraging tool!

What questions do you have about crowdsourcing, fundraising, or Fundly in particular? 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tammy Thiele August 5, 2014 at 10:45 am

This can be a great way to raise funds, but I strongly suggest anyone who uses this method of fundraising or any other method that they first get familiar with their district policies for purchasing/fundraising and that they also get permission from their principal before starting a fundraiser and/or using social media to do so in the name of their school. Please be aware that in some districts it could cost you your job if you don’t know and follow their policies concerning money and social media.

Reply

2 Abby @ Quaver August 5, 2014 at 10:49 am

Great point Tammy! Always good to check with your school and district before starting a campaign!

Reply

3 Ben Sexton August 5, 2014 at 7:21 pm

I completely agree with Tammy! PLEASE check with not only your school book keeper, but also with your system’s finance director or comptroller. Or better yet, let the PTO do it and save yourself a lot of red tape!

Reply

4 pianoforbeginner.net April 30, 2016 at 10:51 pm

Hey there, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues.
When I look at your website in Safari, it looks
fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, awesome blog!

Reply

5 Abby @ Quaver May 2, 2016 at 10:23 am

Thanks for the heads up! We will definitely look more in to that.

Reply

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