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How a Soft Launch Can Give Your Fundraiser a Boost

Congratulations! You just published your GiveForward fundraiser and now you’re ready to email the link to everyone in your address book, including your sister’s dentist’s dog walker’s college roommate, right?

Hold on there, partner.

One of the best ways to give your fundraiser a leg-up is by conducting a soft launch.

What is a soft launch? If you work in the restaurant industry, you may have heard of it already. Restaurants will open quietly a week before their grand opening, practicing dinner service on invited friends and family to make sure everything is running smoothly. It also helps the restaurant generate a little buzz and get people excited.

You can do the exact same thing for your fundraiser. Your fundraising page is more than just a vehicle to collect donations; it’s a group effort from your community. One of the biggest favors you can do yourself is making sure that warm feeling of hope and togetherness is immediately apparent to someone who lands on your page. Wanting to share in that feeling will convince potential supporters to become a part of your campaign.

Why a soft launch can help your fundraiser:

Sometimes, it takes more than a compelling story to sway a potential donor. People who prefer to do things the old fashioned way might be skeptical of an online fundraiser. Some people who want to contribute may be concerned about how much to give or what to say.

This is where soft launch can help! Not only does having your mom or best friend post a comment with a $50 donation make you feel all warm and fuzzy, it helps potential donors feel that way too! Having examples to follow and seeing people they know invest in the page helps potential donors to feel more confident. They feel like they’ve arrived at a party that’s already started, and it will help them want to join in.

People want to feel like they’re part of something bigger, but they also want that something bigger to be successful. Donors are most hesitant when they feel like they’d be contributing to a lost effort, so help them feel confident about the campaign by having it already underway by the time they see it.

 

How to conduct a soft launch:

  1. Make sure your page packs a punch! Keep your title short and unique, maybe even take the opportunity to claim a hashtag (#TeamBrian, #BreatheforBrie). “Polished, personal, positive” are good guidelines when you’re editing. Use your own voice and word choices to make the page unique, and add lots of your favorite photos of the beneficiary. Check out this blog for basic tips on writing an effective description.
  2. Have your core group of friends and family (think the first 5 people you would call if you won the lottery) donate, comment, hug or otherwise interact with the page. Not only will it help to serve as example to potential donors, but it also draws attention to all the different ways they can get involved aside from donating.
  3. Take a moment to brainstorm and make a list of all the people you want to reach out to! Your college friends are more likely to donate than the local bowling team, so loosely structure who you’re going to reach out to and when. Go for surefire donors first, to build momentum.

 

Now that you are a super-informed publicity machine, you can get to work planning your soft launch!

 

Additional tips for maintaining the momentum you built with your soft launch:

  1. Don’t get too focused on your online efforts! The most successful publicity campaigns are ones that reach their audience through at least three touch points. Supplement your online efforts with some good old fashioned ones! The flyer in your Dashboard is a great way to get some offline exposure for your online fundraiser.
  2. Make sure you’re reaching more social circles than just your own. Adding Team Members to your fundraiser is a great way to double or triple the reach of your fundraising page. Look here for more information on how to get the most out of your fundraising team.
  3. Not all social media shares are created equal. Facebook doesn’t show you 100% of everything your friends post, so it’s no wonder that 100% of your friends won’t see what you post.  To ensure you get more out of each share, try tagging some of your friends (maybe some public thank yous/shout outs to folks who have donated). Timing is also incredibly important. Try to share posts about your fundraiser at times when you know people are checking social media sites (first thing in the morning, right after work, just before bed) and make sure you opt in to our Facebook auto-posts. The autoposts are triggered by monetary milestones in your campaign and go out at what are statistically the best times to reach out to donors.

Whose world will you change?