The Ultimate Crowdfunding Guide For Animal Rescue Groups

A guide for animal rescue groups and individuals who want to use crowdfunding to raise funds to pay vet bills or help care for animals in need.

Dogs and cats

Introduction

Donation-based crowdfunding is a way to source money for a project by asking a large number of contributors to donate a small amount, and asking a small number of contributors to donate a large amount. In return, backers may receive token rewards or acknowledgements for donations.

Crowdfunding is a great way for small organisations to grow their online following and address both short- and long-term fundraising needs. Larger established organisations can also benefit from this new and exciting way to engage existing supporters while reaching new audiences.

All you need is a clear idea of what you’re raising funds for and a good understanding of what crowdfunding is and how it works. There’s no ‘One size fits all’ in Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding for Animals can take many shapes and forms, including (but not limited to):

  • covering vet bills of a single rescue animal
  • engaging and empowering the wider public to raise awareness
  • building a whole new animal sanctuary or hospital

The following examples will give you a better idea of the variety of Animal Cause campaigns on Chuffed.org:

Animal campaign examples

Summary

This guide is designed for small animal rescue shelters or other animal welfare organisation who want to understand how to use crowdfunding to fundraise for their animals and causes. It’s based on our experience with hundreds of shelters but uses specific examples from two shelters based in Australia – Forever Friends Animal Rescue and Maneki Neko Cat Rescue.

Forever Friends Animal Rescue is the largest animal rescue in Victoria, Australia and have over 600 pets in their care at any given time. That’s more than the RSPCA head office branch in their area. Completely run by volunteers, they have no paid staff. Despite this, they’ve managed to raise over $90,000 through crowdfunding on Chuffed.org in the past year alone.

Maneki Neko Cat Rescue have 180 active foster carers and volunteers and have anywhere between 300-400 cats in care at any one time. In 2016, they rehomed 830 cats, and in 2017, they’re on target for over 1000. They have grown exponentially over past 3 years: in 2014, they only rehomed 180 cats. Then in 2015, that jumped to 360. By 2016, they were at 830 cats rehomed. So far, Maneki Neko Cat Rescue has raised $29,150 on Chuffed.org.

This guide focuses on raising funds for a single animal. Larger projects (with 5- or 6-figure targets) require a slightly different approach, and it may be best to get in touch with us to discuss your project in more detail. You’ll also find examples and case studies at the end of this guide.

So, whether you’re a small rescue group with a small online following and just starting out, or an established organisation looking to reach new audiences, this guide will help you on your way!

 

Here’s how they did it

Before you start: Choose a crowdfunding platform

 

We’d of course recommend using Chuffed.org, for three reasons:

  • You get to keep 100% of what you raise even if you don’t hit your target.
  • org doesn’t take a cut of your donation (most platforms charge 5-12% payment processing and platform fees). Instead we let donors decide if they give to Chuffed.org or not on top of their donation. Donors also cover the payment processing fees.
  • org only supports social cause campaigns, so you’ll be amongst other people like you, not people funding their holidays.

Step 1: Choose a single animal

Rather than fundraising to help ’10 kittens’, or ‘help save the lives of the animals in our care’, we found that choosing one specific animal to fundraise for works best. Most animal rescue groups care for several animals at any given time, and there’s always more than one animal in need. We recommend raising funds for 1 animal at the time and choosing an animal that:

  • Has a very visual issue, you can see something is wrong with them (ie. they have a broken leg or an X-ray that shows something’s wrong)
  • Needs a life-saving or life-changing surgery (ie. helping a kitten with a broken paw walk again)
  • Has some sort of visual X-factor (ie. a cute kitten, puppy or an older dog that just has the sweetest smile).

Step 2: Get a good quality header image

The photo that you use as the header image for your campaign is critical to your success. It’s the first thing that potential supporters see and it’s what gets shared on social media. You want it to be high quality, inspiring and engaging.

Before you launch your campaign:

  • There are several ways of getting a high-quality image: take it yourself, ask a volunteer or the vet to take a photo for you, or use their pound photo. You don’t need fancy cameras – though they help. Most people just use a good phone camera. You can also use X-rays or scans from the vet.
  • Take the photo with the animal looking at the camera. Sad photos tend to work better than happy ones, but you don’t want to guilt people with shocking photos (org is a guilt-free site. We reject campaigns that use guilt-imagery like graphic, disturbing images of animals).
  • If you’ve got multiple images, you can use the other ones in the campaign description.
  • If the animal you’re fundraising for requires surgery, we recommend taking a photo of the animal going into surgery – you can use these later to update your donors on the progress of the surgery.

Example header image

After the campaign ends:

  • Take a photo of the animal after surgery. Again, you’ll use this to update donors, but also to update your main campaign photo. The reason for this is that you want future supporters to see lots of examples of the impact you made previously.
  • Forever Friends Animal Rescue uses a template over the top of the image with their logo and the campaign title. This isn’t necessary but does create consistency over multiple campaigns. This is what people see when they search “Forever Friends” on Chuffed.org:

Header image example

Step 3: Write a strong title and compelling story

The Title

Your title is the second thing potential donors see after the photo. Make sure it’s short (4-5 words) and easy for people to understand what difference they’re going to make. You can add an exclamation mark to add a sense of urgency. For example, if an animal needs surgery that will help them on their feet again, call your campaign something like: Help Nala Walk Again!

As a bonus, you can try alliteration: “Help Red Run Again”, “Save Eddie’s Sight”, “Help Wobbles Walk” all worked well for Forever Friends Animal Rescue.

The Pitch text

Once you’ve piqued a potential donor’s interest with a strong photo and title, you need to give them the quick pitch. This is a very brief explanation of what your campaign is about. It’s what donors read to decide whether to read your full campaign page.

All your pitch should do is explain clearly what you’re fundraising for and have a clear call to action.

Here’s a good example:

“Nugget is a sweet two-year-old Staffy mix and he’s been diagnosed with a luxating patella on both hind legs. Help us help him live a pain-free life so he can run and play like a young dog should!”

The Story

Now it’s time to give potential donors the full story.

Typically, project descriptions are 300-450 words. Their aim is to both explain and inspire. Both Maneki Neko Cat Rescue and Forever Friends Animal Rescue use a simple formula for this: explain what’s happened to the animal, then what you want to do and what you’re going to spend the money on.

Remember to write in plain, clear language. While it’s tempting to explain the details of the surgery, a lot of times the animals need complex surgery and explaining the details of the surgery is not going to help inspire people to give – it may just confuse them.

To improve your campaign page even further, you can add additional pictures or videos. Photos from the animal’s rescue or in surgery work well.

Also, if you’ve already spent the money for the surgery, you can still fundraise to pay it off – just be sure to be clear about this to your donors. They won’t mind, they just want to know where the funds are going.

Here’s a great example of a simple but good campaign description:

“The owners of sweet 4-year-old Narla took her to the vet due to her limping. They were told Narla needed surgery on both her back legs to live a normal, pain-free life. Narla’s owners put her back in the car, drove straight to the pound and left her there. She’s been there a month and has run out of time.

Forever Friends doesn’t think Narla deserves to die. We’re ready and willing to take Narla into foster care and look after her during her recovery and find her a forever home, but we need to raise the money to fund the surgery that Narla needs.

Peninsula Vet Care is generously willing to perform Narla’s cruciate ligament surgery on both her back legs for around half the normal cost – $3500 – and we have a foster home waiting. The only thing that is missing is financial support.

Can you make a tax-deductible donation to help us save Narla? This sweet girl deserves a second chance.”

Step 4: Create a Chuffed.org page and upload photo, title and story

Once you’ve got your photo, pitch and campaign description, head to chuffed.org/start and start drafting your campaign. Just follow the steps, put the photo, pitch and description into the campaign editor:

Next, submit your campaign for approval, so we can review your page, and give feedback where needed*.

You don’t need to get it perfect immediately, because you can continue to edit your page, add details or pictures during the pre-launch phase and even after you’ve launched, so you are in full control. Also, once your first campaign is approved, you’ll be able to launch future campaigns without the need for further approval. This is an example of what a campaign page looks like:

Campaign page example

Step 5: Promote your campaign

The best campaigns on Chuffed.org do a lot of promotion, and so do Forever Friends Animal Rescue and Maneki Neko Cat Rescue. They both discovered that promotion activities are critical, but they don’t need to be complicated.

The crucial touch-points for promoting your campaign include:

  1. Before launch: let your volunteers and supporters know you’re about to launch a campaign, get them involved by asking for feedback or let them create their own fundraisers, this will make them more likely to share your campaign on launch-day.
  2. Launch day: launch big, and through all channels on the same day. In the first few days / week, make sure to thank every donor publicly too, this will make them feel good about donating, but will also show potential donors that others have already contributed.
  3. During the campaign: send positive updates and celebrate wins like raising 50% of your target. Focusing on celebrating how much you raised, rather than asking for money, and where possible, show updates on how the pet is doing.
  4. After the campaign: it’s important to thank all supporters, and send them an update a few weeks after on how the pet has been doing. Not just because it makes them feel good, but also because it makes them more likely to support your next campaign too!

The 3 main channels we recommend using are:

1. Facebook

Where to post:

  • Your Organisation’s Facebook Page.
  • Your Foster Carers / Volunteer Facebook Group (if you don’t have one, consider creating one like Maneki Neko Cat Rescue – Volunteers)
  • Your personal Facebook Page (and those of your volunteers and foster carers): this way your own friends and family can help share the campaign to their networks.

What to post:

  • Launch Post:
    • Create a post for the campaign, using a snippet of the text and link to the campaign to read more and donate. Pin this post to the top of your page for the duration of the campaign.
  • Campaign Updates:
    • Updates on progress of the campaign (and the pet’s health) are important:
    • Celebrating milestones:we’re halfway there”, “we’ve already raised 30% in 2 days” to remind people about the campaign and show others donated
    • Final push: When you get close to your target or campaign end, do another post to remind and let everyone know you’re almost there
    • After finishing: End of campaign update and thank you “Thank you for saving Narla who’s recovering well from surgery” makes everyone feel good, and those that didn’t support you this time around, will want to support the next one.
    • Header image:
    • Change your Facebook header image to include the Chuffed.org campaign header and a link to the crowdfunding page to donate.
    • This header stays up until campaign is finished and people who visit your Facebook page can immediately see what’s happening or what you’re fundraising for. You can also update this after a campaign completes to include a thank you.
    • Check out Forever Friends Animal Rescue’s Facebook Page for a great example.
    • Thanking Supporters:
    • Publicly thank supporters for their donations. Do a thank you post at the end of each day/week with the names of the people who donated that day/week.
    • This makes your donors feel good and more likely to share your campaign, but also shows others that people are supporting your project.
    • If you can tag them in the post, that’s even better because their friends and family will also see this in their newsfeed.
  • Volunteer engagement:
    • Ask your volunteers to like and share the posts. If you have a volunteer group on Facebook, let volunteers know you’ll be doing a Chuffed.org campaign and ask them to share the campaign link on their own Facebook page or to print a poster to promote the campaign at work.
    • For example: “Hi guys, you know Twistie is really sick. Can you please help us share Twistie’s campaign link? Just copy and paste this onto your own Facebook page. Thanks in advance, it would be a great help!”

2. Email

Although Facebook allows you to reach new audiences, don’t forget about email. Not all your supporters will be on Facebook or check Facebook regularly, so reaching out via email will make sure you reach everyone. We even have had successful campaigns just use email only!

  • Send an email to your supporters, volunteers and newsletter list to let them know you’re about to launch a campaign (share the pre-launch page for feedback).
  • Send a separate email to announce the launch of your campaign, asking them to share it with their networks. If you already do an email newsletter, include a featured section on the campaign, or even better, send a separate email to announce that you’ve just launched a crowdfunding campaign and would like everyone to support & share it.
  • Send important campaign updates (ie. we’re 50% there!) so everyone is reminded the campaign is still happening and rather than receiving another ‘ask for funds’, they’re involved in the celebrations.

Think about it as using email to activate and engage your existing supporters, to help you reach new audiences through Facebook and Social Media. Get them involved so they share it with their networks.

3. Messages and Campaign Updates

When you create a page on Chuffed.org and you start collecting the funds, you will also be able to send campaign updates and messages to supporters through our website, even when the campaign is finished. Whether your supporters found out about your campaign on Facebook or via email, you’ll be able to reach out to all of them with a single click on a button. You can also download your supporter data from the website.

Step 6: Receive the funds

When you create your Chuffed.org page, you can choose to collect the funds either by adding your banking details via Stripe Connect (recommended) or via a PayPal account. Stripe Connect is a secure online payment platform that enables payments into a bank account of your choice. You can start receiving funds from the day you launch your campaign and (when using Stripe) you can choose how frequently you want the funds to be paid into your account. This means you don’t have to wait until the campaign is finished to collect your funds and you are in full control.

Step 7: Tell people what happened

Most importantly after you complete a Chuffed.org campaign, is to let supporters know what happened. When you have an update about the animal that you saved, whether it’s 1 week or 3 months later, let them know. Supporters love getting updates on the animals they helped, and it makes them much more likely to donate to your next campaign. You can also use the Chuffed.org message function to contact and send updates supporters.

Frequently asked questions:

How much does it cost to run a campaign on Chuffed.org?

Nothing! Raising funds on Chuffed.org is completely free. Unlike most other platforms, we don’t charge any fees to our campaigners so that projects receive 100% of the funds. Instead, we’ve put our trust in the supporters who at the point of donation, will pay the online payment processing fee and can include an optional donation to support our platform. Lucky for us, it turns out they do! So, if you raise $5,000 on Chuffed.org, you get the full $5,000 straight on your account.

How is this different from a standard fundraising appeal?

Although crowdfunding campaigns and fundraising appeals have the same ideals – that is, to get support (financially or otherwise) for projects that certain individuals or groups believe in – there are a few differences that make it worthwhile to add crowdfunding to your fundraising mix:

  1. A specific project: Crowdfunding is typically for a specific project (or in this case, animal), where supporters can clearly understand where the money is going and join forces with others to raise the needed funds.
  2. A sense of urgency: Limiting the campaign to 30 days, with a daily counter and fundraising ‘thermometer’ will create a sense of urgency and encourage people to contribute now, rather next month (though you can choose to run your campaign for anything up to 6 months or without a time limit if you prefer)
  3. Reaching more people: Crowdfunding campaigns allow you to reach more people and gain more supporters by actively engaging your existing supporters to share the page with their networks, who can then share it with their networks.
  4. Updates on progress: Good crowdfunding campaigns include updates after the campaign is finished so supporters receive updates on progress and can see their money has made a difference.
  5. Engaging donors in new ways: Crowdfunding allows you to engage your supporters in new ways, educating them about the projects you’re working on and helping you raise awareness of your cause with their networks. Some donors prefer to donate to a new crowdfunding campaign each month, rather than signing up to become a regular donor.

Raising funds for a bigger project?

If you have any questions about Chuffed.org or crowdfunding in general, or are looking to crowdfund a bigger project, please get in touch with [email protected] to schedule a free 30-minute mentoring session. We are happy to answer any questions and provide free advice on how to develop a tailored campaign and promotion strategy for bigger projects.

More tips:

The Full Chuffed.org Crowdfunding Guide

Crowdfunding Case Studies and Deep Dives

 

All the best of luck with your first Chuffed.org Campaign!

 

Thank you!

A huge thank you to Samantha from Maneki Neko Cat Rescue and Saskia from Forever Friends Animal Rescue for sharing your crowdfunding know-how and tips with us which will help to save more animals across the world.

You can find out more about these two amazing causes in the links below. If you found this crowdfunding guide helpful, consider making a small donation to one of their Chuffed.org campaigns:

 

Forever Friends Animal Rescue

www.foreverfriends.org.au

Saskia

“To be honest, it’s the easiest fundraising we’ve ever done. When I think back of the times where we just did Trivia Nights, Bake Sales or Raffles, there’s so much background work and so much admin and people involved. With crowdfunding, there’s only 3 of us setting this up, especially with the design templates we’ve got, its quick and easy. It doesn’t take long to create the Chuffed link in terms of effort and volunteer hours, and it’s literally just getting it up on Facebook and in our Newsletter and sit back and watch the dollars come in – it’s a dream”

– Saskia from Forever Friends Animal Rescue

 

Maneki Neko Cat Rescue

www.neko.org.au

Samantha

What we found with Crowdfunding is that it brings people out that want to feel like they contributed to something specific, eg. helping Fluffy who needs surgery. They really want that connection with the animal. We find that as soon as we put up a new Chuffed.org page for an animal that needs surgery, many of the same people donate. We’d love them to do a regular monthly donation instead, but they prefer to donate this way, where they have a clear understanding of how the funds will be spent. We use Chuffed wherever we have a situation that provides us the opportunity to tell a great story and get people along for the journey”

Samantha from Maneki Neko Cat Rescue

Photo Credit

We’d also like to thank K9Kate Pet Photography (www.k9kate.nl) as well as The Animal Protection Society of Western Australia and CJ Animal Rescue for providing us with the amazing pictures used in on the front page of this document and to Hunter Animal Rescue for the banner image.

Author

Marlies Kimpe is Chuffed.org’s growth manager and cares a huge deal about animals. She used to work for PetRescue  in Australia before moving to the UK where she is currently a volunteer foster carer at Cats Protection. If you have any feedback or suggestions to make this guide even better, please contact her at [email protected].

Success Story: School Lunch Program in South Sudan by Timpir

School Lunch Program Team

School Lunch Program Team

“After extensive travelling and volunteering in Africa, Dr. Mel Baak was inspired to form Timpir in 2004. Her vision was to work with the people of South Sudan, to promote health, education and development at the community level. From there, the Timpir team has continued to grow with several local Australian-born members who work alongside former refugees from South Sudan who now call Australia home. This ensures that Timpir supports communities of identified need as well as ensuring that the donations are spent accountably.

One of Timpir’s main projects is supporting two schools with over 1300 students and 16 teachers. Sadly, due to ongoing conflict in South Sudan communities are now facing a severe food crisis and famine has been declared. In June we decided to run a School Lunch Program during the most difficult part of the famine (Jun-Sep) to ensure students receive at least one meal a day and are able to continue their education. Last year our lunch program was very successful with almost all of students remaining in school and even gaining some new students! This year one of our Team members Henry will hike up Mt Lofty (with two newly replaced hips) and another team member Natasha has hiked up Half Dome in Yosemite, USA, to raise support for our school lunch program.

Our goal is to raise $16,000 to cover the cost of school lunches for 3 months during the most difficult part of the famine. Timpir is different from many other organisations because we have very minimal admin costs. Our local Aussie team generously offer their time for free and mothers in the school communities volunteer to cook the food. So far we have raised just over $11,500 which has meant that we have been able to purchase enough food for school lunches during June and July this year.”

Head to the campaign page to learn more:

School Program

Success Story: Where There’s a Wil There’s a Way

Wil and Dina as kids

Wil and Dina as kids

“My name is Dina and I live in Ontario, Canada. My brother Phil and I decided to use Chuffed to help raise money for our older brother Wil who is just starting his fight with mouth and throat cancer.

Like so many people, Wil lives from paycheque to paycheque. He has a modest life, he is proud and independent living by himself in a small town in Quebec. With the doctors telling him what the ordeal will mean for him, the surgeries, the treatments, the recovery, Wil is very anxious about how he will pay his rent and his bills when he will be unable to work. While healthcare is free in Canada, there are many other expenses he can’t afford.

Since the campaign was started on Wil’s birthday, we have found out that Wil’s first surgery will be in August and he will not be able to work for the remainder of the year. We want Wil to be focusing on fighting and recovering and not worrying about paying his bills without an income. He is anxious about other likely expenses that he hasn’t even considered. Wil has been told that he will need to stay near the hospital (home is almost an hour away) to receive chemotherapy and radiation treatments. How will he afford to do this?

My brothers and I all live in different parts of the country and see each other once or twice a year. Phil and I are supporting Wil emotionally, and we can only help him so much with the financial challenges he will face.

There must be many who find themselves in a similar predicament as our brother Wil. We want to raise awareness and build a community that come together to help Wil and people in a similar situation. People who can help with a donation, locals who can donate time to help him get to appointments, perhaps even people who can prepare and deliver food to him during his recovery.

We hope to prove that Where There’s a Wil . . . there is a way!”

Learn more about the campaign to support Wil below:

Success Story: Team Philippines

Team at work

Team at work

“In 2010 I was invited, as a GP, to go to the Philippines as part of a medical mission to visit and assist impoverished communities who had been affected by a major flood in Manila. We visited 4 communities, one of whom had been completely displaced by the floods. The government had resettled them in a tiny rural region south east of Manilla, called Calauan. They were living in single room concrete besser block homes with no electricity, no running water, and no access to shops, work, education, fresh food or rubbish disposal. Children were fed one small rice meal per day and there was widespread malnourishment and poor health. The men disappeared for weeks in Manila, finding work to provide their families with some source of income.

The initial trip was a very one-dimensional experience. I felt like we were there to provide momentary western medical ‘magic’ with no longer-term vision of meaningfully improving the health of these communities. It felt like the mission was all about making us feel good, rather than creating real change for the people we were meant to be helping.

Back home I knew that to really make a difference we needed a different approach. In partnership with St Barnabas Broadway and Calvary Christian Fellowship, a plan evolved that sought to improve the health and vitality of the community through long term health care alongside community led education programs—the idea was to teach the community to fish. A novel part of the plan was to invite medical (and dental) students to participate in the medical clinics, giving them access to hands-on experience in a sustained social justice project and the chance to have a direct positive impact on the health of a grateful community in need.

Now, we employ a community nurse, farmer, pastor/youth worker, cook and teacher. We have established a community pharmacy and health clinic, childcare and early education program aligned to a feeding program for severely malnourished children, livelihood programs and a youth centre and youth group. Twice a year, 16 medical students from the University of Notre Dame Australia and 2-3 dental students accompany a small team of dedicated, fully qualified and deeply experienced volunteer doctors and dentists to run intensive medical and dental clinics alongside the education program. They are supported by a team of workers who upgrade and maintain the community’s shared facilities and infrastructure. Recently, in July this year, the team was able to see and help over 500 members of the community in the clinics. The success of this program is driven by our committed team of volunteers, the enthusiasm of the medical and dental students and the ongoing generous donations from hundreds of supporters to fund the required medical and dental supplies.”

Check out Team Philippine’s crowdfunding campaign page:

 

Team Philippines

Success Story: Bikes Not Borders

Ade cycling

Ade cycling

“My name is Olu… and this project is (somewhat secretly) about me. It has been really tough to be at the centre of it – because it entails one of my biggest fears – asking for help. In that way, it has been humbling. A friend of mine knows about a lot of the trauma and instability I had experienced – from care through abandonment by parents, visa renewal issues caused by my parents negligence and homelessness amongst other issues. When it came to time to get my visa renewed, I freaked out. I was scared, penniless, homeless and had no idea how I was going to come up with the full amount and cross over this one big obstacle. I cried and was constantly anxious. He eventually suggested cycling as a fundraiser. I hesitated. I was scared but what was more scary was not being able to have at least one major issue in my life sorted – and this one was pretty serious.

I think my own first hand experience over the years allowed me to understand just how serious it can get and how desperate many people are and will be under my circumstances. The friend who suggested it – originally from the states – has had experiences with visas that were less than pleasant. He also knew what it was like to have no one in your corner – as I have an estranged family who I haven’t seen in over 14years. Himself – alongside the other three who supported the project – have also had experiences with being homeless and destitute and the effect it had – both internally and practically when it came to sorting out matters this big and important.

I am fired up by the possibility of getting my indefinite leave to remain and having the chance – after 17 years at starting life again. I am prompted to push and fight for me life in a way I never have been before. I feel hope like I haven’t felt it before. I am fired up by the possibility of something happening that I hitherto thought was impossible. It is the first time I have experienced suck kindness and I am admittedly deeply taken aback by it. I cannot begin to explain how much that fires me up. I am always stomped when someone contributes – from friends through people I speak to on occasion through to strangers – wholeheartedly and just because they want to. I do not think they know just how much they are holding my life together and changing it. Perhaps it is because of my life experiences, but I have never experienced such kindness. Practically speaking, the idea of committing to something as intense as cycling country to country and seeing it through fires me up too. Prior to this fundraiser, although I knew how to ride a bike, I had never ridden longer than 2 hours talk less of a long distance trip. I did not even own a bike. It was borrowed. I was accountable to myself, for my life, and to everyone who had given – to just keep pushing – that has been one heck of a fire up.

The team was initially brought together after conversation with friend – Khaleb. After speaking at length about my situation, he joined heads with three people he was living with who spoke about using a cycle trip as an opportunity for a fundraiser to help me out of the rut. They then brought the idea to me about 4 – 6 weeks before it actually took off. The group eventually disbanded because Khaleb had to leave for work and to head back to the USA and there were some pace issues that came up but hiccups happen. I am so glad I was able to carry on and also for the incredible support from not just friends but also from strangers – in time, advice, contributions and sometimes even hosting me. I am ever grateful for the fact that the fundraiser itself was set up and is where it is today. I will have to return half way through to start the visa application process because of dates. The three guys will go to Greece but I will continue the rest of the way to Greece once the visa application appointment is met too!

They specifically chose this for me – as explained above – because of my personal circumstances which had been ongoing for years since I came out of care.

This cycle fundraiser has had an incredible impact on me. It has changed my life in so many different ways I cannot begin to describe. I had very little money so I ate skipped food and mostly bread everyday. I slept mostly wild camping and also by myself in my tent, sometimes in the houses of complete strangers. At times, this was incredible and I was overwhelmed with the kindness of humanity – especially being in a foreign land. At other times, it was not so safe. There was a night I was almost raped bya man who had a young daughter whom I thought was being genuinely helpful. I managed to get away at 3am and slept close to a pond in the centre of a small town called Vidauban in France. In the morning, two elderly ladies came separately to give me breakfast. It was just what I needed after a rough night, a long day ahead of cycling and little to no money. Its small miracles like that that occurred periodically I was blown away by. I met a lady I had followed on social media for almost two years – very randomly in a small town I cycled in to find a spot to camp for the night. I looked at her because I recognised her. We got taling. She wound up helping me with money when I was down to my last euro (she had no idea how timely that was). Not only that, her husband gave me a water flask to keep my water cool and pepper spray as he said he had a daughter and was concerned about me being on my own. She also single-handedly advertised the fundraiser to her friends on her social media and got me some donations. This is someone I did not know. I am overwhelmed each time I think about her kindness. I have had the chance to meet people who have offered me a home whenever I need it. For someone without a family and coming from years of homelessness, this has been deeply touching, somewhat unbelievable and incredibly healing for me. There have been nights spent not sleeping (I found out I was allergic to grass on this trip), been approached by weird men asking me for sex because I was on my own cycling, days spent getting incredibly lost, one morning i packed up my tent and saw a snake not too far from where I had set up tent, I have met so many incredible people, I cycled a few days with a man who cycled across Canada (Peter Ledingham – who happens to have an epic story behind him), one of my best cycle days was the ‘three countries in one day’ experience – going across the border from Nice in France through Monaco into Ventimiglia in Italy. I was so scared to make that crossing for some reason and felt incredibly proud when it was done. There are so many stories and pictures to recount. Great times and tough times and weird times. I would be more than happy to share these all with you. Please let me know if you need any further information from me.

I have 10 more days to raise the rest. I know Khaleb has pushed the dates back but I actually need it pushed forward again because I need to make my application for my visa extremely urgently! Deadline will be July 31st / August 1st at the very latest.

I still have £1,100 to go and I admittedly feel a little anxious about it all coming in but I am trusting and hoping. I have sent this link to so many people and hope that with the help of chuffed, the rest can come to realisation. I cannot wait to start building my life again.

Thank you SO MUCH to Chuffed for simply existing as an organisation. There is so much I could say. This has impacted me in the deepest of ways and I will feel it and talk about it forever. If there is ever anything I can do with regards to chuffed itself as an organisation, I would LOVE to so please do let me know.”

Learn more about this awesome campaign below:
Bikes Not Borders

5 Steps to get PR for your Crowdfunding Campaign

Hand on Microphone - PR Guide

For your crowdfunding to really take off it’s important to reach past your existing networks. Getting media coverage is a great way to increase awareness about your crowdfunding campaign and access new supporters. With the right research and planning, you can achieve publicity for your crowdfunding campaign and boost your impact.

More important than finding the right journal or newspaper to pitch to, is finding the right person who will be interested to feature your story. Most journalists get hundreds of press releases and email pitches every day — many of which get deleted unopened. So how do you get your story noticed?

Here are some tried and tested steps to getting media coverage for your crowdfunding campaign:

  1. Find the right journalists

Rather than emailing the [email protected] or using the website’s online contact form, find the journalists that have shown an interest in you, your cause or related topics before. These include:

  • Journalists who have featured you or your organisation before (they already know you)
  • Journalists of your Local Press / in the city where you or your organisation are based, or where the project is happening (they want to know what is happening in their local area)
  • Journalists of your National Press who have featured a similar campaign or cause before (journalists who are already talking about issues relating to your cause are the most likely to want to publish your story)

There are some great free tools online to help you access the right journalists and their contact details. An effective way of doing this:

  1. Head to https://news.google.com/
  2. Click on ‘Advanced search’ and fill out the relevant search terms to find at least 5 contacts for each of the 3 categories above and build a list of articles and journalist names, grouping them by journal.
  3. Do a Google Search for ‘Journalist’s Name + contact details’ or go to the contact page of the journal or newspaper to find out the email format the company is using. You can also find example email formats at https://www.email-format.com/. If you really can’t find their details you can also email the editor or use the online contact form, but this should be your last choice.

Limit your search to articles published in the last 1–2 years to make sure it’s still relevant. An example search could be:

Search articles

2. Engage with the journalist before you pitch

Never underestimate the importance of connections — take the time to engage with the journalists on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Get on their radar by liking, commenting on and sharing their posts. Get to know what your key journalists want and how they work by following them on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs and any other social networks they may have. Get examples of what they’ve written so you can reference them later.

 

Engaging with Journalists

3. Shape the perfect story and turn it into an awesome press release.

Now that you know the needs of your target journalists and their audience, build a story around your campaign with these in mind. Put yourself in the journalist’s shoes and think about what aspects of your story are the most newsworthy for their readers. Emphasize the most human aspects of your story. What makes this story interesting? Is it the cause that drives it, the current affairs that link it, the emotion it brings up, the large amount you have already raised or the fact that something incredible is happening in your local community?

Adjust your story to the best angle for the journalist and their audience and make sure to include the 5 W’s of journalism:

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • Why

Also make sure you include clear links to your Chuffed.org crowdfunding campaign. Mention Chuffed.org in the text so we get notified when your story gets featured and we can help spread the word with our networks too.

For more tips you can follow the guidelines of our press release template here.

A great example:

Media Release Example

Some more great Chuffed.org story examples :

4. Write a compelling pitch email

Your subject line is crucial in drawing the journalist’s attention. There are 2 types of subject lines that work particularly well:

  1. Label it as ‘STORY IDEA’ or ‘PITCH’, followed by a concise heading that summarizes your story in no more than ten words. (They know what to expect when they open the email, and gets them interested to learn more)
  2. Refer to their previous article in the subject line. For example: ‘Following up on [Previous Article Title]’ (They will recognise their own Article Subject line and will like that you are following up on something they wrote)

Make sure you refer to the journalist by name, and get straight to the point in the first couple of lines. Explain who you are, the topic of the press release and why you thought it would be of interest to them (refer to one of their previous related articles) but don’t go into too much detail — a few lines is enough.

Leave a clear link to your crowdfunding campaign and either attach your press release or copy-paste the press release at the bottom of the email. Also make sure to include clear contact details and make sure you are available to respond and help them meet their deadlines.

An example email could look like this:

Pitch email

5. Follow Up

After sending your pitch, give it at least 1–2 days before taking more action. If you hear back straight away — you’re in luck. Make sure to respond to any questions as soon as possible. Journalists are working towards tight deadlines and whether or not they can feature your story will depend on how fast they can put it together for the next edition of their journal or newspaper.

If you don’t hear back, the next step is a phone call. When you call, introduce yourself, mention your earlier email and state that you wanted to follow up with a photo opportunity or to double check they don’t miss out on the story. Be ready to explain why your story should be of interest to them. If they decide it isn’t, accept defeat, but ask for some positive feedback, so you can take it to your next journalist target. If you can’t get hold of them via phone, give it a few days before you send a polite follow-up email, letting them know about any updates on your campaign and asking if they have any questions related to your previous email. Don’t follow up more than once, you don’t want to come across as pushy or impatient.

Journalists work towards very tight publishing deadlines and have only limited time available to explore new stories. Usually it takes a few days for them to respond, so don’t worry if you don’t hear back immediately. They may even feature your story without responding to your email. You will usually get a 10–20% success rate when contacting the right journalists with a relevant story, so the more you research, the better your chances!

When is the best time to contact Journalists?

We recommend contacting journalists either:

  1. Before your campaign launches — to let them know the campaign is coming up and with a link to the pre-launch page (make them feel special about getting a preview and let them be the first to publish your story — you can send a follow-up email once the campaign is live).
  2. When you’ve raised a considerable amount of your target in the first week (>30%) or are getting closer to your target towards the end of the campaign (>70%). Journalists are more likely to feature successful campaigns than a campaign that just launched and is sitting at $0.
  3. When your campaign is completed and you raised 100% of your target. You may not need to raise further funds, but it will help you raise more awareness of your cause and may help you get potential future support and funding. The journalist is able to feature a positive and successful story, and you have a new journalist on your list for your next campaign.

What if your story gets featured?

If your crowdfunding campaign gets publicity, make sure to thank the journalist for their time and effort and show their support is appreciated. If the journalist features your story, they’re more likely to cover you again in the future, so make sure you keep them in the loop as you hit milestones throughout your crowdfunding campaign.

Also make sure to the article amongst your social networks as well as on your campaign page to keep the momentum going. You can also share this in your email to other journalists to show the story is newsworthy and give them an example of where else the story has been featured.

Other websites and tools:

We’d love to see your coverage — share it with us as well!

Feeling inspired? Start your own campaign today.

 

Success Story: Left Voice

Left Voice

Left Voice

“We’​re a group of revolutionary socialists who all have jobs outside our political work. Some of us are also students. What we have in common is our political position on the need for socialism to put an end to economic, racial, and gender-based oppression and the destruction of the planet. Because of this, we run, write for, and edit a website, leftvoice.org. We’re really committed to this and spend a lot of our time on the project.

We all have different paths to socialism: some of us are from ​outside the US and were​ involved in th​e left​ ​before moving to the ​US;​ ​some of us​ ​have​ been active​ in various movements and groups in the US. But we all have life experiences that have shown us that capitalism is a system that requires oppression to concentrate money and resources away from regular working people. We have union organising experience that has proven that collective worker actions can improve the working conditions, salaries, and lives of all workers, and this has given us confidence that the workers have the power to change society and create a socialist system.

​Just 3 weeks ago, we saw​ PepsiCo ​workers occupy their ​factory in Argentina to fight against ​the plant’s sudden closure. Though they’ve ​faced brutal police repression, they are continuing to fight!

If we collect $ 4,000 or more, we will be able to donate money to workers of PepsiCo and the worker-managed Zanon and MadyGraf​, ​to help them in their struggle against job losses and for the rights of the workers to democratically control their workplaces. ​This has made us all the more excited to travel to Argentina to see the work of the Partido de los Trabajadores Socialistas (Socialist Worker​s’​​ ​Party) and to learn how we can bring some of these methods back to organise in our own schools and workplaces​. ​We​’​ll also share our experience with others on these methods on the Left Voice website which was launched in Ju​ne​ ​2015 and keeps growing as more workers and students contribute.”

Learn more about LeftVoice’s campaign here:

Watch their video below:

Success Story: Yarn for Baby Blankets

Knitting for Babies

“I used to knit when I lived in Norway: jumpers, socks, beanies… When I moved to Townsville in tropical north Queensland, I had to rethink what to make in the hot climate. I started knitting toys, tea cozies, tissue box covers, and fingerless gloves – because that aircon can be freezing some days – and enjoyed selling them at monthly craft markets. I loved the feedback (and inspiration) from customers, and with the sales I enjoyed a free hobby.

But I was also looking for a charity I could help (with my knitting) in my own town: one that I had a personal connection to, and could help long term.

My work in vegetation management used to take me to pastoral properties all over regional Queensland, and I enjoyed the country, the people and their hospitality. And the Ronald McDonald house provides accommodation for those outback families, so they can stay close to their seriously ill child for weeks or months. Therefore I had once registered as a volunteer at the Townsville Ronald McDonald House. But at the time I registered as a volunteer, they were only after weekday volunteers, which I could not combine with my full time job. But I had mentioned I loved knitting, and knitted some donations instead.

At some point I dropped off a donation of “lego box tissue box covers” at the Ronald McDonald House, which the volunteers thought would look cheerful the living rooms. When I asked what else I could knit, they mentioned baby blankets were always appreciated. I then found out that Townsville is the only other hospital in Queensland outside Brisbane that has a neonatal intensive care unit to care for pre-term and very ill babies. And my sister had a preemie 13 years ago. She told me how hard it was to leave the hospital those 4 weeks her little girl had to stay there: she wanted to be there day and night.

So when the volunteer coordinator asked me a few weeks later if I could perhaps start teaching mums to knit baby blankets for their own child: I thought that was a great idea! Not only would that provide the mums with that much needed baby blanket: the knitting itself can be therapeutical during stressful times, and the blanket is both personal and unique. The pattern or the colours can reflect the families’ passion: being horses, the ocean or the local rugby team.

So far, I have been surprised by in-kind material donations, which I am currently trying to match up so colours “make sense” for babies. Initially I didn’t think black and navy were particular baby like, but while browsing pictures for inspirations, I realised a black and white zig-zag blanket can look very “posh”. While the Cowboys, the Townsville rugby team and popular throughout regional Queensland, is navy, grey and yellow. Perfect match!”

Check out this lovely campaign here:

Success Story: Burn Calories Not Coal

Save the planet

Save the planet

“We’re a group of friends working to stop the Adani mega coal mine. To be built on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, this will be the biggest coal mine in Australia and the third biggest in the world. This is a climate bomb that our planet cannot afford.

A few weeks ago, we met up in a Fitzroy pub and rather than keep talking about it, we wanted to do something! And so…Burn Calories Not Coal was born! The Labor and the Liberal parties both support this mine. So on July 29th, as part of our Burn Calories Not Coal Bike Rally, we’re cycling through marginal seats in Melbourne, to send a message to politicians that we need to move beyond climate choking coal. MPs in marginal seats are on a knife edge and will listen to us because they’re worried about losing their seats.

If they don’t #StopAdani, we’ll elect someone who will! This is an issue that is effecting us and increasingly so for the next generations. It’s something that we really care about.”

 

Join them on their journey to save the reef and the planet! Check out their campaign below:

You can register for the Burn Calories Not Coal Bike Rally here:
https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/burn-calories-not-coal-bike-rally-tickets-35985018158