What we’ve learnt from over 100,000 donations on Chuffed.org

In December 2012, when we first pitched the idea of Chuffed.org to the Telstra Foundation, our Big Hairy Audacious Goal was to raise $10 Million across our first five years of operation. I remember writing it in our presentation and thinking it was so outrageously large as to be unbelievable. At the time, we had no product, no traction and no customers.

Today, less than three years since we launched, this happened:

The path to $10M

We are so proud of the thousands of campaigners who’ve chosen to use Chuffed.org to do everything from reuniting a refugee family who’d been separated for 23 years to helping stop coal seam gas exploration across Australia to getting a ban put on greyhound racing.

To celebrate, we decided to do something decidely geeky and delve into those 100,000+ donations to see what they could tell us about donors who give to crowdfunding campaigns.

Here’s our five fun (and sometimes surprising facts):

 

Fact 1. Women give more than men

As a man writing this, I find this both highly unsurprising, but also a tiny bit disappointing for my gender. I’ve had so many debates about why this gender split happens, but if you’ve got any theories, drop them into the comments.

Women donate more than men

 

Fact 2: Online giving isn’t a young person’s thing

I hear far too often that the growth in crowdfunding is because millenials are all moving online and charities need to adapt so that they don’t miss out on this next generation of donors. As it turns out, that’s not quite true. Charities need to learn how to crowdfund because the majority of their middle age and older donors prefer it.

 

Fact 3: People anywhere in the world are happy to give to your campaign

Ok, so we’re not holding our breath on North Korean donors flooding onto Chuffed.org, but hey, maybe one day. We’ve only run campaigns in 20 countries, yet donors have come from 152. The fact that your campaign can be based out of a country town and get donors from dozens of countries around the world – that’s what excites us.

 

Fact 4: Thursday’s the day for giving

Alright, we’re opening this one up for conspiracy theories. Maybe more people get paid on Thursday, maybe it’s because it’s nearly Friday, maybe it’s the day I most like surfing for crowdfunding campaigns on the internet, but well, there’s something noticeably more generous about Thursdays.

Day of the week for donations

 

Fact 5: People love a bit of pre-bedtime donating

This is probably my favourite. Right before bed, people pull out their phones, and well, donate. We suspect that they saw it at work when they got in – the 9am peak, check before they go to bed, notice that the donation total has jumped up, get FOMO, and grab their credit card.

People are most likely to donate at 9pm

Thank you again from all of us here at Chuffed.org. We can’t thank you enough for believing in the dream and trusting us with your projects. Can’t wait for the next ten million.

– Prashan, Seb, Dave, Bec and the Chuffed.org family

 

PS, if you have better theories on these donor behaviour stats, tell us in the comments below

 

Crowdfunding: What is it and how can it help my charity fundraising?

Girl with hand up

A definition, introduction and 101 for not-for-profits and charities

The traditional definition of crowdfunding goes something like this:

Crowdfunding is the process of funding a project online by collecting small amounts of money from a large volume of people

While there are a lot of flavours of crowdfunding the most important components are:

  • A project that needs to be funded (not an organisation);
  • A fixed goal that needs to be raised; and
  • A timeframe that the fundraising campaign runs for

The problem with this definition is that it’s misleading and makes people think that to access the crowd of funders out there, you just need to put your project online and do no work. That’s why we came up with a better definition. One that reflects how you get to the crowdin crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding (verb): A marketing campaign targeted at people who love you… which if you do well, spreads from your friends to their friends and from them to the crowd

Crowdfunding for non-profits - how your campaign gets promoted

We like this definition of crowdfunding better, because it emphasises:

  • That crowdfunding is all about marketing
  • That crowdfunding is social i.e. you access the crowd via people you already know talking to their friends
  • It makes it clearer what you need to do to succeed

 

So if I’m marketing to people I already know, how is this different to emailing my list a link to my website?

While it might not be immediately obvious, how you run a direct email campaign and the experience donors get is totally different to a crowdfunding campaign. Here’s three differences:

  1. A direct email campaign is designed to get a small percentage of people on a large list that you already own to donate. Crowdfunding is designed to get those people to donate AND to tell their friends about the campaign. That means that if you have a starting list of 1,000 people, a direct email campaign limits your maximum number of donors to 1,000, whereas a crowdfunding campaign could well attract donors that are not on your list.
  2. The fixed goal, timeframe and project nature of crowdfunding means that donors get an engaging experience that they want to come back to to check the progress of the campaign.
  3. A direct email campaign is about a charity (you) talking at a large volume of people (broadcast marketing). A crowdfunding campaign is about your supporters talking to their friends (social marketing).
  4. (Bonus) You’ll very rarely get press about your direct email campaign. Heaps of crowdfunding campaigns get written about – you can check out a few from Chuffed.org campaigns here.

 

Ok, got it. So where does crowdfunding fit into the charity fundraising landscape?

So roughly speaking, you can split charity fundraising into two buckets:

  • Relational Fundraising: large value, low volume (Government, High Net Worth, Trusts/Foundations, Corporates)
  • General Public Fundraising: low value, large volume (Face-to-face, Direct Mail, Direct Email, Telemarketing, Events, Peer-to-Peer)

Crowdfunding belongs squarely in the ‘General Public Fundraising’ bucket and in a non-profit, it’s usually led by the same person/people who looks after other public fundraising campaigns.

While crowdfunding is heavily project focused, increasingly smart non-profits have found ways to running regular crowdfunding campaigns to fund their ongoing operational costs – but that’s a whole other post.

Crowdfunding: how the best animal welfare organisations fundraise

At Chuffed.org, animal welfare is one of our biggest categories. Dozens of animal shelters, advocacy organisations and protection groups have crowdfunded their projects with us. Today, we wanted to share with you how they did, in the hope that it might inspire you to do the same.

1. The new shelter campaign

Edgar's Mission

When Edgar’s Mission ran out of space at their former sanctuary, they knew they needed to move. The costs associated with fitting out their new site though were immense, and so they turned to their crowd to help them out. In the space of 60 days, 1,800 people from 17 countries raised over $162,000 (their original target was $50,000!). The trick to these campaigns is to design great ‘sponsorship’ perks. For $500 you could sponsor a perch in the chicken barn; for $1,500 you sponsor the duck pond, and so on. These types of sponsorship perks work well because people love being able to “own” a bit of the sanctuary you’re creating – think Farmville except in real life.

Other great examples:

2. The injured animal campaign

Animal Shelter Campaign

When the team at Maneki Neko Cat Rescue get a new cat come in that needs surgery, they fire up a campaign on Chuffed.org and turn to their audience for support. As the support comes in and the surgery progresses, the Maneki Neko team do an amazing job of telling their donors about what happened to the cat that they saved – it’s an intimate blow-by-blow account, often from the surgical theatre, that gives donors an unheard of peak into exactly what happened with the money they donated. This post-campaign story-telling is key for these types of campaigns and its the reason that donors keep coming back for more.

It’s worth noting that although each individual campaign isn’t huge, in total Maneki Neko have set up 13 campaigns with us, raising over $20,700.

Other great examples:

3. The advocate campaign

Animal Shelter Campaign

When things need to change in the animal world, it’s nearly always animal welfare organisations that need to lead the charge. Many of us have been horrified by the practices used in the greyhound racing industry, but the team at Animal Liberation Queensland decided to do something about it. They set up billboards at the main train station and then turned to their supporters to help keep it up. The $10,500 they raised helped keep the billboards up, exposing 105,000 people a day to their crucial message.

Other great examples:

  • Humane Research Australia raised $10,400 to put up a billboard encouraging a ban on primate experiments
  • Aussie Farms Inc raised nearly $20,000 to fund the documentary, Dominion, to expose the way that animals are mistreated through various industries

If you think your organisation could do something similar, just get in touch at [email protected] or just click on the button below.