After six years of committed and consistent success in the fundraising and social impact space – accumulated through partnerships with over 4000 non-profit organizations and over $800,000,000 raised – Charidy has identified three critical components that qualify a personal cause for success, and without which a campaign is far less likely to succeed. Be it a medical fundraiser, a memorial fund or raising for the aftermath of a natural disaster, these ingredients are critical for campaigning success. This includes: cause, community, and trust.
It might seem like common sense that, in order for a giving campaign to succeed, its first and foremost needs a compelling cause. Yet, when scrolling or clicking through other crowdfunding platforms, there is an abundance of campaigns falling flat for one overt and obvious factor: they haven’t established a reason to give.
For a personal cause campaign to succeed in crossing the chasm that exists between one’s personal networks and the global community – the cause or the ‘why’ behind the ask – must be such that it motivates, inspires and compels a complete stranger to give away their hard-earned and much-needed financial resources to support something to which they owe nothing and will likely never be personally affected by.
In order to achieve this, a campaign must express a truly human need, one that anyone and everyone can relate to on some level. Second, the donor should be able to immediately understand that there is an absolute and honest need for help and that the campaign proprietor has no alternative means to raise these critical funds. And third, it should be evident to prospective donors that the cause is helpless… but hopeful. This implies that the cause of the need has a clearly designed solution – an end goal that only these funds can supply – and the prospective donor’s specific and timely contribution is essential to resolving this need.
Only when meeting these requirements, can a cause build a strong enough narrative to rise above the tide of countless personal cause stories and stir within the community a necessary outpouring of support.
The second component consistent across successful giving campaigns is their core community. Rarely will a giving campaign succeed without a core network, or community, of supporters who will give to the cause in a compressed period of time which allows critical and necessary momentum to build. After all, without momentum, a campaign can ever reach its tipping point, where the intersection of need and give is such that the message is amplified by a cascade of donation, catapulting a campaign to the far reaches of its most engendered success.
These communities are found within the immediate network of the giving campaign proprietor, and can take the form of a religious community, family and friends, work colleagues, community leaders or any other immediate circle of supporters available. In leveraging this core network of supporters, momentum can be built up to the point that a giving campaign can and will cross that crucial tipping point from its proprietor’s limited networks into the wider community. This is the mark of a successful and worthy campaign.
When appealing to the wider community for financial support, it is important to consider that when making a financial contribution to a cause, donors are demonstrating a level of trust in the campaign and its proprietor. For a campaign to be truly successful in compelling the wider community to contribute, it must be credible – it must inspire and instill trust. Donors cannot be expected to contribute to a cause lacking trustworthiness in messaging.
This would include the stated need, the attainable solution, and information regarding the message bearer, or proprietor, themselves. The credibility of, and trust in, your campaign can be cultivated through a number of methods including, but not limited to: sharing references or testimonial statements from respected members of the community, news reports or features published by local media outlets, and the support of influencers through sharing the campaign across online and offline platforms.
In our experience, an individual’s cause – such as fundraising after the loss of a loved one – faces higher than average skepticism despite its credibility, in light of well-intentioned concerns over the effective distribution and management of funds. But, a tremendous degree of integrity is assured when the campaign proprietor can represent honestly that, with the assistance of a third-party professional consultant regarding the employment of funds, distribution will be transparent and fully aligned with the campaign’s stated goals. And in turn, a stranger will be more likely to give.