Crowdfunding used to be fairly easy. Individuals, businesses or charities pitched an idea, set a fundraising goal, and created a deadline for raising funds – and soon, the money rolled in.

Now, with more than 2,000 crowdfunding websites, and with millions of people donating to thousands of campaigns every year, it’s become an increasingly crowded, complicated and competitive marketplace.

Despite these realities, too many fundraisers and investors have a false belief about crowdfunding: just because you have chosen a platform that fits your needs and have created a fundraising campaign, people will start donating. That’s not how things work.

The right way to launch a campaign is to ensure it has all of the essential ingredients, such as:

– Reaching out to your close friends and family for first donations.

– Building a community on social media.

– Pitching your story to the news.

These will have a huge impact on whether your campaign is successful — especially the part about your story.

Step back a moment…Imagine explaining your campaign to friends. What would you say? What might they ask you? And how would you show them you’re prepared and capable of doing a great job?

How you explain all of this will be the basis of your story.

Compelling stories captivate people. Tales of overcoming adversity, finding a passion, or pursuing a once-unattainable dream can drive people to make emotionally-driven donations. The key is to be open, honest, and share the obstacles you’ve overcome or the challenges you hope to face.

It all starts with writing a great description for your crowdfunding campaign. Because of its prominence, your description – better known as your “pitch” – should be clear and concise, without any errors.

Your pitch should fully explain the cause, project, person, or event that you’re raising money for. Be specific, include your funding goal, and a breakdown of where the money will go.

Much of your story can be conveyed with words, but there’s more to a good pitch than just text.

Choose a great project image. It’s the first part of your crowdfunding website that people will see, so make sure you create a good first impression. Also, make an inspiring video to fully introduce yourself, and give people a closer look at what you’re working on. (It doesn’t have to be a super slick video.)

Together, images and video are vital for bringing people inside your story.

So tell your story well. You’ll have an easier time convincing your friends, family members, and peers to give to your cause.

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