What is crowdfunding?

Social media has changed the way we do business and the way we raise funds.

Crowdfunding is a method to fund a project, business or cause, on the internet. It is a way to raise money from strangers.

People make a pitch, set a fundraising goal and a deadline for raising funds.

Potential contributors review pitches and decide if they’d like to support the ideas. People are not investing in the project, they are funding it. They don’t own any part of the project. The SEC is reviewing these sites so they may change. Review rules, terms and conditions carefully!

Kickstarter is a popular crowdfunding site. You describe your project, state a funding goal, deadline and what rewards patrons will receive, if fundraising is successful. Pledges are made with a credit card which won’t be charged until the project is successfully funded. If you don’t reach your goal by the deadline, no money changes hands.

To interest potential contributors, you must stand out, engage your community and close the sale.

Choose the right crowdfunding site. Explore many to determine their specific audience.

Look for a target audience that seems sympathetic to your cause. Most backers commit at the very beginning and very end of a project. Write response and thanks emails for the beginning, middle and end of a project. Have FAQ-type pre-written emails to respond quickly.

Pitch your project passionately. Make a great first impression. Include a description, image or video to help you stand out. Give a detailed explanation of exactly how you’ll use their money and keep all costs transparent. Use your best storytellers, images, pictures, videos.

Use all your social networks to drive people to your crowdfunding request. Continually drive people to your project page. Your project has a better chance if it’s small. Instead of funding for your whole reunion, select a worthy project (scholarships, funds to get elders to the reunion or entrance fees, for example) and concentrate on that.

Promise to include recognition in the reunion program and announcements, offer a reunion t-shirt for larger contributions, a named scholarship or activity. People love to be recognized.
From an article by Rich Brooks and John T. Unger in Social Media Examiner.

Two reunions we found on gofundme
The first reunion was created by Ellis Elite-Eight in Gainesville, Florida, in the Celebrations & Events section.

“2012 Reunion was great but due to economic downfalls many of our family members were unable to attend. In order to get everybody here and be able to provide amenities and food for all we need to raise seed money. Our goal is $5000, which will help us lower the family fees and … make the 3 day event more affordable. Anything you can donate is greatly appreciated, no amount is too small. Thank you! Ellis Elite 8 2013, Treasury Committee”

The second reunion ( was created by Linda Costello, whose goal was $1,000 (she raised $1,010). This was in the Babies, Kids & Family section.

“My family lives all over the country…. I live in Arizona. One of my brothers lives in Northern California, and the other lives in Massachusetts. My youngest sister lives in Florida and my other sister lives in Massachusetts. My dad, now in his mid-80s, also lives in Florida. My mom lives in our hearts.

“My sister in Massachusetts is hosting a Family Reunion the first week in August. She has great plans for activities we can do together and a big barbecue/party to celebrate all of us together again. The last time we were together was years ago.

“I really want to go, but right now, due to too many extenuating circumstances, I don’t have the money in my budget for airfare. And I really feel as though I need to be there.
“Have you ever gotten a feeling that you REALLY MUST do something? That’s how this feels to me. And because it’s so strong, I am doing something that I would never do. I am appealing to others to help me out…. Any donation would help.”