What Do Disneyland and Crowdfunding Have in Common?

2 Apr

Every year, millions of families flow through Disneyland’s amusement parks, gorging themselves on overpriced fast food and thrilling at themed rides.  Why do all of these people spend exorbitant amounts of money on just a few days here?  One reason: Disneyland has invested an extraordinary amount of energy, thought, and money into creating an experience for its patrons, to create what it calls “The Happiest Place on Earth”.  People aren’t there for the rides or the cotton candy, they are purchasing the chance to transport themselves (or their children) to a land of princesses, Indiana Jones, and chipmunks.

What many fundraisers don’t realize is that their donors aren’t making a simple financial transaction when they donate—they are purchasing an experience.  The experience of giving back, of contributing to a cause larger than themselves, or simply supporting a loved one.  The experience that each donor is expecting or hoping for when he or she gives may vary by campaign, but if you use the tools embedded in the Fundly platform such as video, images, customized email templates, and automated thank-you notes, to name just a few you can significantly improve the overall experience for your average donor.  And I promise you, when you deliver an incredible giving experience you will win ardent supporters, who will pass the word on to other potential advocates and donors.

As you work to build a captivating experience for your donors consider the following ideas:

  • Nothing Beats Visual: If it were possible, you would want every potential donor or supporter to experience your cause and solution in-person.  The emotion that an in-person experience evokes can never be fully replicated by any other medium.  But the next best way to tell your story is through visual media. Make a video of yourself explaining why your cause is so important to you. Post pictures of your solution in action.  Give the donor the feeling that she is right there, experiencing the pain, joy, and intensity that you are in that moment.
  • Reduce Frustration: In addition to evoking emotion through powerful storytelling, another key component of the experience is making the process of listening, empathizing, and giving as seamless as possible. Spend a moment thinking about this, from first contact to actual donation what does your donor experience? Does your flow make sense? What can you do to make it even more effortless to contribute to your cause?
  • Long-term engagement: Lastly, perhaps the most powerful experience you can provide someone with is the sense that they are needed.  That they are an integral part of your organization’s long-term success.   Explain to your donors that you are in this for the long-haul, and that you want them to feel the same way.   And treat them that way.  Don’t just hit them up when you need cash.  Tell them about your challenges and triumphs. Keep them informed of your progress, and share your goals and visions for the future.

If you engage your social network thinking of a donation as just a financial transaction you should expect a cold, impersonal response fitting of that approach.  On the other hand, you can give them an experience they won’t forget, and you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by willing supporters and fellow change makers.

Give it a try, and let us know how it goes at curtis@fundly.com.

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