How do I get on DonorSee Staff Picks?

The DonorSee Staff Picks is reserved for the projects we think are most compelling to potential donors. For many reasons, it is also the part of our platform that receives the most traffic from donors who are looking to give.

It is therefore highly important that we protect the high-quality nature of the Staff Picks section. Even one sub-optimal project can compromise the value of DonorSee in the mind of donors. Because of this, each project is evaluated based on the following criteria. Here’s what you can do to get on Staff Picks:

Tell a compelling story

You want your project to tell a compelling story – something that will draw the donor in and establish a connection between them and the recipient.

  • Tell the story of the person receiving support. Impersonal projects (like building improvements) are sometimes considered if they tell a compelling personal story of one or more of the recipients. Make sure the story of the recipient is clearly told. Don’t forget to include their challenges, hope, and what the gift will do to help them.
Prince does a great job telling the personal story of the people in his community.
  • Clearly and succinctly articulate how the donor will play a clear role in the recipient’s life.
  • Feature the recipient with dignity. No nudity, does not break any health privacy laws, received informed consent to be filmed
  • Be immediately compelling within the first 3 seconds of viewing the video. 
    • Avoid long intros or logos at the start of videos. If you want to include a logo or graphic, I suggest you add it to the end of the video. Distractions at the beginning can keep a project from being Staff Picks eligible.
    • If you are going to add still photos to your video, make sure they don’t start till after the first 5 seconds.
  • Let some emotion show and don’t forget to express the urgency of the need
  • List relevant details (such on pricing) for the description – and uses the video to help establish an emotional connection between the recipient and the donor

Meet the Project requirements

There are some minimum Project requirements in order to be eligible for Staff Picks. Make sure you aren’t neglecting any of these key requirements.

  • Your project must not exceed $500 (High-quality projects that are larger than $500 are ineligible for Staff Picks but can be in the Featured category)
  • It must feature a person or a family – a named recipient. Samantha Jewell does a great job with making the first line of each project description unique to the recipient (even if the background is similar in many of the projects).
  • Have strong initial traction from other donors. Projects that are over 15% funded means donors like the project. How do you increase your initial traction? Ask people in your network to Follow you – so they get updates whenever you post a new project. And, consider sharing your projects on social media. We’ve found that DonorSee projects can tap into inactive donors in your network. If you know some really dedicated donors in your network, consider asking them to help get each project off the ground. They might appreciate playing a vital role in supporting your work (all the more so if they were planning on giving anyway!)
  • Be sustainable and effective. Projects that have a lasting positive impact on the recipient or community are required
  • Be needs-based and implementable. The project is clearly based on the need in the community and there is a high likelihood that, if funded, the project will be completed.

Have high quality footage

Having a high quality video for your project is one of the single most consistent ways to ensure your project isn’t disqualified.

  • Make sure your project has a good video. Photo based projects are rarely ever selected to be on Staff Picks. Over the years, DonorSee has been committed to it’s donors desires to see video based projects – which help with transparency and help increase a sense of gratitude for their gifts. 
  • Shot in horizontal format with a steady camera. It might help to remember “Fat not Tall” if you shoot footage on a smartphone.
Shoot footage “Fat” vs “Tall”
  • Have clear audio that is not overpowered by music or disrupted by wind
  • Keep the video short – under 1 minute. 30 seconds is ideal
  • Ensure the background clearly exemplifies the living conditions of the recipient. Do you have limited ability to feature recipients on camera? You can use video clips to help add more footage or still photos to your video. Ask your Partner Coordinator for some individual tips if you need help!

Be an active Partner

Staff Picks are reserved for DonorSee Partners in good standing who are active on DonorSee and in their community.

  • Don’t have outstanding project updates. If you are constantly late in posting updates, your projects won’t be selected – as video updates is key to donors.
  • Actively engage with donors and share projects on social media. Partners who share their projects with their support community and thank donors are more likely to be featured on Staff Picks
  • Fill out your profile. When a new donor sees your project on Staff picks, they generally visit your profile. If you don’t have anything filled out, they will be disappointed and that will affect the likelihood they give to any projects in the future.
  • Get high profile reviews. Donors give through DonorSee and on Staff Picks because they trust what we are doing. If you don’t have great reviews, we cannot feature your projects. 
  • Let your relatable personality shine. Don’t be afraid to be human in your projects, updates, and on your profile! Donors want to have a connecting with you as much as they want to know who will be receiving their gift. 
  • Have multiple active projects (so we can maximize the likelihood other projects will get funded). When a donor gives to a Staff Picks project, we also show them other unfunded projects you might have – to encourage them to give again. But, if you are lacking projects, we lose out on the chance to maximize their generosity. 

I hope this helps you to get every project you post on Staff Picks!

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