This article covers all the details about what are Large Projects, why you should have one on DonorSee, how they work, and what makes them successful. If you’ve been wondering how to have a massive impact on your community, this is a great place to start.
What are Large Projects on DonorSee?
DonorSee is a crowdfunding platform that focuses on telling the stories of individuals in need. The majority of our projects are under $500 dollars and focus on a single recipient. But, sometimes the biggest need in your community is, well, bigger.
A Large Project is any project over $500. It can be $600 or $600,000.00 The largest it can be is $10 million. So, we should be able to help no matter how big your need.
Starting out, each Partner can have one Large Project posted at a time. Once you’ve gained a significant base of support from both donors and your community, we can unlock your profile so you can post unlimited Large Projects. DonorSee Large Projects come with special perks and requirements.
Why post Large Projects on DonorSee?
There are many great reasons to always have a Large Project available to be funded on your Profile.
- Do More: Use a Large Project to tackle a big need in your community. Great examples would be digging a well for some villages or building a school.
- Gain Efficiency of Scale: Rather than post 15 projects for $200, you can post a single $3,000 project. Or, rather than struggle to break a significant program like a new building into many smaller projects, just run one large project and post multiple updates.
- Build Impressive Momentum: everyone wants to be part of something successful. If your small projects keep getting funded by 1 or 2 donors, you might never build a sense of community between your donors. Your Large Project can help build a sense of traction as you cross each milestone. And, when you share updates, your donors will get more intimately involved with your mission and your work – and might give again.
- Deeper Relationships: Large projects bind your community together in a more intimate way. Your donors will become advocates for you as they root for your progress. If your donors join you in sharing your Large Project, it helps deepen your relationship with them through association.
- Receive Bigger Gifts: You never know how much someone might be willing to give. By always having a Large Project open, when a donor visits your profile, they might be encouraged to give a larger-than-usual gift.
- Extra Exposure: Your project will stand out prominently on our “Featured” page. This page gets lots of traffic from donors specifically looking to make large donations. Only Large Projects are eligible to be Featured.
- Unlock Special Marketing Funds: We regularly run social media ads on projects of all sizes. We also have a special digital marketing budget for Large Projects. Because they are larger, we are able to advertise to more people without the projects getting instantly funded. When you post a high-quality video for your project, we will make sure thousands of people see it in their feeds on Facebook and Instagram. There are no fees for these services.
- Create Buzz: Your donors and ours will find it incredibly exciting to see you make progress on a large project. This will get them talking to their communities and posting on social media. When your Large Project is first posted, it should be with a splash! That increases your digital visibility and should stick in people’s minds.
- Build Long-term Engagement: We use highly targeted analytics to automatically re-engage donors on your future projects for years to come. We do this for all projects using special anti-fatigue methods but some of these engagement tools are only applicable for Large Projects. So, you should always have one Large Project unfunded on your profile to make the most out of your Profile.
How We Support your Large Project
In addition to helping you deepen relationships, generate buzz, and gain efficiencies of scale, we help support you every step of the way.
Our team has helped partners raise over a million and a half dollars. We provide you with custom tips and expert advice to help get your project funded (no matter how big or small). View your Partner Coordinator as a free fundraising consultant for your project’s script, video, launch plan, and strategies for posting updates.
According to Startups.com, “a successful crowdfunding campaign takes an average of 11 days to prepare.” We can help with a lot of that prep. We will also help with engagement. The average crowdfunding campaign lasts 9 weeks — and we can give you custom tips for keeping your Large Project active the whole time.
Startups.com figured out “admins for successful campaigns post updates an average of 4 times throughout their campaign.” We help you figure out what’s working and what could be better.
DonorSee doesn’t take any additional overhead fees for Large Projects. All the above is part of the general services we offer all Partners. We also actively work to connect you to new donors who are not current supporting you work. Our community of 13,000+ DonorSee donors generally fund over 50% of each project. The minimum our existing DonorSee donors fund is 20% of any project (with rare exception – such as one donor funding the entirety of your project). If your supporters are worried about fees, you can explain that DonorSee donors generally cover the cost of all the overhead – and then some! You should encourage your supporters to give early as it helps build monuntium. Giving ‘off-platform’ actually hurts your Large Project by hiding how much support you’ve been able to raise.
Your Partner Coordinator and the rest of the DonorSee team are here to help as you start posting Large Projects. Just let us know what you need.
But do they work?
We’ve had many successful Large Projects in DonorSee’s history. DonorSee started from a $100,000.00 project to build a school for Girl’s Shine Academy – which is still going strong today! Gret learned first-hand what it took to raise significant amounts from thousands of donors and we’ve built that into the ethos and foundation of DonorSee. The process outlined in this article has worked for many of our Partners.
Lexi is a CURE storyteller in Malawi who has raised a couple successful Large Projects over $7,000.00. When she launched her project, we helped with marketing and readily shared her project with our larger donor base.
Jennie is currently running a $20,000.00 nutrition project in Yusef’s name. In his weekly newsletter to all DonorSee supporters, Gret has been regularly mentioning the project. He has also been sharing its urgency on his personal social media accounts.
When Dr. Trish first joined DonorSee at the start of Covid-19 lockdowns, she had a significant urgent need of medical supplies for her pediatric oncology department in Tanzania. A little over a month after posting, her $5,800.00 project was overfunded. This was done, in part, to the interviews Gret had with her. While she was on the front line of dealing with the crisis, other members of the DonorSee team jumped in to help her get her videos posted. We offer this level of support to all our Partners so they can focus on finding and implementing solutions to global poverty.
Large Project Requirements:
There are some special requirements for Large Projects. But, they are all designed to help make sure every project you post is a success on DonorSee.
- Your first Large Project must be less than $10,000. This is to help keep things manageable. A Large Project has unique challenges and we don’t want you (or your donors!) to bite off more than you can handle.
- You can only post one Large Project at a time. This is to help you maximize your momentum!
- You can only post a Large Project if you’ve funded and followed-up on at least 3 regular projects. This is so donors can get a sense of the other types of projects you do and to help you get a sense of how DonorSee works.
- Your project will only make it onto the Featured page once your project is 10% funded. This is to help make sure that new donors you’ve never met don’t balk when they first encounter your Large Project.
- Only tax-deductible organizations can make it onto the Featured page. This helps lower friction for donors looking to give large gifts to Large Project.
- Your project should be compelling, easy to understand and have a highly-produced video to succeed. (More on this later!)
We also highly recommend that you:
- Completely fill out your DonorSee Profile before posting your first Large Project. Get over 10 reviews and 15 followers. This will add to the legitimacy of your profile.
- Pick a custom link for your Large Project so both you and your community can easily share your project online.
- Make sure to keep 3-4 other small projects open as you raise for your Large Project. This enables donors to see how your Large Project fits into your other work. It also helps capture anyone who wants to give to a more immediate project.
- Share your Large Project broadly! Sharing your projects is the best way to successfully raise funds.
The biggest tip for Large Projects: Share them broadly
When you post your project, you should immediately start receiving donations from your “inner circle” of supporters. This will jumpstart your project and will show to other donors that you are serious and able to complete the project. The best way to get your Large Project fully funded is to get 20% of it committed before you start.
Without an initial “seed” from a committed community – and their assistance in sharing your project broadly, you potentially doom your project to a painful start and an agonizing finish.
The best way to get your Large Project fully funded is to get 20% of it committed before you start.– Gret Glyer, Founder & CEO DonorSee
Stats have shown that 42% of funds are raised in the first and last three days of an average crowdfunding campaign. It’s essential to share your project broadly so you get in front of the right people. Social media algorithms only show some of your posts to your Followers. Sharing regularly helps you stay relevant with your potential backers. (Most people need to be asked 5-7 times before they ever decide to give.)
- 53% of email shares of crowdfunding campaigns convert into donations.
- 12% of Facebook shares convert to donations.
- 3% of Twitter shares convert to donations.
Beyond your initial launch, you also need to broadly share updates. Further stats show:
- Campaigns that updated followers regularly raised 126% more than those with no updates.
- Success breeds success: Once a campaign has reached 40%, visitors stay on the campaign page for 31% longer and are 22% more likely to donate.
- Successful campaigns feature an average four updates throughout the campaign.
- When campaign owners update their supporters, they raise an average 126% more than if they don’t.
- Campaign owners raise an average three times more if they update their supporters every five days.
Step by step guide to posting Large Projects:
Posting a good Large Project takes work. But the result can be an impressive amount of donations for something substantial. A well executed Large Project can “level-up” your fundraising efforts overall. Posting one good Large Project is far less work than dozens of small projects.
1. Identify a need
Your need should be something big, urgent, impactful, and have a personal element. For some of you, something will immediately jump out. However, if you are struggling to identify a need in your community, just reach out to your Partner Coordinator. They would love to help you think through various opportunities.
2. Plan it out
- What needs to be done in order for the project to be completed? You should have answers to the following questions:
- What day will you launch? (You’ll need a couple days of prep to have a great launch)
- What is the central story of the project?
- What will your milestones be? (Identifying what you can post as updates is really important! Successful campaign admin posts an average of 4 times throughout their campaign. Crowdfunding campaign admins that shared fewer than 2 times have a 97% chance of failure.)
- Who will you reach out to for the initial donation traction? (42% of funds are raised in the first and last three days of an average crowdfunding campaign. It’s important to start with a splash – who in your personal network will help you get off the ground?)
- How do you plan to keep your donors involved?
- What will you do if you are unable to raise all of what you need?
- What sort of financials should you show to help convince donors of your project’s need and impact?
- Who will be able to help you promote the project and tell your story?
- Do you know how you’ll handle implementation of the project?
- Have you run your plan by someone for review? (Your Partner Coordinator would love to help!)
3. Write a simple script
Once you have all the details flushed out, it’s time to figure out how you will convey the story. A lot of donors will see your video, and the bigger the project, the harder it can be to succinctly convey what needs to be said.
The majority of the details for your project should stay in the description. What you want to capture in your video is the A) the need B) your vision for the solution C) the human impact and, D) the urgency.
Plan your script to show donors the impact of the need. “Show don’t tell.” This sometimes requires you to add in longer pauses or to describe what the viewer will be watching. Don’t be afraid to be direct. You are dealing with an urgent need and people want to help! You just need to show them why they need to help now.
Rehearse the script a few times until it feels natural and you have a good sense of pacing. Simple sentences are best; and people need pauses in order to absorb what you are saying.
4. Film your initial video
Large Projects are expected to have a higher quality than a normal project. A general rule of thumb is “if the Large Project is 4 times bigger than a normal project, it should have 4 times the production value.” This helps set expectations and shows how serious you are about seeing the project through to completion.
- Campaigns with personal videos raise 105% more than those that don’t have them. So, make sure your video is personal and clearly tells a story.
- Pick a setting that will reinforce the story while not being too distracting. If you are looking to build a house, it might be better to stand in front of a similar structure vs. an empty plot of land. If you are talking about caring for malnourished children, a clinic might be better vs having children in the background causing commotion.
- Pick a setting that has good natural light or find a way to make sure you are well lit.
- Minimize wind noise and ensure everything you say can be clearly captured by the camera. If you have a lapel mic, we highly recommend using it. You can also have one phone recording audio (that you keep near you) while another camera/phone further away captures the footage.
- Do a couple takes. This will help you get the clips you need.
- Mix it up! A few different settings and angles might really help you keep the attention of your viewers. We highly suggest you have one full clip of you speaking directly into the camera. Georgina’s project for milk is an excellent example of clear video and audio interlaced with footage of the people she’s helping support.
- Grab a bunch of “B-roll.” This is footage of the setting, the people you plan to feature in the video, or your main script but taken from another angel. Having a lot of B-roll footage will help you with future updates.
5. Add your description
You’ll want your description to reiterate the main points of the story and to offer details you couldn’t tell in the video. In general, we recommend that you follow the “inverted pyramid” rule of journalism: give the biggest broadest details at the top and then get more granular.
The average word count for a very successful crowdfunding campaign is 300 to 500 words. (Source) But, we recommend you only make it as long as needed. You shouldn’t need more than two paragraphs of text and some bullets.
Make sure your project is tagged in the proper categories and that the thumbnail captures the essence of your project.
Select a unique URL so it’s easy to share. This simple point is really important!
6. Prepare for launch
WAIT to post the project until you’ve messaged your inner circle. Send an email or personal messages to your inner circle at least 3 days before you launch. Tell them about the project, your goal, and ask them to help. Ask them to help you jump start your project on the launch date. Tell them when you are posting and ask them to both give and help you in sharing your project.
Prepare a couple of posts for social media. Get a few of your board members or staff to commit to sharing the project link on the launch day. (Don’t forget to share your social media posts on your personal accounts as well as your organization’s account. “Cross-sharing” is a great way to show traction.)
Don’t forget to let your Partner Coordinator know when you’ll be launching – so we can also join you in making the launch a success!
All your hard work in preparing is about to pay off! Post your project and get ready to celebrate the initial donations.
For the first couple of hours and days, we highly suggest you celebrate each donation and share every initial milestone on social media.
If you did all the above steps, you should be seeing a lot of initial traction. Be a cheerleader for your project! Most donors give because they want to be creating a positive impact on the world. Help each donor feel appreciated for their gift — as that will encourage other donors to join in to get the same sort of affirmation.
8. Share updates
As you cross milestones, post updates to the project. These will be automatically sent out to donors who already gave. Receiving an update might prompt a donor to share your project — or to give again.
We suggest you include at least 4 video updates — and as many photo or text posts as you are able. While it’s a bit of work, it’s far less work than making a dozen small projects. Regular updates also help you build a sense of community and connection with your donors.
We’ve seen that the more you update, the more engaged your donors become. Every DonorSee donor has the ability to change their notification settings on their profile, but the majority of donors have chosen to not limit their emails — as they love the updates. It helps them feel like they are partners in your work.
Mix up your updates! Can you feature any photos or video of future recipients? How about staff who are excited about the progress you’ve made? Have you put in an order for supplies already? Great – let your donors know!
It’s important to continue to use as many channels as possible to maintain momentum. Send an email to your inner circle with an update on the launch. Include a screenshot of your progress bar in one of your Instagram posts. Share some B-roll footage on Facebook. Or, livestream yourself on the ground expressing your gratitude to your most recent batch of donors.
DonorSee is designed to give you a uniquely personalized way to connect with donors and your community. If you don’t have a Large Project actively running, you should! It’s a great way to increase your impact and to strengthen ties with your support network. And, we are here to help!