Where did your donation go?

Have you donated to a crowdfunding campaign only to wonder how your donated dollars were used? Donors today know the need is growing to help members of our community, our neighbors and friends, or even strangers who are experiencing a challenging time due to inflation, natural disasters, complex health diagnoses, or even a sudden death in their family. However, today when we give to a crowdfunding campaign we have no way of knowing if the funds were used for what the individual, family, or organization needed.

I was uncomfortable with how little information I had

Recently I gave to a local neighborhood family in need. It wasn’t a family that I know however it is a family that is facing adversity in our community and I was touched by the story. As I went to donate, I uncharacteristically paused because I was uncomfortable with how little information I had on how that family will spend the donations, who will spend it, and if this donation was really helping the family that I thought I was funding1. If I had that information, I could provide more substantial support for that family in the areas that they will actually use. For this example, maybe they need out-of-pocket healthcare costs, gas to get to their medical appointments, hotel rooms to stay near the hospital, and groceries to feed their family. What if I could fund this family through these specific credit card categories instead? I would better understand where my charitable donations are going and I could align my donations with my other areas of preferred giving.

For the recipient of this crowdfunding campaign, this newfound transparency will strengthen the trust of their donors which will encourage the donors to come back, engage with you and your story more, engage with the other members of your community, will be more likely to increase their donations to your cause and will more likely share your story with others. Isn’t that what we’d all like to achieve, ensuring that those that are in most urgent need of support get the funds they need when they need them? 

We often give based on causes and issues we care about and loyalty to the people and organizations we know and engage with regulary. What if we could push that caring even further to strengthen that trust and transparency to strengthen how we help our neighbors and friends, grow our charitable giving, and support our communities during this increasingly challenging time in all of our lives?

Recent research has recommended the following guidance to or cause based crowdfunding fundraisers who are sharing their stories to raise funds for their cause to increase donations and donor engagement and get the funds that they need:

  • Keep your title to 4-5 Words, but make sure the words are searchable, and impactful and tell the audience what your story is about
  • Don’t make spelling mistakes! Check your writing, spelling mistakes is a turnoff for potential donors. 
  • Keep the word count of your story to 300-500 words, this is the magic word count that raises the most money.
  • Use Photos to tell your story. Some donors are visual so your photo brings the story and your need to life. 
  • Share and circulate your story on social media. Meet your donors where they are, it’s called crowdfunding for a reason. 
  • Ask for, welcome, and acknowledge messages of support, along with your donations. This is where the community magic starts to happen.  
  • Provide updates. Let the community know how it’s going, what you are doing with those first donations, and what you still need. Keeping your donors and your prospective donors engaged will give them even more reason to continue to donate and to share your story with their friends and on their social networks. 

Increase donations and donor engagement and get the funds that they need

Each of the above recommendations builds trust for you the individual or cause that needs the donations and the donors who are searching for you. All of the recommendations are important but its that last one, providing updates that really helps build that trust with your donor and your community. We know this is a difficult time for you and your loved ones but let us know how its going, how the donations were used and what else you need. This will keep us informed and help build that foundation of trust and transparency and hopefully give you the funds and the support of your community to move through this difficult time in your life.

About the Author

Annie Rhodes

Annie Rhodes


25 years in the social good + tech sector with a passion for transforming technology solutions to do good better guiding individuals and organizations towards improving efficiency, transparency and impact. 



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