You’ve developed your campaign strategy and are ready to get started. Awesome! In this post, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about starting your campaign. As an added bonus, we’ll even share some best practices and tips to help you launch a campaign that is best positioned for achieving success on Causes. Here’s what we’ll be covering:
- Start a new campaign
- State your campaign’s goal
- Tell others why your campaign is important
- Select a category
- Give people a way to help
- Choose a campaign photo
- Add your first post
- Launch your campaign
Without further ado, let’s begin!
1. Start a new campaign
To kick off the campaign creation flow, click +Start a new campaign. This is located under the Campaigns drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner of the navigation bar.
2. State your campaign’s goal
You should already have a clear goal in mind. Now it’s time to put fingers to keyboard and craft a campaign title that will grab the attention of others while clearly stating what you hope to accomplish. To help you get started, we ask you to complete the sentence, “I want to…” Then, in 60 characters or less, tell the world what you want to achieve.
Pro TipWhen writing your campaign’s goal, be explicit and concise. The below campaigns provide great examples. Notice how they aren’t vague or generic like “I want to cancel a TV show” or “I want to stop GMO baby food”. Our data analyst found that campaigns with crystal clear goals outperform those that are unclear.
3. Tell others why your campaign is important
Now that you’ve created a focused and well-defined campaign goal, the next step is to briefly state why your campaign is important. This is your opportunity to convince your friends, networks, and other people on Causes to support your campaign.
Pro TipYou have up to 120 characters to tell the world why your campaign is important. Therefore, it can help to think of this section as a “tweetable” sentence that will hook potential supporters and convince them to participate in your campaign.
4. Select a category
The next step is to select a category that represents the overarching issue your campaign is addressing. This allows us to display your campaign on relevant pages (search results, issue pages, etc) and recommend it to potential supporters. See the image below for more details.
Pro TipIf your campaign doesn’t match up perfectly with our preset categories, don’t worry. Try to choose the most relevant one, even if it is a bit of a stretch. In addition to the Category field, our recommendation and search algorithms use several other factors to make recommendations and display relevant search results. We have your back!
5. Give people a way to help
Congratulations! You’re halfway there . Now it’s time to give others a way to help by creating a petition, pledge, or fundraiser. Click one of the links below or continue scrolling down the page to learn how to set up each action.
Pro TipWhile developing your campaign strategy, you should have decided whether you want to use one or any combination of the following action types. Remember, the first action you launch should help build a relationship with your campaign’s supporters. If your campaign strategy involves multiple actions, you’ll be able to add more after launching your campaign.
How to create a petition
A petition is typically used to rally support for a campaign and target a decision maker, such as a government official or CEO. Begin by answering the following questions:
- Who are you petitioning? What individual or group is in a position to help your campaign? It’s important to be realistic here. For example, asking President Obama to reform local zoning ordinances probably won’t be very effective. Instead, you should try targeting the city, county, or state official responsible for the management of zoning ordinances.
- What should the petition say? This is the equivalent of a petition letter. It should be directed at your target and explicitly state what you’re asking them to do. For example, maybe you want your Mayor to publicly express their support for gay marriage or to ask the CEO of Wal-Mart to give employees a pay increase.
- How will this petition help? Explain to potential supporters why signing will help achieve your campaign’s goal. Include statistics that support your position, reference credible sources, and make sure your argument is well articulated. Bonus points if you have a personal story to share that makes your argument even more compelling.
- How many signatures do you need? This should be the minimum amount of signatures required to grab the attention of your petition target (see the Pro Tip below for additional insight). Again, be realistic. For example, 1,000 signatures on a petition targeting President Obama probably won’t be very effective.
- What is the last day to sign? By default, we set the petition’s duration to 60 days. However, you can adjust this as you see fit.
Pro TipAfter your campaign has been launched, you can adjust your petition signature goal and the end date. With that in mind, we recommend breaking your petition signature goal into smaller chunks and increasing the goal amount as you hit each “milestone”. For example, if you need to gather 5,000 signatures, you could start with a goal of 500 and then increase it like so: 500 > 1,000 > 2,500 > 5,000. Smaller goals feel more achievable and make people feel like they are part of a winning team.
How to create a pledge
By taking a pledge, a person is making a commitment to do something meaningful in support of your campaign. Begin by answering the following questions:
- What do you want people to do? Do you need them to call a political representative, boycott a company, or attend a rally? Besides donating money or signing a petition, what can people do to help make an impact?
- How will this pledge help? It’s important to tell people why you need them to take a pledge and how it will help your campaign achieve success. You should also include any additional information like phone numbers for people to call, Twitter usernames for people to tweet at, event details for your rally, or anything else your supporters may need to know.
- How many pledges do you need? This should be the minimum amount of pledges required to make an impact (see the Pro Tip below for additional insight). Once again, be realistic. Do you need 100 people to boycott a product or 100,000? Will that state senator notice if only 50 people tweet at him/her?
- What is the last day to pledge? By default, we set the pledge’s duration to 60 days. However, you can adjust this as you see fit.
Pro TipAfter your campaign has been launched, you can adjust your pledge goal and the end date. With that in mind, we recommend that you break your pledge goal into smaller chunks and then increase the goal amount as you hit each “milestone”. For example, if you need 500 people to take a pledge, you could start with a goal of 50 and then increase your goal like so: 50 –> 100 –> 250 –> 500. Smaller goals feel more achievable and make people feel like they are part of a winning team.
How to create a fundraiser
A fundraiser helps fund nonprofit organizations who are working to achieve your campaign’s goal at scale. You can fundraise for any U.S. based 501(c)(3) nonprofit that’s registered on Guidestar.org (see disclaimer at the end of this post). Donations are processed by Network for Good and are automatically sent to the nonprofit the month after a donation has been made.
- Who are you raising money for? Start typing in the name of the nonprofit organization that will be the beneficiary of your fundraiser and select it from the list. If the nonprofit you’re looking for doesn’t show up, then they haven’t opted in to receive online donations.
- How will this fundraiser help? Explain to potential supporters why donating will help achieve the campaign’s goal. Transparency is a common characteristic amongst successful fundraisers on Causes. People want to know exactly how their money is being used to help accomplish your goal. For example, Not For Sale ran an extremely effective fundraiser that received over $150,000 in just 8 weeks. Watch the video to learn more.
- How much do you need to raise? This should be the smallest amount of money required to accomplish your campaign’s goal (see the Pro Tip below for additional insight). If you exceed the goal, you can always increase the amount you want to raise.
- What is the last day to donate? By default, we set the fundraiser’s duration to 60 days. However, you can adjust this as you see fit.
Pro TipAfter your campaign has been launched, you can adjust your donation goal and the end date. With that in mind, we recommend that you break your donation goal into smaller chunks and then increase the goal amount as you hit each “milestone”. For example, if you need to raise $10,000, you could start with a goal of $500 and then increase your goal like so: $500 –> $1,000 –> $5,000 –> $10,000. Smaller goals feel more achievable and increase the probability that someone will make a donation.
6. Choose a campaign photo
It’s no secret that the Internet population is becoming an increasingly visual audience. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to have a high quality campaign photo that will grab a potential supporter’s attention as they discover campaigns on their homepage, Facebook, and Twitter. Our designers recommend using a campaign photo that:
- Is at least 1000 pixels wide by 600 pixels tall. This will make sure images don’t pixelate on devices with high resolution screens.
- Has very little or no text on it. This makes your campaign goal and description easier to read.
- Doesn’t have a lot of white or light colors. this will also make your campaign goal and description easier to read.
Pro TipIf you need help finding a photo, you can use the advanced search features on Google Image search and Flickr to find photos that are available under a Creative Commons license. These photos are typically not subject to copyright laws as long as they are used in a manner stated by the photo’s Creative Commons license. If that’s all too complicated, use a photo that you own.
7. Add your first post
Posts give you and your campaign’s supporters an opportunity to provide supplemental information that helps build a case for your campaign. They’re a great way to kickstart the conversation, educate others, and recruit potential campaign supporters. To add your first post, click Add your first post below the campaign photo. Then, choose from the following post types: photo, YouTube video, story or article. You can also automatically share the post to your connected social networks during this step, which makes it easy to quickly get the word out.
Pro TipFor your first post, we recommend that you use a high quality YouTube video that creates a compelling case for your campaign. Our data shows that video posts inspire the most amount of people to take action and support your campaign. If you can’t find a high quality video, articles do a great job of inspiring action as well, followed by photos and stories.
8. Launch your campaign
The last step in the campaign creation process is to launch your campaign. Once you click the Launch Campaign button, anyone can join the campaign and express their support by taking action. You should also take the action and invite your friends, family, and other connections to join. And don’t worry, you’ll be able to edit your campaign’s details after it’s been launched.
Now it’s time to kick things into high gear and start promoting!
Pro TipConnecting your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn accounts enables you to take full advantage of our friend inviter tool and maximize the reach of your campaign. You can easily connect your accounts after taking action or by clicking on any of the social sharing icons.
Read Next: Promoting your campaign
At this time, Causes only allows you to raise money for US-based nonprofit organizations for two main reasons. 1) It’s the easiest way for you to send money to organizations that align with your mission. Oftentimes, nonprofits are better positioned to have an impact than the average citizen because they’re acting on behalf of a larger group. 2) The IRS would treat donations to individuals as taxable income, which means you would have to pay an income tax of at least 10% on the funds raised. A US-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization isn’t required to pay income taxes, which means 100% of donations are used to fund their mission. Please note this information is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of (1) avoiding tax-related penalties under the US Internal Revenue Code or (2) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any tax-related matters.