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Stories from Our Successful Campaigns: “We Will Overcome”

Through the years, we have had a lot of successful campaigns on Jewcer. We wanted to share their stories and what they learned while crowdfunding with us. Our next interview comes from Charlie Kramer, a Jewish musician who funded his debut EP to spark change. He was able to raise $11,000 and, by the way, his EP just dropped! Check it out.

1. Tell us about “We Will Overcome”? What inspired it?

We Will Overcome is a 5-song EP of Jewish folk rock. The record celebrates the struggles we face individually, within our communities and throughout our world, and how we can utilize these struggles as a source of personal and communal betterment. Half of the songs were written while I was abroad, working with the good people of Temple Beth Israel in Melbourne, Australia. The other half was written back in my home town of Los Angeles. In both spaces, I was deeply struggling with the political climate of the world. These songs were my personal source of healing and it is my prayer that they can be a source of healing for the listener as well.

2. What piece of advice from the Jewcer team stuck with you the most that you can remember?

“Never be afraid to ask.” It’s challenging to be so continuously vulnerable during the campaign process, but it is so important to push through the feeling of discomfort. You never know who will know the answer unless you ask!

3. How did you promote your campaign? What was the most challenging aspect?

I promoted my campaign largely through social media outlets such as Facebook and Instagram. Yet, I quickly learned that the best way to achieve my goal was to reach out to people on a more personal level. I then set aside time each day to send people personal (and original) messages either through text, Facebook messenger or through email to ask for their support. This extra effort to personalize the interactions I had with my supporters made a significant difference. I can’t recommend doing this enough.

4. Is there any advice you’d give for those considering crowdfunding?

Don’t be afraid to keep posting and messaging (and posting and messaging…)! There will definitely be a point where you may feel like you are bothering your friends and family. But, it is important to remember that we all live very different lives and not everyone will see your posts and messages. The people who want to support you will appreciate the reminder!

5. After successfully getting funded, how have you been using the funds towards your project?

I used the funds to pay for studio time, my producer, musicians to play on the record, mixing, mastering, album artwork, printing CD’s, submitting the EP to online distributors and creating the music video for the record’s single, ‘Closer’.

6. What are your three favorite online or mobile tools that help you run your crowdfunding campaign?

1). Mailchimp/Constant Contact. The ability to make your emails interactive with easy-to-follow links and photos help to tell a deeper part of your story to potential supporters.

2). Facebook is a star. Not because of the posting it allows you to do, but because of the personal interactions it allows you to have with all of your friends. I found the resource of Facebook Messenger to be my biggest tool in achieving my goal.

3). My phone. Nothing is more beneficial than calling or texting people personally.

7. If you had to choose a one-liner piece of advice for aspiring Jewish entrepreneurs, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to change the world, it deserves your help.

8. Add a question of your own that we did not ask and give the answer to it…

How often did you interact with your supporters after the campaign’s completion, but before the project’s release?

After the campaign’s completion, I sent at least one Mailchimp/Constant Contact email a month to everyone who contributed to my campaign. In the emails, I would update everyone on the recording process, send pictures and even videos. I felt it was important to keep everyone who supported me involved in the entire process.

 

 

 

If you’d like to follow Charlie, you can check him out on Youtube, Facebook, and SoundCloud.

 

 

Shani
Shani is a photographer and content creator from Los Angeles. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a Communication degree, which she puts to good use by connecting with all the incredible Jewish organizations and the people who support them. With a deep pride in her Jewish roots and an Israeli background, Shani hopes to share the power and potential of Jewish innovation and connection with the world.

Stories from Our Successful Campaigns: “Soon by You”

Through the years, we have had a lot of successful campaigns on Jewcer. We wanted to share their stories and what they learned while crowdfunding with us. Our first interview comes from the creators of a web series called “Soon by You” and their campaign that raised over $15,000!

1. What is your series about? What inspired it?

Soon By You is a comedic web series about young Orthodox Jews dating in NYC. It was inspired by the Israeli TV show Srugim and originally started out as a short film by Leah Gottfried. After winning Best Short Film at the Washington Jewish Film Festival in 2016, Leah decided to expand it into a web series and brought producers Danny Hoffman and Jessica Schechter on board. There are now 4 episodes up on YouTube, with a 5th coming soon.

Leah on set by Fiona G Photography

2. What piece of advice from the Jewcer team stuck with you the most that you can remember?

Two jump out: 1) Appeal to the “why” of the project, not the “what.” People are more willing to give to a cause than a film. 2) Make those who donate feel as though they’ve become a part of the team. They’re more likely to share the campaign or make a second contribution if they feel ownership for the project.

3. How did you promote your campaign? What was the most challenging aspect?

We created a video explaining the campaign and promoted the heck out of it on our social media outlets. We also created a list of all our friends and family and called them up asking them to donate. The hardest part was asking people directly – it often felt uncomfortable, like begging. But, ultimately, people were extremely generous and supportive.

4. Is there any advice you’d give for those considering crowdfunding?

Definitely focus on asking people individually as opposed to only posting publicly.

Sarah, Leah, and Danny by Leora Veit

5. After successfully getting funded, how have you been using the funds towards your project?

We used the funds to produce episode 4! We had a big premiere party and the episode is now out on YouTube.

6. What are your three favorite online or mobile tools that help you run your crowdfunding campaign?

Social media was really helpful. Facebook and Twitter helped get the word out. We also had an existing email list for fans, so Mailchimp helped us reach them directly.

7. If you had to choose a one-liner piece of advice for aspiring Jewish entrepreneurs, what would it be?

Don’t lose sight of the passion that inspired you.

Cast 6 by Abbie Sophia

8. Add a question of your own that we did not ask and give the answer to it…

How are you raising funds moving forward?

For episode 5 and beyond, we are funding the series through product placements and advertisers. Many companies have reached out to us to put their products in the show since we have a large and growing audience. We also still have a donation page set up on our website, so people who want to see more can still contribute directly.

 

 

 

If you’d like to connect with Soon by You, you can check them out on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

 

 

Shani
Shani is a photographer and content creator from Los Angeles. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a Communication degree, which she puts to good use by connecting with all the incredible Jewish organizations and the people who support them. With a deep pride in her Jewish roots and an Israeli background, Shani hopes to share the power and potential of Jewish innovation and connection with the world.
Nonprofit Crowdfunding Storytelling Tips

Nonprofit Crowdfunding: 7 Storytelling Tips for Successful Campaigns

Crowdfunding is a method of raising funds from many people in order to fund a project or other venture. Although it is widely used in for-profit entrepreneurial projects, it also has great applications for nonprofits as well. When campaigns are run correctly, non-profits can realize great returns, including increasing funding and growing their supporter community.

This concept predates the Internet, beginning many years ago in a variety of capacities, such as authors advertising book projects and the sale of war bonds. The modern online version first gained popularity online in arts and music communities. ArtistShare was launched in 2003, followed by IndieGoGo in 2008, Kickstarter in 2009, Microventures in 2010 and MobileCause in 2014.

The industry as a whole raised $16.2 billion in 2014, $34.4 billion in 2015 and may have topped $60 billion in 2016. It’s an industry that has continually grown in leaps each year.

While there are great successes, roughly two-thirds of projects fail to raise their intended funds. Success often pivots on careful planning, and that begins (and ends) with storytelling.

Why Non-profits Must Tell Great Stories

As with every aspect of communications, non-profit crowdfunding has to incorporate effective storytelling.

  • Stories help people connect with and remember things
  • Stories have the power to help make decisions
  • Stories help to inspire a sense of generosity

People are likely to support those with whom they most identify. Showing abstract numbers, no matter how impressive or relevant, doesn’t inspire people as much as the plight of an individual. Telling your story (or that of your cause’s target beneficiaries) from a sympathetic perspective, can sway people to support it and take action. When people are presented with the story of an affected individual or group, they are likely to give twice as much as they otherwise would have.

Seven Non-profit Crowdfunding Storytelling Tips

1. Answer the five Ws and H

As with any good story, you need to include who, what, when, where, why and how. Who are you trying to help with this campaign?

  • What do you hope to accomplish and use funds for?
  • When do you need to do this by?
  • Where are people affected?
  • Why is this cause important to you (and to your supporters)?
  • How do you plan to make it happen?

2. Make it personal

As noted above, it’s important to tell the stories of individuals. Use examples of people that you are already helping or who are you currently trying to help. Details and specifics will have more of an impact on donors that you’re hoping to attract.

3. Make it specific

Focus on a specific goal to achieve a specific result. Write about what you’re planning to do with the money and what you’re hoping to achieve. By having a specific goal in mind, more people will be inspired to donate.

4. Make it visual

Pictures and videos will make people want to spend more time reading about your campaign, while greatly enhancing the personal connection to your cause. Make sure to use quality, relevant images and videos. According to IndieGoGo,

“Campaigns with a pitch video raise 4 times more funds than campaigns without one, so it’s clear that the crowdfunding community enjoys videos.”

For more on the power of visuals and suggested uses, see our article, Visuals: A Nonprofit Storytelling Superpower.

5. Make your donors the heroes of the story

Express how important donors are to your cause and your success. You literally can’t do this without them. That makes them the true heroes of the story that you’re writing. So make them feel important and part of a winning team.

Show that you appreciate them and the time they are taking in learning more about your cause. There may be a place built right into the platform that you’re using. Make sure to thank donors individually because this will really show how much you care.

6. Show why your organization is the right one for the job

Demonstrate why your organization is the right one to take on this cause, and why – with supporters’ help – you are the best-poised to succeed. This is a great opportunity to highlight your experience, expertise, access and proven track record.

7. Provide a compelling call to action

In order to turn a potential supporter into a hero, they must take action. While most crowdfunding platforms have a request for donations built in, your campaign will work better if the hero’s call to action is built right into the story and gives the reader a clear instruction (e.g. “Help us give students like Matthew a fighting chance, with a tax-deductible donation.”).

Action Steps: Start Your Story

Determine if Crowdfunding is Right for this Cause or Project

Crowdfunding isn’t right for every occasion when a nonprofit wants to raise money. Our infographic can help you decide if this is the right project and the right time to run a campaign for your cause.

Pick the project to get started with

Your nonprofit may have multiple projects that could use funding. Choose the one you feel is the most important to start with and has the greatest chance of success. Focus on raising money for that cause before moving onto others.

Start crafting your story

Use the tips above and begin to write your story. Focus on the individuals that you’ve helped and the reason behind why this cause is so important. Once you convey those reasons, it will show readers the importance behind it as well and inspire them to help.


This article originally appeared on dotOrgStrategy.com, where Boris shares frequent digital strategy advice for nonprofits.

Boris of dotOrgStrategy.com
Boris is the founder of dotOrgStrategy, a platform for teaching nonprofits how to effectively use technology to achieve and expand their missions, without over-stretching their resources; and Speed of Like, a boutique digital agency focusing on small businesses, startups, and nonprofits. A storyteller and entrepreneur, Boris is excited to combine his passions for technology, storytelling, and making a positive difference in the world by helping organizations increase impact locally and globally, through digital tools including websites, social media, email, advertising and crowdfunding.