How to run a crowdfunding campaign

At the end of 2017, Full Story Media got involved in the crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for six-year-old Kyra Warrell to undergo life changing surgery. The campaign raised over £50,000 in less than two months. Here are some of the lessons learned.

Rima and Neil Warrell needed to raise £58,000 in 58 days for their daughter to have life changing surgery. Kyra had been born with a rare condition which the NHS couldn’t treat.

But Rima had refused to give up. She scoured the internet and found a surgeon in the US, who could help. However, in order to make the surgery affordable, the operation had to be performed in Israel in February 2018.

The family raided all piggy banks and launched a campaign on Chuffed.org. When we met them they had just over £8,000. The clock was ticking…

Choose a dedicated campaigner
Someone has to take the lead in a crowdfunding campaign, and this was Rima Warrell. She was articulate and knowledgeable; able to confidently talk to the press, potential donors and backers. But, most importantly, she was available and responsive. Campaigning is a test of resolve and dedication – there are no breaks, you simply have to keep going.

Kyra Warrell and campaigning Mum Rima

Get your ducks in a row
Crowdfunding is a sales and marketing exercise. Slick campaigns are months in the making. Slogans are written, plans are drawn and investors are courted long before the campaign is published online. None of that was true for @StepWithKyra. However, the Warrells rallied friends, family, the local community, media and their MP to the cause and played a serious game of catch-up.

Create a compelling narrative
This was where Full Story came in. We created a press release: Brighton Mum vows to fight to save her daughter’s leg. This was sent across the media and gained traction in the local and national media and, most crucially, the Israeli press.
A good press release is a story – a human story. We told of the family’s struggle and the hopes of a little girl. There were a lot of quotes from Rima, explaining their plight. Also, it was filled with key facts – every fact is a potential angle for a journalist to take.

Great imagery
You can’t run a media campaign without pictures. Thankfully, we had a very cute, six-year-old girl, and a photogenic Mum. “Get a photoshoot”, we advised. A photographer friend with a good camera was found and soon the faces of Kyra and Mum Rima were all over the place. Kyra was spread across the front page of the Brighton Argus.

The viral effect
A good story travels. The local media took the story first, but then it took off in the Jewish and Israeli media. Kyra Warrell was featured in the Jerusalem Post. Soon, donations came flooding in from the global Jewish community.

Keep the story going
Once a story is out there, it takes on a life of its own. Those following it and those involved will require constant updates on developments. Social media is very useful in this respect. Ensure your chosen channels are filled with key information and kept up to date. You’ll gain supporters from unexpected quarters. When someone supports you, make sure they feel the love.

Kyra’s campaign raised over £50,000 and she was able to have her surgery. She will require more operations in the future. You can support Kyra now

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