Civil’s new fundraising tool, called Boosts, can help your newsroom raise money for journalism projects. Boosts are embeddable widgets that you can place directly into your newsroom’s article pages to capture your readers’ interest at their moments of deepest engagement.
Think of Boosts as mini-crowdfunding projects to fund things like sending a reporter to an important event, purchasing a critical piece of equipment, or hosting a community roundtable. There are two kinds of boosts: “Project Boosts” are designed to fund one-off projects, and “Story Boosts” enable microtipping on articles. In either case, readers can give money to your newsroom using a credit card or ETH.
This article is meant to help your newsroom create the best Project Boost and market it as effectively as possible.
Before we begin, remember that showing the value of your project every step of the way is key. Let’s break it down:
Before the campaign: Setting your Boost up for success.
Set realistic funding and time goals for Boosts.
Momentum for crowdfunding campaigns tends to fade after 2-3 weeks. A good rule of thumb is to set realistic fundraising goals based on your website traffic and conversion rate.
Boosts are meant to be supplemental to other campaigns you might run with, say, Kickstarter or Patreon. They’re not intended for raising large amounts of money.
Make a list of every possible expense.
As you put your Boost together, make sure you itemize the costs that will go into making your project successful. That will help you set realistic goals and provides transparency to your readers. Be clear, specific and direct in your ask from readers and supporters.
Tell your readers that something is coming.
Get your readers excited about your project before you launch the fundraiser. Consider letting your readers know that something is coming 1-2 weeks ahead of launching a Boost, and let them know that they’ll be able to contribute in just a few clicks using a credit card.
For non-English language newsrooms, consider writing your Boost in both your newsroom’s language as well as English to reach the widest audience.
Boosts are only listed in English at this time, but we recommend translating your Boost into both your own language and English to reach the widest audience possible. As an example, check out how Arepita laid out their Boost in Spanish and English.
During the campaign: Keeping the momentum going, and hitting your fundraising goal.
Embed the Boost in your article page.
After you’ve launched a Boost, you’ll be able to embed the project into any article on your newsroom’s website. To embed the Boost in an article, simply click the “</>” icon on your live Boost page and copy and paste the HTML code into the place in the article that you’d like the Boost to display. Embedding the Boost in your article, rather than simply linking to it, will ensure your readers are seeing it at their moments of highest engagement.
Share the Boost in your newsletter.
Be sure to share the project with your readers as often as possible. Sharing the Boost in your newsletter, and sending the campaign directly to your most engaged subscribers, will ensure that your readers are seeing the Boost early and often.
Consider setting up segmented campaigns for your newsletter, so that you are speaking directly to your followers based on their engagement. Remember to also use social media to engage your readers, and encourage them to share news of their contributions to encourage others to give
Create a short video.
Videos can be a great way to help your readers understand your campaign and make a human connection. You don’t need to put a lot of work into the video, but this can be your opportunity to provide your audience more context about your project, show your audience footage from the event you’re trying to cover or talk to them more about your newsroom. El Soberano created a video that tells a little background behind their Project Boost.
Use social media to spread the word.
We recommend posting your Boost on social media at least once per day while your Boost is live. Use social media for more than just posting about your Boost; also post about project updates or relevant news so as to not inundate your followers so that they lose interest. Create an automated Twitter or Facebook post so readers can tell their followers that they made contributions and encourage others to do the same
Some helpful hashtags include, #crowdfunding, #Boost, #ETH. Plus, tag @civil on Twitter and we’ll retweet your Boost!
Let us know how to help!
We can help you promote the Boost through social media, in Civil’s newsletter and with the Civil community on Slack.
After the campaign: Sustain reader engagement and deliver your project!
Send a thank-you note to those who donated.
Keep in contact with your audience after your campaign is done. Thank them for their support, keep them updated on the status of your project, and when to expect results. Continuing to communicate with your audience will make your relationship with them stronger in the long run.
Deliver what you promised!
After donating to your Boost, your supporters will be eager to see the project they helped to make a reality. Remember that Civil newsrooms are held accountable by the Civil community and Constitution to deliver the project they set forth to deliver — so communicate often with your supporters about when to expect your final product!
If you are a Civil newsroom and have any ideas of things that you’ve tried to get the word out for a Boost, let us know so we can add it to this list!