FUNDRAISING: How Becoming Star-Lord can raise more money

becoming star lordBut we’re not going to stand by as evil wipes out the galaxy. I guess we’re stuck together, partners.”  — Star-Lord

Not everyone has what it takes to become Star-Lord, the hero of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, but when Liam Kozma signed up for its CASA Superhero Run on September 13, he saw his chance to be the kind of hero we all can be — someone who helps those in need, with passion, commitment and an 80’s Walkman.

The CASA Superhero Run encourages participants to set a goal and raise money by asking friends, family and colleagues to donate via their fundraising page. It also strongly encourages participants to run in a superhero costume.

So when Kozma signed up to run, he received instructions for setting up his peer-to-peer fundraising page (or P2P, for those in the know). But he decided to take his fundraising to the next level: He would not only set a high goal of $2,000, he would also dress up at Star-Lord and document his journey to create the costume from scratch.

The blog, Becoming Star-Lord, tracks his highs and lows and shares information about why the organization’s work matters. Kozma says support from CASA’s Steve Olender, a former peer-to-peer fundraiser himself turned marketing manager, has inspired him to pursue his fundraising goal. So far, with about one month until race time, Kozma is already 60% of the way to his goal. You can donate to support Kozma lord progress-4

Is P2P 4 U?

While P2P can be a wonderful way to spread your mission and engage new donors, there are several considerations. Ann Starr, managing director of Forklift Danceworks and member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, encourages volunteers to get creative with their peer-to-peer fundraising projects, like Kozma has.

“While it sounds specific, it can really mean a lot of things, and doesn’t have to involve technology,” she says, encouraging donors to look at the big picture. Forklift partially funded its latest project The Trees of Govalle through a successful Kickstarter campaign so she knows the power of a well-executed effort.

Simply put, P2P is volunteers reaching out to their networks to raise money and awareness of a project, cause, or organization. Some argue that this “trend” goes all the way back to 1884, when Joseph Pulitzer asked his network to help launch his newspaper and over 125,000 people helped him raise $100,000 in 6 months. But with platforms like Kickstarter and tools like those from Kimbia, technology can help more everyday donors enlist their friends, even if it’s on a smaller scale.

5 Things To Consider

Before launching your P2P campaign, our experts suggest the following:

1. Launch big. What do you need to really kick the campaign off with a bang? A party? A compelling, sharable video? A legion of people ready to engage their networks? A clear creative project and timeline? Yes. All of the above.

2. Be ready for surprises. People are more generous and supportive than you imagine.

3. It’s going to be harder than you think – at first. Liam worried that people would think he was taking advantage of their friendship and about exposing his personality online. He wasn’t sure he’d be able to fill regular blog posts. But, he notes, it gets easier once you do it and the feedback and donations are amazing.

4. Use your resources. Technology can make a seamless experience for the fundraiser and for the donor. Staff and peers can provide inspiration and support throughout the entire process.

5. Keep communicating. Miriam Kagan of Kimbia, a provider of an online platform, reminds fundraisers to share progress, and even more importantly, close the loop at the end. Show donors why their gift matters.

Kozma probably gives the best advice:It seems daunting on the front end but once you make the first step, if you have passion for the organization and the cause, it creates momentum that carries your through…and it’s very rewarding.

Follow Kozma’s journey — and make a donation! — here.

Support for our coverage of Fundraising stories comes from Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Austin Chapter.

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