A Crowdfunding Case Study and Review of FundRazr.com
I’ve been crowdfunding since before it was really a thing, setting up my first online fundraising project in 2003 and launching a campaign to try and raise $4,500 for my sponsored child, Aura Hernandez (then age 9) of Guatemala so that she could have a safe and sturdy brick home for her and her family.
Not having any online platforms or easy-to-use crowdfunding tools at my disposal like we do now in 2018, I created my own experimental grassroots website and named it Aura’s House.
The project was tedious and slow going for the first few months, but eventually I managed to raise that first $100, finally had a breakthrough, and ended up raising $1,000 over the original goal, enough to buy the house as well as a new stove and kitchen area for Aura’s family, furniture for their home, and desks for the village elementary school.
Since my goal was met in November of 2004, I, along with some awesome supporters turned collaborators, decided to launch other small projects for families in developing countries. To date, we have raised over $125,000 (in our so-called spare time) for health, education, housing, and income generation projects with the Aura’s House website as well as with newer platforms such as Indiegogo, Youcaring.com, and most recently FundRazr. See photos of some of my favorite completed Aura’s House projects.
So What is FundRazr and What Are the Pros and Cons?
Over the past few years my university students and I along with supporters from Aura’s House took up the cause of helping Yasini Biggo of Tanzania to get funding for four years of higher education at Dar Es Salaam University. He graduated but now needs one year of Law School so he can finally be a practicing lawyer.
Several days ago I set up a project to help him overcome the barrier of not having enough money for tuition and launched his latest and final project, Please Help Yasini Finish Law School -Tanzania
Because there are so many great crowdfunding platforms and tools available now, I decided to archive Aura’s House in 2015. However we still use the site to list projects, run its Facebook page, and have a community of past donors that we still connect with via sporadic newsletters.
And since my favorite go-to platform Youcaring.com was recently bought up by Gofundme, I was looking for a free and easy low-fee platform I could use that would also make it easy to add in offline donations. A friend recommended FundRazr.com and I decided to test it out.
Watch and learn what is going well and what I wish I’d known before choosing FundRazr. I also talk about my methods for launching a successful campaign and what my first day and first week goals are and how to best meet them. (After helping complete 93 successful projects, my techniques are tried and true!)
Pros and Cons of FundRazr in a Nutshell
- Visual, intuitive, easy to set up your project. Has a nice layout
- Offline donations are easy to add in
- The fees are low and can be managed by the donor if they want to contribute more or less
- Accepts payments via PayPal and via credit card
- Allows you to offer “perks” to donors which can get people more excited about donating
- You get useful coaching tips in your inbox and have an option to speak with a live coach to help with your specific project. Cool beans!
- They have good rules that prevent you from doing anything shady (intentionally or not) like changing your PayPal account or editing anything (like text, photos, etc) after the project is finished.
- I’ve had several people tell me they couldn’t pay with their credit card. Make sure you set up your project with a VERIFIED BUSINESS PayPal account if you have one to avoid this problem.
- You are not allowed to offer a raffle prize as they consider this a form of “online gambling.” It’s a shame as it’s one of the easiest and most successful ways to get people who otherwise would not donate, to participate in a crowdfunding project.
- There are lots of great features but they are not so easy to find at first. Make sure you check all the tabs, links, and settings in your project’s dashboard to ensure you’ve covered all the bases. For example there is an option to accept credit card payments with WePay that can be overlooked if you already set things up with PayPal.
- After you finish a project and make the donation button inactive, you can no longer edit or change your campaign. So, if you want to take out one photo for example, your only option is to delete the project forever. *Contacting support might still solve an issue like this.
- After your project has received contributions, you can’t change PayPal accounts. This is a good rule to have in general, but in my case, after seeing the trouble people were having with credit card payments, I wanted to use my verified business account with PayPal instead, but it was too late to change it. *Contacting support might still solve an issue like this.
All in all, the project was easy to set up and because I took my own advice (in my Crowdfunding Confidential course as well as in my book by the same name) I managed to raise the first $100 by Day 1 and am up to 52% of our $1.1K goal by Day 5. Still trucking along, but making good progress.
This is the part where I ask YOU to have a look and consider liking, sharing, or making a small gift to help Yasini with his schooling.
Update: About an hour after I wrote this blog post, Yasini’s project FULLY FUNDED. Have a looksie!
If you’d like to talk about your own experience with a crowdfunding platform, pros and cons and all the rest, please start a new discussion in the comments. Your review will help all of us make the best choice for our next crowdfunding project!
Best wishes and thanks for reading.