A Teacher’s Case Study in Gofundme Fundraising for Books & Supplies

July 29, 2015 by

gofundme fundraisingMy daughter Tess is a second year kindergarten teacher in the Washington, D.C. public school system. She loves her kids and I know how wonderful they are because I visited her class last January the day before she and I watched a Washington Capitals NHL hockey game.

The thing is, like at a lot of public schools, Tess doesn’t get the funding for all the learning materials she needs for the classroom.

That’s made even worse this year because she desperately wanted to add “leveled” books to her class library. These are amazing books with text that matches the child’s reading skills. In this way, the books are challenging enough that the student makes progress, but not so difficult that kids end up frustrated.

She did spend money last year out of her own pocket for school supplies for her kids (as do teachers throughout the country. They each deserve a thousand blessings!) But the leveled books were out of her reach.

So Tess asked me to tweak the copy she had written for her fundraiser on GoFundMe.com.

Fund Raising Copy Tips that Helped Tess Surpass Her Goal in Just One Day

Here’s what we did to create some winning copy…

The Power of YOU
Tess started out beautifully addressing her copy to the reader by saying, “Think back to your kindergarten days.” I didn’t change a word of this. Too often, fundraisers start off talking about themselves. And in today’s hyper competitive demand for attention, that’s a quick turnoff. If you’re honest with yourself, no one cares about you…at least not yet.

However, we ALL care about ourselves. So starting out with “you” in the first sentence gets Tess an A+.

gofundme fundraising copy

Get Attention with Story
In just a few more sentences, Tess harkens us back to our own kindergarten days and fond memories of painting, gluing, beads, blocks, games, and books. Fun stuff…do you have a picture in your mind of a kindergarten day of yours?

We’re engaged, Tess gets another A+.

Create Desire by Getting Specific
Next I changed it up and added copy specifically describing the benefits of the particular books Tess wanted to buy for her classroom. “Leveled” books are a fascinating concept, especially for kids who may not get to read much at home. These books almost guarantee that a child just learning to read will not get frustrated with it and quit. Just a few sentences to get the reader thinking, “Those are great books! We should get some.”

Here's the paragraph:


State the Problem
Now that we’ve got the reader excited about these wonderful books, it’s time for us to disclose why the kids can’t have them. Now comes copy about Tess, the school, and the kids who attend it.

Here we find out that the school district can’t afford the books and neither can Tess on her teacher’s salary. Note that we add the fact that Tess purchased supplies out of her own pocket last year with, “…my teacher’s salary couldn’t even cover all my classroom expenses last year.” Tess has “skin in the game” making her a credible advocate for your donation.

Plus, you find out that you are helping good kids who can’t afford books at home either. “My kids are bright, energetic, and wonderful children who do the very best they can under trying financial circumstances at home.”

Here is that section:


Now It’s Time for Action
OK, we’re engaged, we love the big idea, and we see the problem. It’s time now for action.

Key here is that we ask by saying, “Will you be a bookworm hero and help them out?” Do you know why we didn’t say, “Can you be a bookworm hero and help them out?” One of the great motivators in sales is guilt. If we ask “can you,” we must be prepared for the negative. “I’d like to but I can’t afford it.” But if we ask, “will you,” then we appeal to our readers sense of guilt. The only out here is refusal with no implied excuse.

See how it works here:

non-profit fundraising tips

Ask for the Donation
Repeat over and over why your help is so valuable. The kids, their advancement, the faces lighting up, relieving their tough situation. And closing, of course, with a thank you.

I was most impressed by the way Tess started her appeal. She intuitively knew that to engage her audience she had to bring them in right off the bat. And then we kept that audience in mind throughout the whole piece.

You can see her page yourself here. Will you donate, too?

Until next time,

Nick Burns is an SEO web writer specializing in persuasive copywriting and content marketing. He provides clients a winning content strategy plus the special web writing to make it work. You can contact Nick here.