Wow! Just wow. I am absolutely blown away by the community support for this fundraiser. I cannot express how incredibly gracious and generous you all are, and I couldn’t begin to thank you all enough. OVER 800 DOLLARS was raised in a single weekend. And that’s not even counting the money came in via other community fundraisers (PJ, I’m looking at you). I’m also aware of a few direct donations that went straight to Floppy, as well. All told, by my estimates we raised around $1,000 dollars to help Floppy navigate this rough time. Never let it be said that small mutual aid efforts don’t work. Direct action WORKS.
But enough bragging about you guys, let’s talk about the fundraiser itself. This is a post-mortem after all, and there are definitely lessons to be learned here. If you’re going to be doing any fundraising of your own, I hope this information can help your drive to be more successful.
Lesson 1: Don’t underestimate your community or platform.
I consistently failed to recognize the generosity of people. Don’t make this same mistake. When setting donation goals and incentives, don’t short-sell yourself or your community. I charged $5 per 30 minute block of time and sold out in a single day. I probably could have charged $10 per block and still sold them all. Ditto for my livestream incentives. My first incentive I set at $50 and it was blown away by a SINGLE donation. Obviously, don’t set your goals at the moon, but push the boundaries of what you think is realistic. Your community will step up to the challenge. You’ll be consistently surprised.
Lesson 2: Have weird incentives.
The incentives that were met the quickest were strange ones. 15,000 channel points were collected within 15 minutes to make me “Hydrate with Cheese.” and while this isn’t a monetary gain, it built a HUGE amount of audience investment and participation, which are things you need to drive donations. Also, letting chat pick my lunch on Sunday was met incredibly quickly… 90 dollars collected in just over an hour. Go weird, and let the donators have some creative freedom. It’s enticing and fun — for both you and the audience.
Lesson 3: Be passionate, be well-rested.
Put your heart and soul into it, but don’t kill yourself. The community will notice and respond accordingly. My worst donation collection times were those where I wasn’t completely into it or exhausted, and my best donation collection times were where I was fresh and active. I failed to schedule break times and had to cut into games to eat and take care of personal needs. Don’t make that mistake, let yourself have rest. If you want to keep the schedules full, find a partner to stream with you and pick up your downtime. I wish I had been kind enough to myself to do that. Thankfully, my spouse was kind enough to help me survive Desert Bus.
Lesson 4: Raise funds before you need them.
This might be the most important lesson. The urgency of the drive helped push donations for sure, but getting the funds cleared and delivered to Floppy quickly proved to be a challenge — a challenge I’m still fighting through. Thankfully I’m fortunate and privileged enough to be in a stable financial situation and could front the funds raised and get them to Floppy immediately, but now I’m in PayPal Limbo (TM) waiting on funds to clear and PayPal to verify my account fully so I can get that account reimbursed. What would have been infinitely better is if I had been fundraising when there was no emergency. Pulling in a constant, small trickle and building up a fund so I could have money already cleared and waiting. If you want to do charity fundraising, start now before you have a goal. Then, when that goal comes up you can use the funds raised during the downtime to help cover the payout immediately at the end of the fundraiser.
I’m exhausted, but thrilled. Beyond the moon, really. I couldn’t be more proud of you as a community and I’m beyond thankful for you all. We unfortunately must find ways to not just survive, but thrive in a country and economic system that is actively antagonistic to us. Direct action like this is one of our most valuable tools. “We Help Us” is not just a phrase thrown around in leftist circles. It’s a deep and honest truth. People cannot survive as islands. Sometimes you find you cannot stand on your own. In these times, your community will give you something to lean on and rest. And when you’re back standing, don’t forget to return the favor.