How to Create a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign for Adaptive Equipment

Posted by GRIT Freedom Chair on Feb 20th 2023

At GRIT, we're committed to bringing the Freedom Chair to as many people as possible, regardless of income. If paying upfront, enrolling in a payment plan, or applying for a grant or loan program aren’t options, crowdfunding is often a wonderful option!

Riders from around the globe have used crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe to raise funds for their Freedom Chairs. Some GoFundMe campaigns raise 100% of the funds; others raise enough to make the price more manageable. Below, we’ll talk about some techniques for making your crowdfunding campaign as successful as possible!

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project, venture, or purchase by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people.

If crowdfunding for a GRIT Freedom Chair, we recommend using GoFundMe over other platforms. There are many crowdfunding sites out there, but GoFundMe is geared for individuals or small organizations raising money for a specific cause.

Through the accumulation of many small donations, people like Normand use GoFundMe to turn their goals into realities. Donations can be as small as $5.

What kind of person succeeds with GoFundMe?

Answer: Almost everyone. Here’s why.

GoFundMe creates a sense of community.

You don’t have to be a social-media superstar or have hundreds of screaming fans to succeed with GoFundMe. By telling the world, “I’m trying to purchase this piece of adaptive equipment,” you’re giving everyone the chance to become a part of the community that will help you get there. Once the GoFundMe is complete—when you’ve assembled your Freedom Chair and have shared a video of your first ride—every donor will know they’re part of a team of friends, family, and total strangers who all banded together to help someone in need.

GoFundMe gives people a way to help.

How often do people tell you, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help”? That’s kind of them, but it is so vague, it can be hard to act upon. Creating a GoFundMe provides a perfect answer—and one they can feel good about. You aren’t just asking for support, and you aren’t just asking for money, either—you’re asking for a ticket to outdoor adventure. You’re asking for an all-terrain, mud-and-dirt-ready, off-road opportunity to spend time with your friends, your family, and yourself. No matter who you are, there are so many people who want to support that goal, and a GoFundMe campaign is a fantastic, straightforward way to do just that.

Many successful GoFundMe campaigns have been bolstered by the support of preexisting groups. Whether you’re a member of a religious group (like a church, synagogue, or temple); a social collective (like a board-game group, a Sunday-brunch crew, or volunteer group); an educational group (like a class or reading group); an athletic organization; or something else altogether, these can be great communities to contact.

Additionally, almost every successful GoFundMe gets support from total strangers. That’s right—there’s a good chance you’ll get a donation from someone you’ve never met before. For example: You share your GoFundMe with your neighbor, who shares it with her Tuesday-night cribbage group, the members of which share it with their neighbors, and the ripple-effect continues. Anyone can find your GoFundMe online, too, so even if they have no connection to you, there’s potential that someone will stumble across your page and add a few dollars to the cause.

How to create a successful campaign

Before your GoFundMe can make it to the conversation of that local cribbage gathering, you have to build the page! The blank slate of an empty webpage can be intimidating, but don’t worry—we know a thing or two about successful campaigns. We’ve not only helped people all around the world use GoFundMe to fund Freedom Chairs; GRIT’s founders used crowdfunding to get our company off of the ground. Here are a few tips:

Create a great campaign title

This is often the first place someone’s eyes will land once they’re on your page. This is their first impression of you, your goal, and your campaign, so while “Give me money!” may be what you want them to do, there’s probably a better way to get that message across.

GoFundMe recommends your title should achieve four goals:

  • Be interesting to the general public
  • Clearly communicate the recipient of the funds and why the campaign exists in the first place
  • Show emotion
  • Be easily searchable

Here ‘s some more information about writing a terrific campaign title, straight from GoFundMe.

The title of this campaign tells us who is benefitting; it also sets a clear, emotional goal. Throughout the campaign, Keith used photos and videos to keep his donors engaged with his mission and progress. It’s no surprise his campaign was such a huge success!

Set a financial goal for your campaign

You don’t want your financial goal to be too low or too high. Set it too low and you won’t make enough money to order the chair; set it too high and potential donors will doubt the plan and be less likely to donate.

If you’ve made it to this point, you probably have some idea of what a Freedom Chair costs. However, with a variety of models and accessories offered, you may not have the exact amount at the tip of your tongue. What about shipping? Taxes? The best option is to contact us to get a quote. We’ll help you spec out your chair and accessories so you aren’t over- or under-asking. It is in our best interest for you to get the exact chair you need—no more, no less—so let us help you set that figure! You can reach the GRIT team here.

Here’s some more information about setting a goal, straight from GoFundMe.

Add photos and videos

Following the campaign title, the next thing people will look at is the photo/video gallery at the top of the campaign page. This gallery is made up of a main image (also known as the “cover photo”) and a series of supplemental images. The main image is the most important.

If you have a photo of you trying the Freedom Chair out, use that! If you don’t, that is 100% okay—just use another photo of yourself, outside. The key here is that the photo is of yourself and outside. Don’t worry, this isn’t a modeling competition—people just want to know who’s getting their money and how they plan on using it. A photo that checks off both of these boxes will significantly improve your chances of success.

Once you have a main photo on your GoFundMe, you can select the “story” option to add supplemental photos. If possible, add 2-3 supplemental photos/videos—again, of yourself, outside. If you don’t have any photos of this, go take some!

Here’s some more information about photos and videos, straight from GoFundMe.

Your GoFundMe story

This story—from a successful GoFundMe campaign—does a great job giving background on the recipient, clarifying the person’s goals with the Freedom Chair, and creating an emotional and heartfelt story for any reader.

This section—where you describe yourself, your goals with the GoFundMe, and your goals with the Freedom Chair—is arguably the most important part of your campaign. When someone lands on your page, they may be thinking, Why should I donate to this person? Your story is your chance to say “This right here. This is why.” Here are some tips on how to effectively do that:

  • Describe yourself. What do you like to do outside? What are your hobbies in general? Do you have any close friends or family?
  • Describe the Freedom Chair. See “Let GRIT help!” below for some information and photos of the chair—you can copy and paste it right into your GoFundMe story.
  • Describe your goals with the Freedom Chair. Where will you take your first ride with the chair? Where will you take the chair after that? Will the Freedom Chair help strengthen relationships with friends or family? Will it help you enjoy time by yourself? How so?
  • Describe a time you could have used the Freedom Chair. Did you recently find yourself stuck in the mud, or unable to get through the snow, or fatigued after a roll through the grass? What were you using then and how would a Freedom Chair have helped you?
  • Create emotion. Most of your pitch should try to tap into your reader’s emotion. Make them excited to help get you outside! Make them sad to hear you haven’t been able to get out there. Help them realize how hard certain things can be for you. Make them feel something.
  • Show appreciation. You’re not asking for a million dollars, no, but you are asking people to contribute some amount of money. Give thanks to those who donate—let them know how grateful you are. See “Show appreciation to your donors” below, for more.
  • Be honest. Above all, be true to your situation. You’re reaching out for help because you need the help—and that is okay—and being 100% sincere is the best way to do this.

Here’s some more information about writing your story, straight from GoFundMe.

Most importantly, this story shows that the makers of the campaign aren’t just asking for money; they’re asking for something much bigger than that.

Share your GoFundMe!

Woohoo! You’ve added a title; set a fundraising goal; added a main photo; included some supplemental photos; and wrote a thoughtful, descriptive, and honest story. Now you’re ready to share!

The more eyes you can get on your page, the better, so don’t be shy! Technology today provides more ways to share your campaign than ever before—here are a few places to start:

Share with friends and family on social media

Sharing your campaign on Facebook increases donations by 350%. Yes, you read that number correctly—sharing really is that important. Post it to your Facebook timeline with a short description. Make a Facebook event for the campaign. Share the campaign with any relevant Facebook groups of which you’re a member.

Go beyond Facebook! Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms are all worthwhile. Even if one new person sees and shares your campaign, your efforts will have been worthwhile.

You may be surprised at how many people will pitch in. The above photo is from a successful Freedom Chair GoFundMe that received 100 unique donations, 415 shares, and 101 followers. Wow!

Remember: In all of your posts, be honest, show gratitude, and do everything you can to communicate how absolutely stoked you are to get your new Freedom Chair! Don’t forget to include the link to your GoFundMe wherever you share it. If you don’t have any of the above social media accounts, ask friends or family members to share your link on your behalf!

Share through email, text messages, and other social networks

Many people prefer to communicate through emails and texts. Put together an email list and send out the link to your GoFundMe, asking for help from anyone able to give at least $5. Text anyone you think may be willing or able to help.

Share your campaign in real life!

In a tech-centered world, there’s a lot to be said about a face-to-face conversation. Whether you bring up your GoFundMe at a local gathering, mention it in everyday conversation, or ask others to do the same, you’re improving your chances for success. Be genuine about your need and your goals with the Freedom Chair.

If it feels uncomfortable to ask people for money, acknowledge that! People will understand. Worst case scenario? An individual doesn’t donate. No problem—there are billions of other people in the world who want to hear your story.

Make it easy for folks to donate to the GoFundMe by providing the link to your campaign page.

Here’s some more information about sharing your campaign, straight from GoFundMe

Before the fundraiser was finished, Marilyn provided frequent updates to her donors. These short updates help attract people to a GoFundMe page and show those who have already donated that progress is being made! Updates are also a way to tell people you need more help.

Show appreciation to your donors

An important part of a successful GoFundMe campaign is showing gratitude to your donors. Even a donation for $5 represents a vote that says “I endorse what you’re doing and want to do my part to make it happen.” The person who donates $5 is still making a small sacrifice for you. What about a person who donates $20? $50? $250?

You should feel proud and empowered by these donations, and the best way to show that is to update your donors! Post updates to you GoFundMe whenever possible—when the donations are slowing down (to say “wait, we’re still here!”), when the donations are pouring in (to say “thank you!”), when you’re almost at your goal (to say “keep going—we’re close!”), when you’ve reached your goal (again, to say “thank you!”), and when you’ve got your hands on your brand-new Freedom Chair (to say “look, it’s here!”). Anyone who donates is going to be thrilled to hear how things are going, and your excitement will be contagious.

Here’s some more information about posting updates, straight from GoFundMe.

Keith did a great job updating his donors. Here is a photo Keith posted of his kids on the Freedom Chair box, just moments after it was delivered. Keith also used the caption space to talk about the unboxing process, his first moments in the chair, and to thank his donors.

Let GRIT help!

We’ve done this a time or two and have watched people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and personalities raise money through GoFundMe. Below, see some information about the GRIT Freedom Chair and a gallery of images. Feel free to copy and paste the text and the photos right onto your GoFundMe page so people know what it is you’re fundraising for!

What is the GRIT Freedom Chair?

The GRIT Freedom Chair is an all-terrain wheelchair designed to help riders move beyond the pavement. Developed by MIT mechanical engineers, this easy-to-push, lever-driven wheelchair comes armed with rugged mountain bike wheels and a big, sturdy front wheel.

It is designed to be resilient, serviceable, easy to transport, and even easier to use. Many riders call it the “mountain bike of wheelchairs.”

One of the key features of the Freedom Chair is its patented lever-drive system, which makes propulsion about twice as physically efficient than pushing a chair with hand rims. By utilizing this leverage, riders can go faster and farther over more difficult terrain than ever before.

All of the moving parts on the Freedom Chair are easy-to-source, easy-to-customize, and easy-to-replace bike parts. Every chair is assembled right outside of Boston, MA. The GRIT Freedom Chair disassembles and can fit into the trunk or backseat of almost any vehicle.

See the GRIT Freedom Chair in action

Have more questions? Need more information about starting your GoFundMe?

We are here to give you any tools or advice you need to make your GoFundMe a smashing success. Take the first step toward all-terrain adventure. Build your GoFundMe today.