Have you ever dreamed of making a big difference for a cause close to your heart? For Bea Edwards and a group of 10 friends, they turned that dream into reality and have made a huge difference in the process.
As big fans of CBC’s hit show Schitt’s Creek, the group of friends wanted to do some good in honour of the show’s last season and the birthday of Schitt’s Creek’s co-creator and star, Dan Levy.
Together they launched a fundraiser on CanadaHelps.org and hoped to raise $500 in support of Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line (LGBT Youth Line), a small charity based in Toronto, Ontario that supports Queer, Trans, Two-Spirit young people. The group of friends chose LGBT Youth Line as it was a charity the team at Schitt’s Creek had supported before.
“It was extremely simple to set up a CanadaHelps fundraising page and to make changes as needed (like increasing our goal several times!),” said Bea. “It was great that all the logistics were taken care of and we could just focus on getting people to donate. I’d definitely use it again and recommend it to others.”
To their pleasant surprise, their campaign quickly went viral and rallied 679 donors to give a grand total of $23,400 which will make an enormous impact on countless lives. Plus, their fundraiser even caught the attention of outlets like the Huffington Post, MSN.com, and even Dan himself! Check out the video Dan posted on Instagram thanking Bea, the team, and supporters of the fundraiser.
“Dan’s response to the fundraiser went above and beyond,” said Bea. “I never set out to organize this to get a response from him—we just wanted to celebrate his work and the impact he was having by telling stories with love and acceptance at the forefront.”
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“It was extremely simple to set up a CanadaHelps fundraising page and to make changes as needed (like increasing our goal several times!). It was great that all the logistics were taken care of and we could just focus on getting people to donate. I’d definitely use it again and recommend it to others.” — Bea Edwards
Bea’s 7 Tips for Fundraising Success
So, how did Bea and the team do it? Here are Bea’s 7 tips that helped make their online fundraiser a success by using social media for good.
- Share (a lot) on social media. We shared on every social media platform and shared frequently. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook (and Facebook groups), Tumblr, Reddit, and Discord were all used because we knew fans of the show were on every platform.
- Keep it simple. At first, we just made fun graphics and tried to explain the whole process in every post and we were seeing success, but it was hard to keep up. We ended up simplifying the look of our graphics which included only photos of Dan and our ask: ‘Wish Dan a Happy Birthday. Support LGBTQ+ Youth.’
- Tag everything on social! We made sure to take advantage of hashtags and tagging on different platforms. For example, on Twitter, we hashtagged everything with #SchittsCreek and would either mention Dan and the Schitt’s Creek handles in the tweet or tag them in the photo. We also tagged other relevant accounts in the photos like CBC, PopTV, and Netflix, and sometimes other actors from the show.
- Make everyone an ambassador of your fundraiser. We made sure our group was ready to share the donation link when appropriate, and other fans started to do the same. If any news outlet mentioned the fundraiser without the link or the fundraiser link wasn’t in someone’s tweet, we would reply thanking them for sharing and letting people know where to donate by linking the URL.
- Reach out to influencers. I created a list of influencers that we would reach out to either directly or through social media mentions to ask to share right before his birthday. This included the obvious ones like other actors on the show but also included bigger fan accounts (like the Schitt’s Creek podcast on Instagram), as well as the crew from the show. The key here is to be very respectful and not push too much, but give them everything they need to share with one click.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your network for media contacts. We didn’t pitch to the media (or at least to the media who ended up covering it), those came through networking either via social media or friends of other fans of the show. Put out the ask for any media contacts, and this can help add a positive bump to your fundraising efforts by reaching more people!
- Don’t forget, celebrate and have fun! This was such a key to our success. We had smaller goals that we wanted to raise and it was fun for folks to see if we could make them. And when we did, we were sure to celebrate reaching those before raising the goal. We gave shout outs to the people who were our donor to take us across the line to a goal, or who were, say, the 400th donor.
Ready to launch your own fundraiser for a cause you love? Get started today and launch your Fundraising Page in minutes on CanadaHelps.org. You choose one or more charities to support and rally your friends and family to give, and the team at CanadaHelps handles everything else. Learn more about Fundraising Pages on CanadaHelps and get started today!