Crowdfunding Confidential: Easy Ways to Boost Fundraising

Learn to crowdfund online to raise money for you, your family, your community, or cause using simple, proven techniques.
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Instructed by Kristen Palana Business / Other
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  • Lectures 41
  • Length 4 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 1/2015 English

Course Description

Course Updated: October 27, 2016.
Can one ordinary person create a massive wave of positive change by generating support and cash donations to the people and communities who need it most? This easy to follow crowdfunding course is here to answer with a big resounding YES!

If you, a loved one, a family, a community, a cause, or a charity you care about is in urgent need of support and funding, you have come to the right place to learn simple and effective crowdfunding techniques so that you can begin raising money right away.

This course will empower YOU to plan, create, and manage your first successful online fundraising campaign even if you have no previous crowdfunding experience and no idea where to start!

What Students Are Saying

"Inspiring! I love a course that backs up what they teach with real-world examples and this course does just that. Kristen's experience with her own fund-raising efforts allows her to speak with authority about the various approaches to fund-raising online. If you are thinking about starting a fund-raising campaign to support a favorite cause, this course will certainly point you in the right direction." -Deborah Wojcicki

I'm just one ordinary person that has been fortunate enough to also raise over $100,000+ for needy children in developing countries through my online grassroots project, Aura's House as well as additional thousands for my University students through online crowdfunding platforms. My fundraising techniques are so simple, anyone can follow my crowdfunding formula and have similar results.

I'm an artist, a college professor, a mother, a wife, an expat navigating life in a foreign country, and an all around busy person with A LOT on my plate and yet all of my fundraising activities have been done in my so-called spare time. My goal is to share what I've learned over the past decade about online fundraising and crowdfunding so that you can get started making an impact quickly, efficiently, and powerfully in just a few hours.

In this course I share my very best tips and advice so that you can begin collecting donations right away for your loved one, community, or cause that you care about through a carefully planned and executed online crowd funding campaign.

I'm a tenured Associate Professor of Digital Media at The American University of Rome and have over 16 years of experience teaching students all over the world using my tried and true custom approach (turning complex information into something simple, memorable, easy-to-understand in as short amount of time as possible) to ensure that you get the most important, relevant, and useful information that can be applied immediately.

New bonus lectures and resources will continue to be added and friendly and supportive crowdfunding advice will be provided in the discussion forum. I love to help and always respond to inquiries and discussions ASAP.

Please Note: Students enrolled in ANY of my courses periodically receive freebies and discounts to my other current and upcoming courses as well.


You have a 30-day, 100% money-back guarantee with no questions asked so you have nothing to lose. I make myself available so you will have access to me if you have questions or need specific feedback along the way.

Come and begin making positive change now by enrolling in this top crowdfunding course and join our growing learning community! Click the "Take This Course" button in the upper right corner and let's get started generating support and donations for you and your cause today.

What are the requirements?

  • No special experience is necessary other than having a basic understanding of how computers, email, and the internet works. Of course, passion, a positive attitude, and a desire to make a difference are absolutely essential.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Know instantly which online crowdfunding platform will be most effective for your cause, project, charity, or situation in order to generate the most support possible in the least amount of time.
  • Harness the emotional power of text, color, and imagery to win hearts, minds, and donations for your cause in your crowdfunding project description page to generate immediate action and support for your cause.
  • Understand the best way to format and word your fundraising letters for massively effective email and social media campaigns.
  • Develop an understanding of whom to ask for support as well as which days, times, months, are the BEST time to ask.
  • Gain perspective and coping strategies for when times are slow and all seems to be lost, and learn how roadblocks can actually be a GOOD THING in generating more support and funding for your crowdfunding campaign.
  • Maximize every dollar/euro donated with a full array of donor-boosting ideas to encourage supporters to open their wallets and give generously right away for your cause.
  • Be versed in best practices for online fundraising success and know what to do before, during, and after your successful campaign has funded to make a continued impact.

Who is the target audience?

  • This course is for ordinary (amazing) people who want to raise funds online for a loved one, a sponsored child, a cause, or a charity they care about who have no formal experience and would like to learn how and where to start making an impact.
  • This course will especially help anyone raising amounts $10,000 USD and under even if they have no experience, no mailing list, no following, etc.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Welcome to the Course

An introduction to the course and an overview of who I am, my experience with online fundraising, and how I can best help you. I’m so excited to get you started raising funds for your loved one in need, your cause, your sponsored child, or your pet charity right away.


Just want to dip in? Unfortunately for best results I highly recommend you take the lessons in order, take good notes, and take the time (just a few hours) to really learn what it takes to run a successful campaign. Your success depends on it.

Section 2: The Proof. Over 100K Raised Since 2004 for Charity and Causes.

Here are all the completed housing, health, education, and income generation projects successfully funded since 2004 including photos of gifts received, thank you letters, and official updates from Aura's House partner, top-rated US charity, Children International.


In 2012 and 2013 I raised thousands online to benefit students at The American University of Rome gain access to study abroad opportunities in Ghana as well as Awards of Merit for Outstanding Work in Film and Digital Media.


I've worked closely with others who have successfully used various crowdfunding platforms and taught their techniques to my University students taking “Media, Art, and Social Activism” with me. Here I share their numbers with you. Later I'll share their stories and advice as well.

Section 3: Getting Your Mind Ready For Success

I can't take all the credit for my online fundraising success these past ten years. I've been fortunate to partner with some wonderful people and organizations. I encourage you to be open to receiving help and collaborating with others for achieving maximum fundraising success.


We'll talk about how your thinking will directly influence your fundraising success for the better or worse. It's natural to be a bit scared trying online fundraising for the first time and many worry that they not only won't reach their goal, but that they'll be embarrassed to fail online in a public space. I'll help you overcome these fears and take you by the hand so we can move forward to get your cause the help it needs and deserves, thanks to YOUR amazing efforts.

1 page

Here’s a list and action plan for you to download to help get you mentally prepared to start your online fundraising adventure. Here you’ll also take stock of your current resources, potential helpers, and potential donors.

Section 4: Define Your Project, Your Goal, and Your Time Frame

First thing's first. A successful project is a well defined project. Who are you raising money for, why do they need help, and how might potential donors relate to this situation so they are inspired to give?


How to choose the most effective fundraising goal and a timeframe to raise it in.


Sometimes the more hopeless your cause (the money is needed immediately!) the more you will get the support you need QUICK.

3 questions

This quiz will test and reinforce what you learned in Section 4.

Section 5: Pick Your Poison: Which Online Crowdfunding Platform to Use

Learn about Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Gofundme, Firstgiving/Justgiving, and Cause-Specific Crowdfunding Platforms and Which One to Use


You don’t NEED to use a crowdfunding website, though it certainly is much easier to use an existing platform. If you want to raise funds from your own website, then lectures 13-15 are for you. It’s how I got started as well, though that’s just because crowdfunding websites hadn’t been invented yet back in 2004.

8 questions

This quiz will test your knowledge about fundraising from the ready-made crowdfunding platforms discussed earlier vs. from your own website so you can more easily make an informed decision before you get started setting up your project.

Section 6: Tips and Resources If You Plan to Fundraise From Your Own Website

If you want to avoid the time/ money headaches that come with setting up your own non-profit, then I suggest you work with existing larger organizations so you can offer tax deductions and other perks through them. Here are some tips for reaching out to them.


If you are raising funds from your own website, you’ll need a secure, transparent, trusted, and reliable way to collect donations. Here I’ll get into the pro’s and cons of using a Paypal donation button as well as other resources.

4 questions

This quiz is for those of you who plan NOT to use a crowd-funding platform, but rather would like to raise money from your own website. Test your knowledge on Section 6.

Section 7: Building Your Project

The way you write your project description can make or break your fundraising success. Here I’ll show you the do’s and don’t for this all important step in the project creation process.


Images can be even more important than text in terms of getting your audience to become emotionally involved in your cause. I’ll get into some important tips for choosing the most powerful images that will help deliver donations.


our color choices can also make or break your project. Let me help you choose colors that will inspire trust and confidence in your project so that donors will dig deep to help you achieve your fundraising goal.


If you are using an online crowdfunding website, it’s often crucial to have an engaging video. It also doesn’t hurt to make a video if you are raising funds on your own website. I’ll discuss the best ways to approach the fundraising video, when you need to have one, and when it’s just optional.


I’ll discuss the big T word: TRANSPARENCY as well as how you can use gifts or perks to encourage donations in the crowdfunding sites as well as using them when raising funds from your own website.

8 questions

This quiz will test your learning from Section 7, Building Your Project.

Section 8: Writing Your Fundraising Pitch Letter for Email and Social Media Campaigns

You can’t just set up a fundraising project, put it online, and forget about it. The next crucial step is reaching out to potential donors through a very carefully worded letter via email and social media.

Sample Fundraising Letter for Family and Close Friends
2 pages
1 page

This is a sample letter from a recent successful Aura's House campaign from December 2014. Please use this as a guide only and make sure YOUR letter is relevant and meaningful to your specific cause and is written for YOUR target audience for maximum effect.


I’ll cover how you can take the text from your email fundraising letter and modify it for maximum success for various social media platforms and potential donor outreach.


How to best keep your donors in the loop as well as encouraging donors who didn’t respond to your first fundraising letter or social media update.

4 questions

This Quiz will test and reinforce your knowledge on Section 8.

Section 9: Whom to Ask For Help and When

Learn whom you should approach first and hear my story about not taking my own advice back in 2004 when I did my first project for Aura. (Luckily it worked out anyway…)


Learn whom to ask for help next. This is a tough one for those shy about asking for money but I’ll explain why it’s worth leaving your comfort zone to benefit your cause.


Discover how employers, companies, or organizations can be your best friend for maximizing donations.


Let market research and data guide you when choosing the best day and time for asking for fundraising support. We’ll also talk about donation fluctuations based on times of the year and in response to current events.


Why it’s worth also reaching out to people you’ve never met before to back your cause. My story and tips.

5 questions

This quiz will test and reinforce your knowledge of Section 9.

Section 10: Riding the Wave of Momentum, Troubleshooting, and Overcoming Obstacles

What to do once your campaign launches and things are going well so that the momentum continues.


It can happen to the best of us. What to do if your project never took off or slowed down after the first wave of momentum. (And how this can actually be the BEST thing to ever happen to your project…)

3 questions

This quiz will test and reinforce your knowledge of Section 11.

Section 11: Donation Boosting Ideas

Here are my very best tips and tricks for getting donors on board and ready to dig deep into their pockets to benefit your cause.

Section 12: After Your Project Launches and Funds

What to do next in case you reach only part of your fundraising goal for the highest good of all concerned.


These are the steps you need to take after your project has successfully funded as well as important things to consider in case you want to do more projects in the future.

Section 13: More Resources and Conclusion

This go-to resource will help you remember the donor boosting ideas discussed in the previous lesson. I'll also keep it continuously updated and add to it when I learn of news ways or new technologies to help boost donations to your cause.

3 pages

A downloadable resource you can print out and use to remind you of the most important points covered in this course.


Here is a list of free resources you can use in your creative and crowdfunding projects.

Online Learning Podcast: Episode 121 With Kristen Palana

This interview with top Udemy instructor, John Colley is full of some of my very best secret color tricks for making an impact, getting your content noticed, and boosting engagement online.

The podcast is aimed at other Udemy instructors, but my color tips can be easily used by anyone with a website or someone who uses text and images online, in presentations at work, etc. From the program notes, we discuss pretty much in this order:

  • Introductions and a brief rundown of some of the courses I teach on Udemy and their descriptions.
  • How imaging and color psychology can impact your business
  • What color psychology can mean across borders
  • How gender can affect color choices
  • How to use color to affect the way people think about you
  • How to use color to make your courses more effective
  • How to use color in your lectures/websites/presentations to have a positive impact
  • Where you should use color in your Udemy lectures or presentations
  • Why you should avoid rainbow colors in your text
  • Why you should NEVER (almost never) use pink in an online course or work presentation.
  • Why red and orange can invigorate your audience in the right doses.
  • The importance of hierarchy in your online text
  • Why you need to avoid lack of contrast on your webpage
  • Why its easier to read black text on a white background
  • How to make course images stand out
  • How to make your images stand out to get promoted by Udemy

Thanks for taking this course, how to leave feedback, and how to contact me for support.

Section 14: Bonus: Freebies, Discounts, and Special Offers
Bonus: Crowdfunding Book, Freebies, Discounts, and Special Offers

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Instructor Biography

Kristen Palana, Professor, Award-Winning Artist, & Digital Do-Gooder

My goal is to empower ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

I'm an American/Portuguese multimedia artist and educator recently based in Rome, Italy and a tenured Associate Professor of Digital Media at The American University of Rome where I also co-founded its Film and Digital Media Program. I have over 15 years of university teaching experience in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Since July of 2016 I live and work in Yangon, Myanmar and am a Visiting Associate Professor at American University of Myanmar.

Besides teaching tens of thousands of students at Udemy and other online platforms, I'm also a Course Facilitator for the UN-mandated University for Peace (Costa Rica) through their Centre For Executive Education.

My work is exhibited internationally and online and has received a number of awards. I received my MFA from Pratt Institute in Computer Graphics and Interactive Media and also hold a BFA in Painting from Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

I love taking complex topics and making them simple. I'm currently researching 21st century learning methods and technologies and am enjoying exploring the world of online teaching and connecting with diverse groups of students from all over the world.

What can I help you with today?

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