Rally 101: How to Set Fundraising Goals and Rewards

monkeyelephantdonationsBefore you even created your Rally page, you probably had some dollar figure in mind for your crowdfunding campaign: the amount of money needed to, say, pay for study-abroad tuition or the approximate cost of medical treatments for a family member.

This Rally 101 post will address the basics of setting and inputting those donation goals, suggested contribution amounts, and even rewards for your supporters.

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Rally 101: Uploading Supporters to Your Page

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PHOTO COURTESY OF RICHARD_OF_ENGLAND ON FLICKR

So you’ve chosen your Rally.org fundraising cause, you’ve set up your page with a Cover photo or video, and you’ve named your Rally and written up your About section and appeal for donations. Do you know who you’re asking for support and how to connect them to your crowdfunding campaign?

This Rally 101 post will show you, step-by-step and with helpful graphic illustrations, how to easily upload your email contacts or social-networks lists of friends, family, and coworkers to your cause home page.

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Rally Quick Fix: Get Your Gmail Inbox in Order

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Dear Gmailers:

It’s been several months since Google launched its inbox-prioritizing function, using tabs to filter incoming messages to your Primary, Social, and Promotions folders. And here at Rally.org we’ve recently rebooted our Rally Newsletter, delivering some of our favorite crowdfunding campaigns directly to you every Thursday.

Here’s a simple way to make sure you never miss a single Rally-related mail, from our newsletter to updates on each Rally you support: You can click on messages appearing under the Promotions tab

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and drag them right to the Primary tab.

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Click “Yes” to receive future messages from Rally in your Primary tab.

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Still not sure about how to filter and prioritize in Gmail? The folks at the Googleplex have kindly posted pointers here.

Coffee Shop for a Cause in Philly

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We’ve just posted our latest story in our series of inspiring Rally fundraising campaigns on Yahoo! Shine. This week we meet Lisa Miccolis, the founder and president of the non-profit the Monkey and the Elephant. Behind the whimsical name lies a serious story about how a former foster kid in South Africa inspired Lisa to launch an organization to help young adults who have aged out of the foster-care system in Philadelphia.

For Lisa Miccolis the path to working with former foster kids in Philadelphia began with safari animals…and coffee.

Lisa, the founder and president of the non-profit organization and coffee shop the Monkey and the Elephant, got the name from a secret code she started using several years ago, after a trip to South Africa. In October 2008, bringing little more than her clothes and her camera, she visited a friend who had been living in Cape Town and owned a bakery there.

Lisa hung out at her friend’s bakeshop, chatting with workers and customers and eventually connecting with Homestead Projects for Street Children, a local non-profit that works to get boys off the streets of Cape Town. Homestead thought her photography skills might be useful, so she agreed to meet with the staff and the boys living at its shelter.

“I went to the orphanage and saw a young man sitting at a desk with a journal and a pen,” Lisa recalled. “The staff told me, ‘Oh, that’s Ephraim. He’s writing his life story,’” a life story that soon became enmeshed with hers.

Find out the meaning behind the Monkey and the Elephant passcode, and the mission of the Monkey and the Elephant cafe, at “This Week’s Rally for Good: Coffee for a Cause in the City of Brotherly Love.”

Singing and Rebuilding with Haiti After 2010 Earthquake

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HAITIAN CHILDREN’S CHOIR SINGS AT RALLY.ORG HQ. PHOTO/GWEN ARMBRUSTER

When you need to take a break from sitting at your desk for hours, a little music can boost your mood. Especially when dozens of children, accompanied by percussionists, are the ones serenading you.

The Haitian Children’s Choir and percussion ensemble stopped by Rally.org headquarters in San Francisco on Tuesday for a lunchtime concert and impromptu dance party. The choir is currently on a 25-city tour across the U.S. Sing With Haiti, a Bay Area non-profit dedicated to arts education and child well-being, coordinated the in-office appearance as part of a Rally fundraising campaign to benefit children in Haiti.

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Rallying to Defend Internet Privacy

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A version of this post appears on GOOD.is.

In recent weeks the Lavabit email service has become almost as notorious as its most infamous client, Edward Snowden.

While at his old job as a National Security Agency contractor, Snowden leaked classified documents, allegedly via a Lavabit email account, about the agency’s mass-surveillance programs. Federal prosecutors charged Snowden with espionage, and he lived at the Moscow airport until Russia granted him temporary asylum in early August.

Around the same time Ladar Levison, the founder of Lavabit, suspended the company’s services. Under a gag order at the time, he explained that he preferred to close up shop rather than “become complicit in crimes against the American people.”  He has launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover legal expenses as he fights to maintain the privacy of his 400,000 customers’ accounts. He has raised more than $75,000 so far.

Court records unsealed on Thursday revealed what privacy advocates and tech pundits had suspected: In mid-July, about three weeks before Levison shut down his company, the U.S. government issued a search warrant demanding that he turn over crypto keys that guarded all web traffic to Lavabit. He has refused FBI orders to divulge details about Snowden’s email activities and has said that he would not allow the U.S. government access to his clients’ information.

To support this Rally and learn more about Lavabit’s upcoming legal battles, visit rally.org/lavabit.

Rally 101: Using Video on Your Rally Page


In this post on how to choose the best images for your Rally’s page, we look at video Covers. Just as with a photo Cover, the video introduces your Rally to potential supporters.

Your Rally video needs to clearly communicate your message and your Rally’s story, allowing a potential supporter to watch it and, right off the bat, understand your cause and your passion for it—what you’re fundraising for and why.

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Church Community Rallies Around a Young Leader

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SHARRIA AND ANDREW WESTPHAL ON THEIR WEDDING DAY.

The newest excerpt from our collaboration with Yahoo! Shine is here. This week’s featured Rally campaign is especially powerful: A young man at the beginning of his life as a husband and graduate school student has learned he has a Stage IV brain tumor, so his family is raising money to help take care of him and his wife.

This past summer was hardly a slow season for Andrew Westphal. In June the 26-year-old finished an 18-month preaching mentorship at the church his family has attended for years. He married his best friend from college at the end of July. Six weeks later he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, upending his expectations for his marriage, for graduate school, and for his development as a church leader.

You can learn more about Andrew Westphal’s story at “This Week’s Rally for Good: Seeking a Cure Through Medicine, Love, and Faith.”

Texas Alumni Rally for New Donor Record

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PHOTO COURTESY OF ROBERT THIGPEN ON FLICKR

Fifty dollars, times two, tipped the scales.

In a drive to boost alumni donor participation, these two gifts pushed the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business past the $2 million mark. Recently the school’s dean, Tom Gilligan, announced that 6,300 alumni supporters had rallied to increase the McCombs alumni giving rate to 8.1 percent.

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Rally 101: Tips for Rally Page Photos

We’re back with another set of pointers for Rally users, this time taking a look at how to use the best photo images for the Cover page of your Rally. (We’ll address video Covers in our next post.)

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We call the main page of your Rally fundraising campaign a Cover because it works like the cover of a book or magazine: The cover entices you to pick it up, check out the table of contents or book summary, and decide if you want to buy it or put it back on the shelf.

In order to bring supporters for your Rally page, you need a compelling and attractive Cover image.

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