How Tour Guides and Agencies Can Collaboratively Support Crowdfunding Campaigns
In the past two years, I’ve had the privilege of being involved in two crowdfunding campaigns in Ecuador aimed at supporting family-run ecotourism businesses. The first campaign successfully saved Refugio Paz de las Aves, and we currently have an ongoing campaign to secure the Mashpi Amagusa Reserve.
Often, potential donors suggest reaching out to international NGOs like the Rainforest Alliance or Ecuadorian foundations like the Jocotoco Foundation. However, it’s important to understand that these organizations are unable to assist private landowners.
Instead, these campaigns rely on the people who know the families best—the birding guides who visit these places time and time again. You are the vital connection between the campaign and the clients who have experienced these remarkable locations.
Therefore, the success of these campaigns depends on YOU, the guide who brings the clients.
Here are some wonderful ways you can make a difference:
Craft Your Own Post
In addition to sharing posts written by the crowdfunding campaign, take a moment to write your own unique post and share it with your social media audience. Your post should:
- Explain your personal connection with the project.
- Highlight the reasons why this campaign is important to both you and your business.
- Include a link to the campaign. If you would like your own dedicated link to track donations from your audience, reach out to the campaign team.
- Tag the business. That way they can thank you for the post.
Consider reaching out to the campaign and inquire about boosting your posts from your business page. This can help you expand your audience while also benefiting the campaign by reaching more of your followers.
Sometimes, donors to the campaign will mention the name of the guide who requested their help. Check out this comment from the Mashpi Amagusa Campaign:
Our group visited in June of 22 and found the family skilled, hard working and humble – the birds are fantastic – the family and the habitat are deserving of our support. If you have not been – don’t miss it. Thanks to Nelson Apolo Jaramillo – guide extraordinaire – for sharing this opportunity. ~William Sharkey
Need some inspiration? Check out these fantastic posts from the Mashpi Amagusa Campaign:
Share Your Own Story
Facebook and Instagram stories allow you to include links, making them a perfect platform for sharing crowdfunding campaigns.
Here’s a simple format for your stories:
- Add a captivating photo of the place—whether it’s a breathtaking view, an iconic bird, or you and your clients enjoying a memorable day.
- Mention the business you are supporting.
- Incorporate a word or image that says “Donate.”
- Finally, include the campaign link in your story and spread the word!
Email Your Client List
Utilize a tool like Mailchimp, which offers a free plan for up to 2000 email addresses, to send a heartfelt fundraising request to your entire email list. Your list should include former clients and potential future clients who have signed up via your social media or website to learn more about your products.
An email newsletter gives you more space to share the reasons why supporting this fundraiser is crucial. Make sure to:
- Emphasize your personal connection with the project.
- Explain why this campaign is important to both you and your business.
- Include a link to the campaign. If you’d like your own dedicated fundraising link to track donations from your audience, don’t hesitate to reach out to the campaign team.
- Encourage your clients who are bloggers to write about the fundraising campaign.
- Ask your clients to share the campaign on their social media and tag you in their posts.
Donate to the Campaign
Make a donation to the campaign in the name of your business. This sends a strong message to your clients that you believe in the business you are asking them to donate to. It is a powerful indication that you trust the people you work alongside with to create your trips.
Moreover, it demonstrates to other businesses and tour guides that you practice the type of tourism that makes us stronger when we work together. If they need help, they will reach out to you. When you need help, you will be able to reach out to them. Juntos somos fuertes.
More and more US American clients are seeking to make a positive impact when they travel. They are looking for more than just a guide or a travel agency—they seek cooperative partners who contribute to conservation causes, support local economies, and strive to further the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals.
By working collaboratively, rather than competitively, we create tourism that benefits everyone.
If you need assistance implementing any of these suggestions, please reach out. I offer a free hour of consulting to all new clients and provide my services on a sliding scale to make growing your regenerative tourism business possible. Together, let’s create a brighter future.