The Tor Project is a nonprofit organization that maintains, develops, and educates the public about the Tor anonymity network, Tor Browser software, and related privacy tools. Tor is free, open-source software that enables anonymous communication and privacy on the internet. At the time, Tor was being used by an estimated 2 million users per day.
In an effort to diversify their funding sources, the Tor Project launched their very first crowdfunding campaign in November 2015. They had a Donate button on their site for years, but this was the first time they were actively seeking donations. Asking for donations from their vast community of fans, volunteers, and users would allow them the flexibility to work on their most important development projects and remain independent.
In just under 2 months, the crowdfunding campaign brought in over $205k from more than 5k individual donors worldwide.
Leaders at Tor expressed that they weren’t sure what would happen during a crowdfund, or if people would invest in the project. They were excited it did so well. The level of support received showed that crowdfunding could be done successfully again in the future.
Working with a virtual team of staff, contractors, and volunteers, I provided graphic support throughout the campaign’s duration. I assisted in planning communication and posting tasks that needed to be done throughout the campaign and graphics required.
I created branding for campaign graphics that worked with the visuals Tor already had in place, and assets to brand their social profiles for the duration of the fundraising. Some graphics I made in advance, while others were done on short deadlines as content arrived: I used my simple guidelines and templates to streamline the daily creation of images.
Part of the marketing plan was distributing “This Is What a Tor Supporter Looks Like” t-shirts to a group of “champions” and supporters who photographed themselves in the tees and sent their photos and testimonials to Tor to promote the campaign. As photos and quotes came in, I reformatted them into branded social share graphics.
I also reformatted graphics to be utilized across digital channels: on the Tor Project website, their blog, on the welcome screen of the Tor Browser itself, and on Twitter and Facebook.
Other materials I provided graphics for were the “swag” offerings that contributors could receive after donating, including a sticker and the supporter t-shirt. I also laid out the paper “thank you” card that was sent to donors with their swag.
This fundraiser was an overall success for the Tor Project, and I believe that the strongly-branded public-facing graphics lent credibility to this inaugural crowdfunding campaign. Tor already had a passionate community; it was rewarding to me to be a part of visualizing and sharing the supporters’ activism and pride.