Be clear about your goals. Before you start your campaign, know with certainty how you will ask for money and why you need it. As crowdfunding consultant Sydney Malawer put it, Do you have a legitimate ask besides we want money? People want to feel that they are a part of something big and important. They want to know that their money will play a significant role in accomplishing that goal. People crowdfund for all sorts of reasons: new business ventures, projects or causes they care about (e.g., a family member, friend or pet who is sick).
Do research and outline your goals. To justify and support your goals, you’ll need to be clear about what the money will do. For personal causes, outline clearly how the money will be used and what impact it will have.
Present your goals. For commercial ventures, use graphs where useful. Write out an estimated budget for your campaign, based on any quotes youve received from manufacturers, insurers, lawyers, suppliers and distributors. For personal causes, describe what the money is for and how it will be used. E.g., $1000 will pay for Sharons mortgage as she undergoes four weeks of chemotherapy. If this sounds like a lot of work, it doesn’t have to be. Just be transparent about what you are trying to achieve.
Research crowdfunding itself. Both Kickstarter and Indiegogo provide helpful tips on their websites. Mycause.com.au, which specialises in cause-related crowdfunding, offers their fundraisers 24/7 email and phone support. Mike del Ponte wrote a great post on Hacking Kickstarter, offering a list of factors to consider that contribute to campaign success, and the Unreasonable Institute shared some good lessons from their failed campaign.
Find videos or high-quality photos. Images can make or break a campaign. If you are crowdfunding for a commercial project, consider getting a professional videographer who is willing to work pro-bono, or make a video yourself. Focus on telling a compelling story. Keep it under three minutes in length. For personal causes, find heartwarming and emotional photographs, and upload them to your page. The more visuals you have, the better.
Design the layout of your campaign. Have your story outlined (who, what, when, where, why, how) and your video and images in place. Make your explanation clear, simple and to-the-point.
Make sure you can comply with the estimated delivery date. 70% of campaigns dont deliver on time. Select a date that gives you plenty of time to meet your commitments. New projects often take longer than anticipated.
Make sure you have a core team of people promoting the campaign for you. Think of crowdfunding as the layers of an onion. Your first layer is family and friends. If they wont donate to you, who will? Your second layer is coworkers (past and present), teammates, business associates, casual acquaintances. Your third layer is the press and general public.
Reach out to organizations and workplaces. Some organizations can provide wide networks of potential donors. Make a list of local organizations related to your cause or field. Ask them if theyd be willing to publicize your campaign through their social media.
Use the media. If you are doing the campaign on your own, you should draft a standard press release as a template. Personal interviews, however, are more likely to get you coverage. If you use a platform such as mycause.com.au, their publicity team will send your story to the press free of charge. They will work to generate publicity on your behalf.
Know your goal. If its a commercial venture, you should aim to raise 25% of your funding within 24 hours. If you succeed at that, Indiegogo or Kickstarter might feature you on their homepages. If it’s for an individual or a cause, mycause.com.au recommends reaching out to your first two layers of “the onion” (friends, family, coworkers, teammates) in the first 14 days and then going to the general public through the press after that.
Allow time. Plan on sending updates to your backers and networks throughout the campaign, and also after it has ceased. Don’t bombard people with messages, however. They might be tempted to mark them as spam.
Thank everybody. At the end of your campaign you should be sure to thank everyone who has supported you, and let them know what your future plans are.
How can I find someone to help me start crowd funding?
If you’re crowdfunding for yourself, then just go to one of the internet sites and follow the instructions to set up your request. If you are crowdfunding for a charity, discuss your plans with other volunteers at the charity.
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