That’s the beauty of crowd funding; you can receive financial support before you build a product, write a book or record a new CD.
Although, crowdfunding appears easy on the outside, you must do your homework and develop a fundraising campaign strategy.
Prior to launching my first crowd funding campaign “You Posted What” on GoFundMe, I studied different campaigns and spoke with individuals who had been successful.
I used Seth Godin’s The Icarus Deception Kickstarter campaign that raised $287,342 as a template.
This past week, I read about how MD3 launched The Micro: The First Truly Consumer 3-D Printer and raised over a million dollars within 11 minutes on Kickstarter. MD3 has impressive campaign and have a track record for developing 3-D products.
Good fundraising campaigns have a compelling story or very cool product. When reviewing MD3’s campaign it is evident that the company took the time to build a good campaign that highlight the product and the process from start to finish.
If you and your team are considering using crowdfunding to raise money for a product, use MD3 as a good benchmark. Also review Seth Godin’s campaign for ideas.
Overall, I am pleased with the result of my GoFundMe campaign. The campaign goal was $500, and I raised $299. The money was used to help pay my editor.
Crowd funding provides entrepreneurs, artist and inventors the opportunity to test market an idea before spending large sums of money. Not sure if the concept will work? Develop a small prototype to test drive the concept. Most demos can be created on a small budget of less than $5,000.
Crowdfunding Lessons – How to Run A Better Campaign
Need a Compelling Story
We all love to hear a good story. Hearing or reading someone else story sticks in our minds and, we remember what they said and how they felt. As humans, we feel compelled to share good stories with our friends and co-workers.
To create a successful campaign, a meaningful story must be at the root of the campaign. Why are you and your team seeking to raise money? How important is this project?
My story was good; however, I believe I could have created a better hook for the campaign. Using the book title was not effective in gaining awareness.
Run Your Campaign Like a Charity Fundraising Event
Before you launch your campaign, obtain feedback from trusted friends or business associates. Ask your friends to promote and share your campaign on their social media networks. When seeking large sums of money, study how large charities secure funding for national campaigns.
Designate a couple of friends to be an evangelist, and work to secure funding using social networks and their personal connections. Having a strong support network can be the deciding factor in reaching your financial goal or not.
Kickstarter campaigns are all or nothing so take time to secure support prior to the campaign is another important component.
As the campaign progressed, I tweaked the pitch until I found the right words to explain my goal. I was a little surprised that no one was interested in making a $5 donation; donors wanted a copy of the book. Also, avoid offering lame freebies.
Think about your audience and, how you can generate buzz by offering cool gifts such as t-shirts, laptop stickers or buttons.
Having Access to Large Personal and Business Networks Is Important
GoFundMe uses Facebook to promote campaigns, and it’s important to have a large social network of friends. For me, Facebook generated the lowest number of donations where as LinkedIn generated the highest. Focus your campaign on the social media networks that you use most often.
Think about the structure of a political campaign, how the campaign manager will secure funding and supporter commitments months or years prior to the actual campaign and race.
Crowd funding for large sums of money is no different. Organize and run your campaign with the same finesse as a respected charity.
Use All Forms of Marketing
Use multiple forms of marketing from old school to social media networks. Share the information with everyone. Create a posting strategy for social media, sending emails and handing out flyers to friends and family members.
Incorporate your story in a blog post, and most importantly talk to people. Share your story and why this project is important to you.
In our digital world, we often forget to talk to people. Verbally engaging with another human being is still the most powerful tool.
Like any campaign to raise money, you must find ways to let people know about the campaign without sounding like a spammer or begging for money.
Pitch the campaign using multiple methods and at different times of the day and throughout the fundraising time period. Make a final pitch at the end of the campaign. Make sure to include the cutoff date to give a sense of urgency. I sold five books on the final day of the campaign.
External Circumstances Can Impede Your Campaign
Be prepared that at any time after you post your crowdfunding link, breaking news story can happen on social media and preempt your post.
From friends warning other friends about spam links that look like crowdfunding campaigns to national or international news events. When everyone shifts their focus to talking about these events, your campaign will be overshadowed and overlooked.
If this happens, share the information again when you are not fighting for space in each social media networks’ news feed.
The GoFundMe campaign helped move my book forward, and I learned several beneficial lessons. If I need to raise money for a project in the future, I will use crowd funding again.
I believe this is an invaluable financial tool that allows us all the opportunity to develop new ideas and fund projects big and small.