How do you run a successful crowdfunding campaign? This is a question we here at Launcht get all the time, so we figured we would share our answer with you up front.
A successful Crowdfunding campaign takes work. Specifically, it takes a lot of prep work. Essentially, crowdfunding allows you to convert interest into action. For that to work you need interest. Thus, the first question you need to answer is “Who Cares?” It is key to find these people ahead of time. Figure out what blogs they read, what Twitter #tags they use and what Facebook groups they are members of. Become part of those communities, if you aren’t already. Embed yourself in the community and become a known entity before you even mention crowdfunding. This will give you a wealth of social capital to draw on when you want that community to support you.
When you are ready to start crowdfunding in earnest, here are the fundamentals:
- Make sure you have an engaging, interesting, and/or quirky 1 minute explanation or pitch video
- Prepare a small group of committed funders to fund your campaign within a few hours of it launching. Early momentum is vital. This momentum shows others outside of your 1o network that you have traction and that the project is worthwhile. Our research shows that if you can hit 30 – 40% of your goal you dramatically increase the likelihood of getting funding from people in your 2o and 30 networks.
- You should also prepare a basic PR strategy targeting the communities that you have been cultivating to get the word out via social media and traditional media so that more people hear about the crowdfunding campaign.
- Be clear about your venture or project and use common language to explain it.
- Make sure funders will understand what you intend to do with their funding.
- The best crowdfunding campaigns make the venture or project clearly tangible, immediate, and evocative.
If you follow the guidance above and really nail it, you’re all set. That said there are a few other points that can help after you’ve nailed down the fundamentals. “Funder Perks” or a pre-sale model are useful ways to incentivize your funders. This approach lends itself best to product based crowdfunding endeavors. For example, the Pebble watch crowdfunded over 10 Million dollars with a very cool product combined with well structured perks. When you are crowdfunding for a product, your perks are pretty straight forward. For example, “contribute $50 and get one of my gizmos, contribute $500 and get a special edition gizmo or a bunch of gizmos.” If you are crowdfunding for a mission based venture that does not have an obvious product, try and identify the seed at the center of your endeavor that people are going to find compelling and think creatively about how to represent that seed of inspiration in something that you can give to donors to make them feel like they are a part of what you are doing. This cuts to the very heart of why people engage in crowdfunding for mission based programs. They want to feel like they are part of what you are doing. If you can give that to your potential donors, then you are setting yourself up for success.
By approaching crowdfunding in this way you can connect with the population that you are looking to serve and let their interest and excitement fuel your success.