What Kevin Costner and his baseball ghosts forget to mention is that after you’ve built it and they have come, you still have the upkeep and maintenance necessary to keep them happy and to keep new folks arriving at the field–or the crowdfunding platform as it were. Launcht and crowdfunding in general are predominantly about creating and maintaining relationships. Relationships of any kind inherently require support and maintenance to remain healthy and fulfilling for all parties. To get the most out of anything’s potential, “there is no set and forget, people need to work at maintaining success,” says Georgia Wright-Simmons, Senior Business Development Associate of Launcht.
Based on the experience of various Launcht clients, we have put together a partial guide with suggestions for all clients and potential clients to keep in mind as they learn, build, and grow their platforms and campaigns. While of course each client will have unique experiences and outcomes and challenges, perhaps the greatest universal piece of advice is to shepherd and maintain existing donor relationships while continually reaching out to new members of your organization’s community.
One good way to do this–both when first launching a crowdfunding platform and when starting new campaigns on your existing platform–is getting a guarantee from your existing top supporters to donate a specific sum within the first day or two of a new effort. This serves two purposes. First, it gives you the opportunity to identify your top supporters and develop a closer relationship with them by emphasizing how important they are to your success–this helps you build loyalty and overall community goodwill within your organization. It also helps you gain momentum quickly. People, especially those outside your immediate network, want to know that projects they give to have a good chance of success. Significant, early support and funding are a good way to prove that the campaign has traction and are a strong indicator of future campaign success. Providing all donors with frequent gratitude and updates on projects and campaigns also furthers this sense that the donors are personally integral to the overall success of a project while also being a part of something bigger than themselves.
Launcht co-founder Spencer Taylor says that he personally is more likely to give to a campaign that contacts him frequently, “I’ll think about it and mean to, and it usually takes about five requests before I donate.” This is in line with the classic marketing “Rule of 7,” which states that people need to see your message seven times before they will take action, be that clicking on your campaign or funding it. Persistence is key.
Those are some of the basic building blocks to success to bear in mind no matter where you are in your platform lifecycle. As your needs shift and your campaigns grow, these tips will remain relevant. Some other proverbial tricks of the trade include the timing of campaigns (schools, for example, seem to have greatest success when aligning campaign start dates with the cycle of semesters), and being aware of the focus and language used. Kickstarter has done some research about what words correlate with successful campaigns, as well as some other indicators of success in setting up campaigns. The article about language is here, and the piece focusing on other indicators of success is here. As Launcht clients build and evolve their platforms, it is important to remain flexible and open to refocusing as necessary to create ever more successful partnerships.
If you build it–and aggressively market it–they will come. And if you maintain it carefully, they will stay and grow and attract others.