Now that we have shown you what crowdfunding is in our post, Crowdfunding and Your Small Business and how it can help you in your personal or business endeavors, let us now give you some tips on the best way to have a successful crowdfunding campaign! A successful crowdfunding campaign doesn’t come from just a great idea, but from hard work and innovative execution. I am sure you know that your fund-lacking project needs some marketing and while this obviously includes social media and email blasts, there is a bit of a science to it and we are here to help you put your best foot forward. It’s best if you begin by thinking of crowdfunding for a cause as a business. You must be organized, have a plan and stick to it.
1. Give yourself ample time to raise funding for your project. Minimally, six months is recommended by Crowdfunding Hacks owner, Clay Hebert, to get started on your funding campaign. Don’t ask for money right away; instead, talk about your project and get people interested in why your project matters. By the time you are ready to accept funding, most of your work should already be done as far as marketing and getting the word out. Although you are given around 60 days to accept funding for a campaign, it is much smarter to keep it 30 days and under. A longer campaign isn’t usually a better one.
2. Research similar projects’ crowdfunding campaigns. Since most crowdfunding sites don’t delete projects once their funding campaigns have ended, there is a lot of information for you to check out similar projects and what has or has not worked before. Utilize this information to create a budget and stick to a preconceived plan; also, putting your budget on your campaign page can give backers more confidence. When reaching out to people you know, include tailored messages in emails and through social media. This will make the project, and donation, more personal to the backer. Do this again right before the launch of the funding campaign, when you are ready to start accepting funds. You want to communicate as often as possible. I told you this was like a business.
3. Be prepared from the beginning. There are certain things that are necessary from the beginning of a funding campaign. A big tip here is to make two endings when producing a video for your campaign page. The first ending should be for before the campaign launches so that you invite people to sign up via email for information and updates. This video should be posted as soon as possible on your project’s website. The second ending is for when your campaign is live and should invite people to contribute to your project. This should be posted on your crowdfunding site.
4. Everyone may not contribute. And that’s okay. It is important to realize that everyone you know or don’t know may not rise to your cause or project and it is a fact you have to face. Most crowdfunded projects have fewer than 1,000 backers so focus on the people who matter most to your project. It is important to have a target for backers and stick to that plan.
5. Be smart about your goal. While you don’t want to undersell yourself, you definitely don’t want to turn off prospective backers. Set your goals as low as they can be without hurting your project. Most crowdfunding sites, like Kickstarter, are all-or-nothing type of campaign sites meaning if you don’t raise your goal amount then you receive none of the donations. If you exceed your goal, then your funding campaign is a major success.
6. Try to offer a small reward for backing. While most backers don’t expect more than a “thank you email”, it would be nice to offer a little something more. If you can afford a t-shirt for every $50 donated or a discount on a service, think outside of the box for this one and you can really give your campaign something different.
It is important to know that it is much harder to fund an entire project through a crowdfunding platform than just a part. Being specific can make your campaign that much more successful. Either way, make sure you do your homework as this will not be a fly-by-night venture. Success is what you make of it and it’s up to you as to the work that goes into your funding campaign. Even if you have done your homework, as personal as your project is for you it isn’t for everyone and you cannot let it affect your personal or professional relationships, no matter the outcome. These are just some tips to help your crowdfunding campaign be as successful as possible. Remember to have fun, work hard and good luck!