You’ll have noticed that crowdfunding is quite the thing for people and businesses looking to raise money. It’s not quite the guaranteed route to success people would have you believe, but for projects or businesses which struggle to raise cash via the ‘normal’ route, it’s a very worthwhile option.
Don’t kid yourself, though, that this is simple – load up the project onto Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Unbound or wherever, tweet out a few times and watch the cash roll in, while you (belatedly) wonder about how to source those T-shirts you’ve promised. It is, to be frank, a slog – a long haul of planning, hustling and selling to chivvy lots of people into giving relatively small amounts to reach your target.
So, if you’re considering a crowdfunding campaign, then prepare well with these tips:
Get your pitch right:
You are going to need a simple and compelling proposition for your project which will make people sit up and pay attention. Explain what your project or business is going to be about; why it’s important that it happens, and why you are just the person to deliver it. This is all about trust – trust that you’re telling the truth about your ideas and trust that you you are the person to deliver them.
A video which succinctly brings that proposition to life:
The video is a key asset – it needs to repeat the message of the pitch copy and tell who you are and why people should trust you to produce something brilliant. The video is the piece of content which ‘travels’, which can be embedded in blogs and websites the length and breadth of the internet. It needs to be a standalone piece of content which will make people reach for their wallet.
An enticing set of pledge levels:
People who pledge do so because they want to be supportive, but they also want something exclusive, something which rewards their faith. So while the odd T-shirt is nice, they want something which confirms them as the early-stage faithful. Pledge levels which give them access to your products or to your wisdom, or get them involved in creative ways will make people dig that bit deeper – and you’re chasing dollars, after all…
An up-to-date contact list:
Social media can drive high-profile crowdfunding projects, but old-fashioned emails tend to work best. So you’ll need to make sure you have an up-to-date list of email addresses, and make sure that you’ve oh-so-casually been in touch with these people in the recent past. Don’t reawaken your contacts just to ask for money, keep them ‘live’ way before you start, and keep your contacts with them as personal as possible, not a bunch of round-robins. And maintain (and polish) your social media presence too – active Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn presences will all help hugely too.
Willingness and stamina:
You may find that this doesn’t get funded in three days flat. That this takes months. To manage that process, you need first of all to calm down on your own expectations, but also to maintain the work ethic to maintain a constant stream of communication about the project – to keep people involved and excited and willing to help you find the audience, and the pledges, to make your dream a reality.