The crowdfunding concept is purportedly easy, you simply launch your idea to the world and the dollars will start to flow to your agency. That seems easy enough right? Let’s look at the enigmatic success of “Puglet” (an all pug production of Hamlet) as an example of a recent quirky but successful crowdfunding campaign. 196 people contributed to a campaign to dress up dogs in Shakespearean outfits, over $5000 was raised for this event in under a month. To dress up pugs! If people are willing to pay money to see small pets don Elizabethan collars, of course they will support your agency’s worthy mandate! Or so you’d think.
A reality check may be in order however, because according to one the largest crowdfunding platforms (Kickstarter), the numbers are actually not in your favour. Over 70% of campaigns fail, and 81% of those, fail to meet even their 20% threshold. There are hundreds of how to articles online suggesting tips on how to run a successful campaign. Most of these advice columns agree on the following tactics.
- Plan ahead, set up a timeline, a launch date and research your target audience.
- Know your goals and or products in advance and have them fully flushed out and prototypes developed and or your programs/events outlined.
- Tell your story. This is key. Not just the why, but the who. Crowdfunding connects with others to buy into your dreams. You need to offer much more than a charitable donation does.
- Use high quality media, photos and marketing. HIRE someone if you can, to do this important job.
- Show appreciation to your supporters by offering experiences, gifts, pre-sales of products or something that connects them to your cause.
This all seems straightforward but there can be much more to it in actual practice. At a recent workshop put on by crowdfunding, expert and consultant, Ian MacKenzie, we were informed of many less obvious things that also need our consideration when planning for a SUCCESSFUL crowdfunding campaign.
- Thoroughly research your budget – don’t forget to add in things like manufacturing costs, shipping costs and marketing costs.
- Most contributions will be at the $25 and $100 level. Focus your “rewards” here.
- Research the right platform for your campaign. Be aware of all the differences in platforms and choose the one best suited to your agency and structure.
- Consider breaking your campaign into two or three smaller campaigns – i.e. build on your successes.
Build in stretch goals i.e. If we raise ten thousand – we will offer X, If we raise twenty thousand - we will offer Y, or what Ian MacKenzie called “everyone gets a shamwow”!
Building in pre campaign awareness will help you to do this. Use social media to promote your campaign. Ask others to promote for you. If you have a celebrity attached to your agency or cause – ask them to use their social media to promote the event and the launch.
Groups need to build their own campaign's momentum, i.e. Just because you build it – does NOT actually mean they will come. The growth industry of crowdfunding sees hundreds of new campaigns per hour.
To quote Ian MacKenzie – “Crowdfunding won’t build your tribe but it can help you to leverage your tribe”.
Even a tribe of pugs it seems.
Further reading and resources see the links below. On Ian Mack’s site there are also some great videos that are well worth watching.
Six Tips from Kickstarter
Seven Steps to Succeed with Crowdfunding
Eight Steps to Launching a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign
Indiegogo CEO offers3 tips for a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign
CrowdFunding Resources – Ian MACK