Less than two weeks ago I kicked off my first crowdfunding campaign. It has been a wild ride! Crowdfunding has become a popular financing option among entreprneneurs and artists alike.
Despite its popularity the crowdfunding space is still a bit like the wild, wild west. Traditional rules don’t always apply. The campaign is not over but statistically speaking we are doing well. It is day 12 and we were at 80% funded.
I’ve been getting plenty of questions about how to do this crowdfunding thing the right way. I’m not sure there is a “right way.” There is no “right way” but I thought I’d share what I’ve learned so far on the journey:
1. Do Your Research:
There is a tremendous amount of information available on the internet from people who have successfully launched campaigns, as well as, those that haven’t. No need to recreate the wheel. Read what they have to say. I don’t think I found a single article or blog that didn’t improve my campaign in some way.
2. Choose Your Crowdfunding Platform Wisely
There are many options in crowdfunding platforms from Indiegogo to Kickstarter and beyond. Spend some time at each one. Get a clear understanding of the platform’s focus, any limitations and decide on the platform that works for you. Early on we had planned to use Kickstarter without doing any research, simply because it was the name we heard the most. I almost said the name of “kickstarter” in my video! When I started to actually do my research I came to find that Kickstarter didn’t have any space for campaigns that funded events like ours. Turns out Indiegogo was the perfect platform for us. Do your research!
3. Build a Solid Team
I interviewed as many crowdfunders as I could get my hands on. Inevitably they fell into two camps: Exhausted and Elated. The people in camp Elated had a strong team helping them every step of the way. Team Exhausted tried to do it alone. Please don’t try to do this alone. Whether you pay your team or not, enlist people who care about what you are doing and will be there for you every step of the way.
4. Make an emotionally compelling video
Campaigns with videos raise 114% more than those without. Although it is tempting to tell people all about your project its unnecessary. Videos of successful campaigns don’t focus on what the project is about, they focus on why the project matters. When crafting your video appeal to the why not the what.
5. Have a project plan
If you are the type of person that likes to fly by the seat of your pants the world of crowdfunding is probably attracting you like a moth to the flame. For the love of all that is good in the world do not follow your instinct to just “jump right in.”
Take the time to write out what needs to get done every step of the way. Know when tasks need to be completed and who will be completing each task.
Project management is a discipline. Unless you are an uber control freak it is probably not on your top 10 list of things you like to do but do it anyway. There are technology platforms to help you create a plan. We used Basecamp to build our project and have been thrilled with how smoothly everything has run.
My team has also appreciated it. I am by nature a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of gal so I know how fun that can be but I’ve also run multi-million projects in corporate America and I can tell you a project plan is the way to go. For the sake of your team. For the sake of your sanity.
As the campaign winds down I’ll be back to share more tips, tricks and insights I picked up along the way!