Let’s define what is crowdfunding: “Crowdfunding, in general, is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.”
Crowdfunding is a form of crowdsourcing and alternative finance. In other words, you are trying to convince a large group of people to donate to your mission a small amount of money. Crowdfunding can provide to your startup or business or idea the needed cash. Also, it can build a base of a loyal community who will feel like a part of your mission.
For starters define your goal. Get your numbers on a piece of paper and set your priorities straight from the beginning.
Now that you know what you need, do your research on everything related to crowdfunding in your topic. Which platforms are the best for your mission? Read the reviews. Check their social media impact and community reactions. Double check if there were any complaints about your chosen platforms. Have a look at this guide.
Define your goal
Keep your supporters close
Before you launch any campaign make sure that you have a dedicated group of friends and supporters. In case you can spend some available resources, hire a pro team to handle your campaign.
- Create an organized network of friends and supporters
- Share the workflow schedule
- Also, share responsibilities
- Make clear who is in charge of the project
- Have a written guidebook for all possible crisis scenarios
- Keep your supporters satisfy with cool perks or money (if possible)
- Set your business plan and make it public
- Shout out your mission, your plan, your goals and your achievements
- Celebrate all single steps
- Send dozens of press releases
- Organize a press conference
- Make PR Agencies your best friends!!! Beer and good wine can help…
- Show your success in social media
- Talk to events and show yourself – and your mission – to the public
- Use Newsletters to spread out the word
- Let the public know what you and your team has offered so far. Make the story as personal as possible. When people relate to your feelings, then they can relate to your mission.
- Use videos. A huge amount of everyday moments. Show your failures. Expose your pitfalls. And the day after…
- Make brand videos with one certain action call.
- Have levels of rewards. Publish them.
- Commit yourself to thank personally each person who donates to your mission. Send them a letter, give them a call, find them and hug them, invite them over in your offices, have dinner with them, say hello with no reason and remember their important days. Be on alert for the devoted donors.
You will breathe in and out for several months and the only face you will see, it will be your reflection on your laptop’s screen. You will live online, until the end of your crowdfunding campaign. Trust me, I have been there and done this!
That’s why you will need all the friends and family you have, really close. It’s gonna be a seriously very long period.
Find the best platform
The good news is that you can find a lot of crowdfunding platforms. The headache starts when you are trying to sort out which is the best fit for your cause. My personal favorite is the GOFUNDME.
If you visit their website you will understand why is my top choice. GoFundMe platform is one of the most popular and friendlier fundraising websites for personal fundraising causes. They provide a high-level personalization in campaigns. They have three models for fundraising: personal campaigns, charity fundraising and all-or-nothing campaigns.
If your cause is more in enterprise mood, you will have to do some digging on the internet for the best fit out there. You see, some crowdfunding platforms are focused on specific industries and niches. Take into consideration your project’s category and characteristics before you make up your mind. Finding the best match equals to reach out to your best target audience for your cause. Have a look at this guide.
Show your numbers
If your idea is a running project then show your journey. Share your growth with the public and the platform. Talk about the results and the real impact to the society.
Be proud of your milestones. Celebrate your wins and invite the community into your cause. It is always nice to belong in a positive mindset group!
The numbers, the goals and your core mission will shape the qualities of your target audience. You will attract similar mind people to support your cause. Make it clear before you start your campaign. What you need, how you want to send the message and to which people. These parameters are the cornerstones of your marketing strategy.
Yes, you will need a marketing strategy
You want to attract the attention of the right people. You will need a well-shaped marketing strategy. Ask your grandparents if they understand your cause. If it is hard for them to understand what you are doing and why you need financial support, then you are doing something wrong. It shouldn’t need extra effort to communicate your idea with people that are not familiar with your niche.
Keep it direct and simple
Use your website and social media channels to spread the word. Every single day.
If you don’t have social media assets then create, now! Your marketing actions should be organized accordingly to your cause awareness and crowdfunding goals. Have a content and posting calendar and stick to your schedule.
Own your mistakes
Life is unpredictable, so is the digital world, too! Most probably a moment will come that you will mess things up… Bite the bullet and own your mistakes, and then go on. Never try to put the blame on other people. It will cost you more than you can ever think.
Open your ears
Embrace feedback, even if that means that you suck in your duties. Feedback can help you and your project to make the next step. Maybe, you should hear out the complaints about the language or pictures you use for your cause. Feedback can make you way better and stronger.
Honor your words
What else can I say? When you promise something then you should fulfill your promise. If you don’t mean it then stay silent. People remember everything, especially how you make them feel. Unfortunately, we tend to forget happy feelings quite easily… but we never forget what or who or how someone let us down. Disappointing or poor decisions could terminate your cause.
One last tip
Evaluate the qualities of your team. In many cases, the founders of a cause or project are really bad in making healthy decisions. They should appoint someone else to be on top of the project. Or they should choose to invest their energy in PR & Marketing actions. Knowing who is the best choice for each role, can work wonders. But if you are not in the position to share hats, then seek for a mentor. Will guide you and will help you save energy and money.
We have asked some of the top experts their golden tip for creating a successful crowdfunding campaign. In the following days, we will gradually add their point of view.
Iliada – Evangelia Kothra
Well, everybody is talking about ”crowdfunding”. A lot of people would claim ”its about easy money!”. To tell you the truth it is not so easy. It is not so quick. And, yes, it takes a lot of tips to ”gain the game”. But for me, some of them are extremely important.
First of all, let’s start with ”focusing” on the target. On your audience. Your campaign must look like ”a full-time job”. Wake up early! Work on your campaign. Send e-mails. Respond to them. Be connected all the time. Build your own relationships. (What do you mean by ”I wanna stay in my bed all day?) The campaign should be your whole new ”family” at some point.
Practice your patience. Patience is a priceless virtue. Wait, wait, wait… But remember to set the right expectations. Be passionate and realistic at the same time. Don’t be afraid to be exposed, it’s about your dream after all! Share the effort with the right people. (Not with those that would love to see you fail. What do you mean by ”all my friends love me??”)
Above all, you have to understand that success is 90% preparation. Clear goals. A unique idea. Passion. Good co-workers (What do you mean by ” I do everything by myself, I don’t trust anyone. Really?”)
Trust your inner voice.
Iliada – Evangelia Kothra is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Living Postcards. She is a devoted traveler and celebrates the joy of life with her charismatic character. Meanwhile, you will find her between amazing projects and wearing many hats. She is the Whole Sales Director at MED Company. She also finds time to be an active writer at HuffPost Greece and at the Adorn Magazine in India. A few weeks ago, she launched an outstanding campaign to prevent violence against women: #DontAcceptit
To succeed at Crowdfunding, you need a mentor. Crowdfunding is a way of raising finance by asking a large number of people for a small amount of money. Traditionally, financing a business, project or venture involved asking a few people for large sums of money. Crowdfunding switches this idea around, using the internet to talk to thousands, millions, of potential funders.
A Mentor has a strategic role in the success of this process. A Mentor is the one who can guide you to avoid pitfalls of Crowdfunding. A mentor can help you look at the situation from a different, fresh and non-emotion perspective. Mentors share their knowledge and creativity with the Startup that is proceeding to a Crowdfunding Campaign. Mentorship is as much about knowledge transfer as it is about objective feedback. The Mentor is there for you to show you your reflection.
Vicky Evangeliou is a Freethinker as one who forms opinions on the basis of reason independently of authority. She is a Communication & Marketing Expert with 2 decades of business experience. 8 years at Johnson and Johnson as a business manager, marketing and sales executive in the medical/consumer sector.
More than a decade as Entrepreneur founding a Marketing & Communication agency, providing services in corporate, B2B and B2C environments, designing creative concepts for developing product launches, incentive programs, tourism destination marketing and management projects as well as project management for the implementation of Live communication campaigns.
Focused on developing concepts in Greece and Internationally for local and multinational clients having an expanded portfolio including fast moving consumer products, pharmaceutical, health and personal care, cosmetics, luxury and fashion products as well as automotive and financial services.
As Business Mentor I strongly believe that an entrepreneurial role model can positively affect the level of entrepreneurial success. A role model can also help entrepreneurs who may rely too much on personal experience to guide decision making. Although taking risks is important, the presence of role models, mentors and networks can provide a moderating effect on the overconfidence of entrepreneurs.
Vicky via Marketing Lead, act as a consultant providing “Out Of The Box” business development, brand alliance, marketing / pr, and social network marketing services for non-profits, start-ups and large corporations starting new divisions. She is the founder of VSN HUB, an active thinking tank of philosophy, culture, initiatives, and events that are reshaping Education, Communication, Entrepreneurship and Tourism in Greece.
Public Relations are one of the top factors which can actually secure your crowdfunding’s success. Yes, Public Relations can really help your crowdfunding campaign! Publicity is giving someone a reason to talk about you and your cause. If you really want to succeed in your campaign, you have to trust a Public Relations Consultant.
There are many reasons to hire a PR Consultant but the most important is that they know the right people. For someone out of the PR industry, the effort to build a strong networking circle could take months. With a support of a PR Consultant, you are investing in creating the best possible impact for your crowdfunding campaign.
The PR consultant will give you directions on the right actions you have to do, where and whom you have to meet, what content and posts you can share in your social media. Will lead you on how you can spread out your message to the right people. Will strategically introduce your campaign to the investors or companies that are willing to donate in your cause. Also will invite the perfect ambassadors for supporting your mission. In other words, will build a circle of strong voices and will help you to receive the best results.
Last but not least, a PR consultant will contact journalists and meet them in events, contact influencers and increase your awareness and prestige. This will drive you to the right investors that will help in your crowdfunding campaign.
Ariadne Nikaki is highly skilled and talented expert at public relations, with more than twenty years of demonstrated success in personal and business development, improving the brand image of a firm, accomplished through planning, designing and implementing strategies, initiatives, creative campaigns, and PR events, conferences, exhibitions, etc
Her PR company can provide high-quality PR services at Public Relations, Branding, Reputation Management, Media Relations, Image Making, “BrandYou”, Events, etc
Specialized in events regarding Medical Tourism, Medical Sector, Food & Wine Industry (Exhibitions, Tastings, Communication), New Business, Corporate Events, Cosmetics, Networking, Magazines
Crowdfunding has become a quite popular tool for startups, corporations, and nonprofits. But a successful crowdfunding campaign is a challenging goal, even for the most experienced marketing teams!
To start with the right foot, set your goals from day one. Define your mission and the impact your goal will have in real life. How are you going to improve your business or services with the upcoming financial support? Be extremely precise and transparent about your plans.
If you already know that you have devoted “early birds” supporters, I suggest you start with them, 8-10 weeks before the official launch of your crowdfunding campaign. Secure at least the 10-20% of the amount you need, and press the “start” button, with the most influencing names on the donators board. A strong beginning is halfway to the Success Town!
Get your campaign in track, as soon as possible! Offer perks for the big donations and a warm thank you note, for every cent you get. Kindness always opens new doors. And practice your patience and persistence. Wait. Wait. And wait. It takes time and effort.
Put your message out with as many ways as you can think! Share your crowdfunding campaign in social media, in newsletters, with friends, family members, and all your supporters. Don’t be shy… go live. Stay in front of the camera and attract the right attention. Tell your story.
Be bold. It will pay big!
George Spyrakis is an effective entrepreneur & sales leader with a passion for designing innovative solutions that bridge the gap between medical technology and patient experience. His current focus is on increasing HPV screening rate among women. He is the CEO & Founder of VollutoPR.com and EveKit.gr and several other startup projects. Connect with George and follow his path at LinkedIn, and Facebook.