Robert C. Osborne, Jr., Principal, The Osborne Group, Inc.
If you go to any crowdfunding platform and search past the featured projects on the home page you’ll see that many, if not most of these projects are well behind in their goals. Sometimes it is because the project
isn’t a very compelling one, sometimes it is because the media associated with project isn’t very well done, and sometimes it’s because the rewards aren’t well thought out. But I would argue that in almost all cases the real underlying reason for lack of success is a lack of planning.
Here are some tips for successful crowdfunding:
If you build it they will NOT come - If you simply throw up a crowd funding project on IndieGoGo or some other crowdfunding website and hope that people will stumble across it and give, you are in for disappointment. This pretty much never happens. You need to drive people to your project and this takes a little thought and planning.
Think through your media – Having good pictures and video for your crowdfunding campaign is critical. Take the time to think through what your messages are. Remember that you want to talk about future impact. What will be different in the world tomorrow because I gave money to your project today?
Find volunteers - Weeks before you launch your campaign you need to line up volunteers to help you spread the word. Take the time to research people who might help you. Who do you know with large social media networks? Who already knows about and believes in your work? Check out their Facebook pages and LinkedIn profiles and see if they know other well connected people that they may enlist to your cause.
Approach friends and family for gifts before you launch – To build credibility for your project and to make it more likely for people to stumble across your project, get your friends, family and closest supporters to give on day one. Most crowdfunding platforms will move you up the search results based on the percentage of your project funded, the amount of social media sharing it has garnered, etc. Start off right away as a hot project by soliciting donations in advance and having everyone execute their donation on the first day of the project.
Create as many of your materials in advance as possible - This will make your life easier during the campaign, but even more importantly, it will ensure that you actually make regular updates on your project because the work will have already been done. You can even use something like Hootsuite to schedule your tweets and posts in advance.
Approach bloggers and traditional media in advance - Spend some time doing a little research on blogs and media that might be willing to support your project. Trust me, bloggers are always looking for content and you can make it easy for them. Provide them with information, pictures, etc. and ask them to post something at your launch.
Good campaigns take real planning. By spending some time on preparation you’ll greatly increase your chances of success.
Robert works on major gift fundraising, campaign readiness, donor identification, major donor strategy development, stewardship and developing an effective communications plan and specializes in organizational management, including strategic planning and development office start-ups. Robert serves on the Board of CitySquash in NYC and is on the Advisory Board of the Czech Fundraising Centre in Prague, Czech Republic. He will be presenting at Congress 2013 in Toronto. You can follow him twitter at @bobosborne17