So you have an idea and you need some funding? Try Crowdfunding. Crowdfunding allows you to access your vast network of family, friends, acquaintances and strangers alike to fund your project and take it to the next level while gaining national exposure via the network of startup supporters found on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
Step One: Define Your Needs
The first step is to define your project and define what you need to achieve this. On kickstarter, the system is set up as all or nothing; meaning, you either make your goal and get a payout or you don’t make your goal, and you get nothing. Keep this in mind while you are defining your goal. Don’t set it to low or you won’t be able to deliver on your promise but don’t set it too high or you won’t be able to reach your goal and then you really can’t complete your project. There really is a sweet spot to setting your goal. Set up a list of what you need and create a realistic budget. With this budget you will be able to set a realistic goal that meets, but does not exceed your needs. This will also come in handy as you set up your profile as you can show your supporters what you will be spending their money on. This accountability is key to bringing in the donations.
Step Two: Multimedia
Get out the camera and start letting people know about your project. An informative, funny and well put together video can mean the difference between success and failure. These pictures and videos need to act as your advertising. Start with an informative video about your project, yourself and the others on your team; get the people on your side by explaining what you are working on and why it’s important to you. Use your budget to explain why you need the funds, the more detailed the better this will make the viewer’s feel like the donation they make is actually being appreciated and will be used for something worthwhile. Next, post pictures or videos of the progress you have made if you are working on the project concurrently. These types of videos go a long way as well to show potential backers that you are passionate about the project and would be doing it with or without the money. I recommend a minimum of one update a week during the duration of your campaign. Kickstarter is a social media platform that updates backers of activity on your page, so the more energy you put into your page the more likely your backers are to share it with others and create a buzz. If you think you have too many pictures or videos, make one more, it won’t hurt.
Step Three: Make a good list of gifts
Kickstarter gives you the chance to offer gifts to your backers in exchange for their donations. Do not underestimate the power of these gifts. Start by setting some donation goals very low ($5) to give anyone a chance to donate and help out even if they are in a financial bind. These gifts can be as simple as recognition on the website or a sticker. Then begin to broaden your reward levels ($10, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000) creating more involved and personal rewards for each level. Make sure you keep in mind that if someone is donating $1000 they deserve a nice reward and should be considered as an investor in your project. They own a little piece of what you are working on, so treat them as such. When creating your rewards structure, try looking at some recently funded projects and seeing if any of the rewards they used would work for your project.
Step Four: Rep yourself
This is the hardest part of the campaign for many fund searchers, get on the phone and call your family and friends; send emails to everyone in your network, and assault social media, especially in the first few weeks of the campaign. Remember that the people that are closest to you are the most likely to donate to your cause. Getting this base of family and close friends will help to push your page to the top of the local area pages featured on the Kickstarter website and could as well push your project on to the lists of, “popular” or “staff picks”. This can help to boost your page to onlookers in the kickstarter community who may have otherwise not stumbled upon your page.
Step Five: Follow Through
Make sure you maintain contact with your backers and continue to add content to keep them interested and informed. Once you have reached your goal get to work and get to work quickly. Nothing will please your backers more than seeing your project come to fruition. But don’t get so focused you forget about your reward gifts. Get them out as fast as you can to ensure your backers feel appreciated for the donations they have made.
Happy Funding, no project is too big to take on so dream big and go for it, your backers believe in you!!