Learn how to set up and create your own crowdfunding campaign!
To successfully prepare a crowdfunding campaign there are a number of steps that must be considered, from setting the objective up to the marketing and communication strategy, each one requiring careful planning and attention to details.
|||Set a clear objective: To create a crowdfunding campaign you have to set a clear objective and make sure that this goal is shared by funders, staff and partners. The clearer, more concise and specific you are, the better the chances that the crowdfunding campaign will live up to the funding goals you have set. The key to running a successful campaign is to focus on one prioritized objective and seek finance for that. You have also to consider that smart planning can and should involve asking experts for assistance, as to make your objective smart!|
Set your funding target: To set your funding target you have to begin with your financial plan. To define the right amount you would like to raise with your campaign, you have to specify all costs and outlays of the project and account for the platform’s fees and other campaign related costs
Identify the fitting type: It is important that your project’s characteristics match the crowdfunding type that you will choose. Each type of crowdfunding has its own funding limits, so after setting your financial needs you can move on to identify the types of crowdfunding that best suit your project. Be also aware of the risk regarding crowdfunding campaigns set on all-or-nothing terms. Keeping in mind all these factors, you have to choose the most suitable type of crowdfunding for your project or you can combine various types using the mixed model.
Set out your value proposition: To set out your value proposition you have to find out your target group’s preferences and create attractive rewards and perks to capture your funders’ attention. It is also important to prepare a convincing story where you explain your backers why you are running the campaign, what’s the project about and why and how they should support you. It is also very effective to present yourself, the organization and the current status of the project.
Communication and marketing: Before you launch the campaign, you have to conduct a thorough research to find benchmarks for your project, to try to relate your campaign to relevant news, topics and events and to find the best channels and multipliers for your communication actions. You also have to prepare usable information for your funders and followers not only in a digital way, but as well, depending on the situation, via traditional marketing media that could complement your digital efforts. The more you keep your community informed, the better chances you have to gain support. Finally, focus on your inner circle and existing networks first, then try to reach new communities by leveraging influencers and various communication channels that you will have identified before. Recent research, in fact, shows that the so-called “third circle” may be even more important for the campaign’s success, as it enjoys wide following.
Once the groundwork is done, the time has come to put your campaign online. You may set up your own campaign site with DIY (“do it yourself”) crowdfunding and payment tools or you can register on an existing platform. The opted-for type of crowdfunding determines which selection of platforms may suit your needs best. Just remember:
One of the advantages of crowdfunding is that your campaign effort does not start from zero; first of all you have to review your personal and business networks to engage with them and get input. Then you can move on to create a community for your campaign, which involves heavy use of social media platforms and other channels. To better deal with the workload, you may want to set up a strong campaign team. In general, be aware that sharing visual content and asking questions are engaging ways to communicate your crowdfunding project on social media, and to attract audience. However, you have to keep your tone appropriate for your networks and post only relevant and diverse content.
Substantial effort needs to be done for the development of an attractive incentive structure custom-tailored for your audience. Such structure depends on the type of crowdfunding you have chosen, and the profile of your project. To create compelling incentives for your backers, think what your target group likes - ask them if you don’t know - and to understand their motivation in financing your project. To have a general idea you can also look at similar campaigns. In general, no matter what crowdfunding type, you have always to keep costs as low as possible, create perks that appear valuable and scale up by introducing thresholds. In the case of reward crowdfunding, think about categories and don´t forget to set small and big rewards. On a case by case basis:
Donation: In the case of donation-based crowdfunding, funders are primarily driven by philanthropic values and they want to see promised benefits unfold for the charity cause that they are financing. They will certainly appreciate your “thank you” and perhaps giving back something small with no economic value could be a good idea.
Rewards: No matter what the subject of your campaign is, the perks you develop and offer should be exclusive, as this increases their perceived value. Consider that rareness of perks may increase the attractiveness of your campaign: you could ask third parties for rewards that you can use in your campaign if you can’t offer them yourself.
Lending: In the case of lending, funders are mainly financially driven, which means that the strongest incentive for them is the financial one. In this case, compelling incentives could be a competitive interest rate, high enough to be enticing but as low as possible at the same time. They also value frequent and early returns.
Equity: With equity-based crowdfunding you have to bear in mind that funders are long-term investors and they are mainly interested in the potential growth of your project: they want to be part of a success story! Also in this case any perk you could offer them will be welcome.
Setting a campaign’ goal is not an easy task and it requires some thorough consideration, as the campaign’s final outcome will be largely determined by the credibility of the overall goal and how it is communicated. In the very first place, you have to be realistic about the financial goal of your campaign. Once more, consider that lowering goal increases success rate and depending on the situation you still can stretch the goal and take in more money. Every crowdfunding campaign, regardless of the type, involves costs. Before the campaign starts, you should spend time on understanding, comparing and selecting alternatives, in order to define and make these costs as low as possible.
In general, before campaign starts you should check its message and rewards with a small group, as that will help you in your careful consideration about competition and target group. After doing this you should put effort in articulating your campaign goal: you should be consistent with a clear message on project and benefits as that would be very appreciated by the audience. At the same time the most important thing for your campaign’s success is to ensure that the audience’s values match your project’s, because it will help the audience commit more easily to it. Finally, concerning the campaign timing, you have to consider in advance external factors that might have an impact on it: include on your radar all kinds of relevant events or festivities and distinguish whether they could foster or hinder your case, so that you can adapt your campaign's strategy accordingly.
For a successful crowdfunding campaign a very powerful tool to use is a video pitch. Just consider that 50% of projects that include video get funded, against only 30% of those that do not. To create it you have to make sure that your video story is appealing ,interesting and convincing, as well as consistent with your value proposition. Even if you are not a professional video maker you could create a nice video: all you need is a camera, a video editing software tool, and our suggestions.
Tell a good story: Everybody gets caught by a good and well-told story, so it is important that your video includes a good opening, middle and end sequences and thereby a subject and an action. In particular, people want to know who you are, what you are doing and why you are doing that, how you came to using crowdfunding and why you need their support. You have to make a good case to get people’s support.
Give it a face: For your campaign’s success it is important to make the video emotional and touching. You have to introduce yourself to the potential backers, show your face and try to look trustworthy (you would not give money to someone that you have never seen or that does not look trustworthy to you). Academic studies have shown that a positive personal impression increases the possibility of having people invest in your project. In brief, be yourself and be authentic.
Keep it short: People´s attention span is quite short, so you should limit your video pitch at less than 3 minutes of length – even if this seems too short for you, it is enough. Just leave out everything non-essential.
Say thank you: It might be taken for granted, but saying “thank you” is always appreciated by people that have spent their time on watching your video, even by those that do not pledge any money.
Make it fun: Always keep in mind that the video must not be boring. Once you have your first version, ask your friends for feedback, so that you can understand whether they find it boring and how it can be improved.
Use a stool: To have a higher quality shooting, you should use a tripod or a stool, which will provide stable images and will help you make a professional impression.
Background sound: You could use a fitting audio track as background sound, since this feature will likely strengthen the impression you will make on watchers. Check for websites that offer royalty-free sound files and then select your suitable audio track.
Editing: If you don´t have any experience in video editing it will be better for you to use only straight cuts, that is no corny transitions between clips. You can also check websites offering low-cost editing software.
A fundamental change has occurred in the way we do things, and it is the starting point for entirely new opportunities regarding fundraising, business models, marketing, distribution, and so on. Using social media for your campaign can be very useful not only for brand awareness and marketing, but it can as well give you the means to address a larger audience. However, it is important to highlight that not all your funding would come from social media. The advantage about using social media can come only if you know how to use them in a strategic way, that is to increase the possibilities for your campaign to be successful. In brief, you have to involve your audience during and after the campaign, and win over target groups by confidence-building communication. Remember that a smart communication strategy provides extensive leverage.
When your campaign is over, enjoy having achieved your goal. But keep in mind that from the perspective of your supporters you still have to deliver on your promises. If you have clearly communicated the benefits for your contributors, do all these benefits show up? If so, you have to inform your audience, give updates and keep communicating. Generally, depending on the characteristics of your specific project, it will be in your interest to keep your community and make it lively. You have to keep interest up on your project and inform supporters on your next steps. You should be aware that motivations for people participating in crowdfunding fall into different categories. Usually it is a mix of them, but there may be a major one which needs consideration in order to match the respective expectations with your communication policies. Following the three possible motivation drivers:
- Social return
These funders are driven by philanthropic values and they do not expect any material or financial return. They want to see the project delivering the benefits you had promised; substantially, the value derives from benefits for others.
- Material return
In the case of pre-sales or reward crowdfunding the funders are motivated primarily by the product or service you offer. The funder contributes to the project in advance and provides working capital in exchange for the goods or services, whose value may be perceived as higher than the economic one. Make sure your funders are satisfied and that they know how to get your offer going forward.
- Financial return
Equity and lending funders are chiefly financially driven. Keep your funders informed, especially on positive developments of the company. Another very important aspect is to pay interest and dividends always punctually. Well-informed and satisfied investors will always be open to new initiatives like a new product or a follow-on financing round. So keep them informed, also when there are setbacks.
Start your Project
Once the crowdfunding campaign is over, you have to develop your project idea. First of all, you can think at what you have achieved with your campaign. The funders now know your story and what you have to offer, and have been convinced enough to act. Furthermore, there is a wider audience familiar with your project. And you have learned many lessons in campaigning and acquiring. No matter what your product or service is and how you plan to expand, your campaign’s community is your customer base. By now, you know what they like, what matters to them and their preferences. These are the best ingredients for developing loyalty.
Use the Spider Gram to map your network and identify the individuals and/or organizations you need to engage to support your crowdfunding campaign.Download
Use the Crowdfunding Canva to prepare and layout your campaign: write down your vision, set up your strategy, and identify your ideal crowdfunding model!Download
Use the Campaign Checklist to be sure you covered all the essential steps before launching your campaign!Download