In the eternal pursuit for funding, it is tempting for community groups to rely on just one or two…
Before you launch your project upon the world, think it through, from how you’ll tell your story, to how you’ll persuade people to support you. And note: video is non-negotiable.
- Make sure you understand how crowdfunding with your chosen crowdfunding platform works. Before you start, check out the FAQs, project guidelines, terms and conditions and fee structure.
- Many crowdfunding services offer the opportunity to discuss your idea with them. It’s a golden opportunity to get advice from the experts. They can answer any questions you have and also offer advice and feedback on your project. A good crowdfunding service will let you know if your project idea has a good chance of success or is bound to fail.
- Research at least 10 projects similar to your own. Get a sense of the kinds of rewards, descriptions and promotions that work well. Look at the projects that have reached their targets and see what methods they used to succeed. Don’t reinvent the wheel – use what works!
- Attend crowdfunding training. Our Community offers crowdfunding training – check out the calendar. Some other services offer their own workshops and training, so research what’s on offer.
- Devise a narrative and infuse it throughout your campaign. Why are you doing this project? Why is it important? Where did the idea come from? What does it mean to you? People want to support you and your story as much as they want to support your idea.
Setting targets and timeframes
- Consider how big your networks are. If you have few social media followers and a short email list, it’s probably not worth setting a big target. It’s not impossible to be successful without networks in place when you start, but it sure is trickier.
- Don’t run a campaign for less than 20 days unless you have a good reason or are super confident. You need time to disseminate your marketing material.
- Be realistic: don’t overstretch your target. Crowdfund what you actually need to make the project happen. There’s every chance you could raise more than the target, but you won’t raise anything at all if you don’t reach your target in the first place.
- Factor in the cost of delivering your rewards and the crowdfunding service fees when setting your target. It won’t all be net income; there are costs involved.
- Consider how much time you have on your hands. A crowdfunding campaign is a lot of work. On average, a project creator spends one hour every day on the campaign.
- Be clear about what you are crowdfunding for and where the money will be spent. It may be for part of a project or it may be for the whole thing; just make sure it’s clearly defined.
Describing your project
- Be succinct, be clear, be entertaining, be emotive and tell a story.
- Use lots of visuals and don’t write an essay. Most people won’t read your description in its entirety. Images and videos work best to get your message across.
- Get the critical information across early – what you’re raising funds for and why it’s important. People will often just scan the first paragraph or two.
- Include a basic budget. It will give potential supporters confidence you’ll spend the money responsibly.
- Come up with a memorable title. It should be clear, simple and short.
- If the platform you choose offers the opportunity to add your bio – do it. It will help build trust between you and potential supporters. Make sure your photo, username and bio paint a picture of you as professional, creative and motivated.
- Offering six to eight rewards is about right. Make sure there are distinct differences in price and in what’s on offer. People will tune out if your rewards aren’t easy to understand or if there are too many of them.
- Get creative. The uniqueness, quirkiness and diversity of your rewards make up an important part of your project’s narrative and marketability.
- Offer people experiences they can’t get anywhere else. Involve them in your project and offer them the opportunity to meet the people running it. Make them extras in your film, name characters in your book after them, or play a gig in a supporter’s backyard. Make your supporters feel special. See our ideas for rewards.
- People like it when you acknowledge them publicly. Thank them on Facebook. Put their name in your book. Credit them as an executive producer. Acknowledgements are easy to deliver and usually come at no financial cost.
- Use crowdfunding as a preselling mechanism. It’s a way for you to sell your album, tickets to your show, your new gadget or whatever else might be the result of your project.
- Star in your own video. People want to support you as much as they want to support your idea. They want to connect and hear your story. Yes, we know it’s scary. Doing things that scare you is a good thing.
- Be emotive. Make people laugh. Tug on heartstrings. Excite. Inspire. Fascinate. Just make them feel something!
- Tell a story. We really can’t stress this enough. If you take people on a journey there is every chance they will share in your excitement and enthusiasm for the project.
- Keep it under three minutes. Preferably two. You need enough time to get your message across, but you don’t want to harp on. You will lose people’s attention.
- Annotate your video (if you’re using Youtube, this means using one of those little links that pops up during playback) so that your video connects directly to your crowdfunding project.
- You don’t need to be Scorsese. There are plenty of good videos shot on phones or laptops. If you have a friend who’s a filmmaker, great, but don’t worry too much if you don’t. What’s important is that you achieve all of the above.