Why do we give our money, time and expertise to projects or causes? Are we fulfilling fantasies of being a movie producer, cartoonist, author, etc. by giving to a product or project in order to feel like we are helping bring it to life? Crowdfunding has changed the way people donate to causes in a variety of ways, combining physical fundraising with the viral quality of digital. More and more artists, organizations and entrepreneurs are turning to the alternative source of project financing that is crowdfunding. If you’re thinking of going the crowdfunding route, you're probably wondering how to approach it. How should you reach out to potential funders and supporters outside of your own personal circle? How can you keep current and potential funders interested in your endeavor? Check out the tips below to get your crowdfunding project off the ground.
Before jumping on the crowdfunding bandwagon, think of the motivations behind your potential project. Verify that you have the time and resources necessary to sustain the pre-, during, and post- stages of a crowdfunding endeavor, and do not underestimate the cost involved. Crowdfunding requires investment in capital and financial resources. Keep in mind that the crowdfunding model works on a premium basis: you will gain, but you will have to give in return. Bottom line is, nobody is going to be throwing his or her hard-earned money at you. Your project will only raise attention if you’re willing to put time, resources, and effort into it.
Yes, you are asking people for $5, but what you are really asking them to do is to believe in you.
The goal of crowdfunding (other than raising money) is to do business with people who believe in what you believe in. These are people who haven’t necessarily tried your product or seen your project, listened to your music or seen your show yet, but who trust your idea enough to get behind it. For this reason, building a relationship of trust and transparency is critical to your first impression and success. People will be much more likely to fund and talk positively about a project that gives them access to details and regular updates. Don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. Who are you? Why should your backers spend their money on your project? Make sure you answer these questions clearly. It’s important to be open and communicative about every step of your project and your story so that people trust you and your project with their money.
Engage, cultivate, and repeat
Crowdfunding widens your audience and encourages you to have conversations on different fronts. Seize every opportunity to promote your project in the most positive way possible, without turning it into an insurance sales pitch. Use a variety of media (photos, videos, etc.) to keep your potential funders engaged. Keep in mind that people are constantly solicited through social media, so your messaging should be concise, relatable, tangible and, most importantly, inclusive. Don’t be shy when it comes to asking people to share the project and spread the message. After all, if the project is successfully funded, everyone involved is part of a winning team.
The power of social media
One frequent mistake made by people when planning out their Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign is not thinking of the long-term benefits of conducting a crowdfunding campaign. Think of the planetary reach of social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (Six degrees of separation, anyone?). These social networking platforms have made it easier than ever to reach out to your target audience and to international media. Once you know who your target media or audience is, go get ‘em wherever they are in the world - they are just an email away!
More than just money
Crowdfunding is about more than just the money. The advantages of crowdfunding, when done properly, are many. Crowdfunding presents an opportunity to build an early fan-base, validate and improve your concept, reach a wide audience in a cost-effective way, and much more. All along the journey, make sure you express your gratitude to those who believe in your idea. Keep the conversation going and make your public part of this exciting ride.
Keeping your pledgers and funders updated on the progress of your campaign is vital. Be honest with your supporters and always keep your promises to them. There is no magic recipe for a successful crowdfunding campaign, but there are certainly some essential ingredients, such as conversation, positivity, investment and transparency.
Have you ever used crowdfunding to bring a project to fruition? Feel free to share stories, insights and success from your own experience in the comments section and/or by submitting your own story to culture365. Culture Days looks forward to hearing from you!
For more expert advice, check out Digital Marketing: Tips for the Novice to the Seasoned Pro, Part 1. Also, more videos featuring advice on digital marketing, crowdfunding, and sponsorship are coming soon, so be sure to keep coming back to culture365 and subscribe to the Culture Days newsletter for regular updates!
- See more at: http://culturedays.ca/blog/2014/08/18/digital-marketing-tips-novice-seasoned-pro-part-2/#sthash.P5TgAW4X.dpuf
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