Part 1 – Preparing the ground
Because of the high success rate of projects on Fund it, at first glance, crowdfunding might look like an easy way to raise money. Yes, some projects reach their targets in just a few days and a handful of lucky creators have even reached their target in a matter of hours! This always causes great excitement when it happens, but (reality check!) this is very much the exception to the rule. Running a project is hard work, and projects DO fail on Fund it, so it’s definitely worth committing as much time as you can in preparation before you go live. If you heed the following sage words of advice, we hope you’ll have a successful and much-talked about campaign!
We’ve followed all the successful projects to date and put together the following pointers to help run the perfect campaign – one that experiences a speedy initial rally of pledges at the start, followed by a steady climb and then a final rally as deadline approaches. The recipe is a great idea/project, an engaged network of people to talk to; a steady flow of fresh and newsy information about your project and a well thought through set of rewards priced to get you to your financial target.
Review your social network – prior to going live on the site, and preferably before you submit a project to Fund it, you should review your contact networks (personal/organisational email lists, Facebook fans/friends, Twitter followers, etc) to make sure they are up to date and engaged. These communication channels are likely to be the primary resource you use to tell your story and invite people to pledge to your Fund it project, so make sure that everyone you know that you think might be a potential pledger is in there!
Maximise your network – when you have done a good job of tidying up your network, it’s time to examine those lists to understand how best these people can support you. Are there people on those lists who would be willing to help you spread the word about your project (especially those with large social networks themselves)? Perhaps you know a blogger or a journalist with an interest in your project or field of creativity? It’s worth contacting these people in advance of going live on Fund it to tell them what you’re planning to do and ask for their help. If you get their agreement, don’t just leave it at that – be specific about what you’d like them to do, and when.
Think smart – even if you don’t have any or many influential people in your network, you should identify people who might have an interest in your field of creativity. Contact them and explain what you are planning to do, and how it might be of interest to them.
Do the sums – you need to be confident that you can get to your campaign total. Be mindful of the value of the ‘main’ reward in your campaign – the one you feel most people will select. If you want to raise €1,000 and it costs €10 to download the album you are recording, then you need to be confident that there are at least 100 people in your network that will definitely pledge that. The reality is that the average pledge amount on Fund it is higher than that (between €40 and €50), so this gives you a bit of latitude to work with, and really attractive higher value rewards will help drive people to pledge higher amounts. However, you may well find that only about 10% of people in your network pledge to your project, so it’s important that you plan how to engage people who don’t know you or your work in the project and get them to pledge.
Start the conversation – when developing your Fund it submission, you should get in touch with a few close friends/followers to ask their advice on your pitch, your video, whether the rewards are appealing, etc. Often, you will be able to get valuable feedback from this, which you can include in your project before submitting (this will help reduce the time it takes between submitting your project and going live). Some Project Creators have even started an online discussion about their project before going live, soliciting feedback on pitch, rewards etc. One of the great benefits of doing this is that your friends might suggest new ideas or offer you some great rewards which you can offer to people that support your project.
Keep the conversation going and keep it fresh – have a think about all the different things you could talk about in relation to your project. You’ll see yourself that it can get very boring if projects are only communicating to ask for money or to say what % they are at. The most interesting projects talk about the progress of the project itself, more detail about what they hope to achieve, some information about the people involved. This is worth working out in advance so it always sounds fresh, newsy and interesting. This is where you hope that others will share the facts to their own networks.
Talk through your project as much as you can before submitting it. Once a project goes live, things cannot be changed!