So you have a great idea but you don’t have funding? Aside from begging your parents, skipping meals, and buying a Mega Millions ticket, crowdfunding is the most accessible way to fundraise. I’ve recently completed a Kickstarter campaign and thankfully, we successfully raised over $30k. It was a tremendous learning experience, and I've compiled a few tips on how to stand out from the crowd while crowdfunding.
1. Pick a Platform
Everyone is familiar with Kickstarter, but there are a variety of crowdfunding websites available. It’s crucial that you find the site that aligns with your project and its needs. Some platforms only allow you to collect funds if you reach your goal. Others allow for flexible funding. So whether you raise 100% or 20% of your ask, you’ll walk away having benefitted. Among the top crowdfunding sites are: Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, WeFunder, Startup Addict, Piggybackr and Quirky. Each aims at assisting different types of projects. Startup Addict targets fundraisers for up-and-coming businesses, Piggybackr is for youth fundraisers, and Quirky aims to help inventors.
So once you have your idea, identify which platform will help you reach your intended support group.
2. Determine Your Core
This part should be easy, because if you’re creating something, be it a business, film, or product, you’ve already determined who’s going to be interested in your creation. Those with an immediate connection to your project are going to be first money in and will likely encourage others to contribute. Figure out who and where they are and start contacting them!
3. Inform Without Exhausting
Crowdfunding isn’t new. By now, most people have probably gotten an email or Facebook message informing them of a Kickstarter campaign. It will be important to let people know about your campaign without exhausting them. No one wants a million emails about your project. Be tasteful and timely when making contact with donors. And remember, all help is good! Sometimes people won’t be able to make a monetary donation but they’ll be willing to spread the word. Take advantage of this offer! It is equally important.
4. Contact Social Media Tastemakers
Social media will be crucial to spreading the word outside of your immediate family and friends. Blogs and online magazines are constantly looking for content. Contact outlets that will be interested in your project. When I was in the midst of my own campaign, a blog helped us reach our goal within 12 hours of posting about our film.
5. Show Gratitude
Whether you’ve reached your goal or not, give thanks to those that have supported your cause. Not only is it important to show how people have impacted your project, saying thanks for each contribution will also help you stay encouraged. You will have tangible proof of how much your circle believes in your vision. Plus, once people know that you’re grateful for every penny you drum up, they’ll be more willing to help, financially or via word of mouth.