- Start With Your Own Network
To make a crowdfunding project successful you have to start with your own ‘crowd’ – your own network. Make sure that ALL your channels of communication are in good order. Do you have a good list of email supporters or subscribers? Does your organisation’s Facebook have a healthy following? Do you use Twitter regularly? If the answer to any of the above is no, then you need to get these areas in order. You won’t get donations from others on a crowdfunding site until you have a good amount of traction from your own network. And because crowdfunding happens online, it helps to be a whizz at using Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites to spread the word about your project.
As in all good fundraising, research is the key to success. Take a look at what others are doing. Are there similar projects out there? How do they promote their work? Were they successful? How can you make your project different? Adapt and apply what you learn to your own project. Becoming a ‘secret shopper’, by supporting another crowdfunding campaign is a great way to gain direct insights into the process of crowdfunding.
It takes time to build a good campaign, so set a date and work backwards! Ask yourself this question: where do you want to be and how are you going to get there? If you want to launch a crowdfunding campaign in the spring, start working towards it in the autumn. Give yourself at least six months to get all the components in place.
- Create A Compelling Story
Develop your project and associated budget. You need to know how much money you want to raise and what it will be used for. Build your case for support and create a compelling story, making sure you emphasise the benefits! Most organisations showcase their stories on crowdfunding sites through a short 2-3 minute film or with photographs. How are you going to tell your story? With film/animation/infographics/vox pops/interviews and remember you need to capture your audience in the first 15 seconds!
- Graphic Assets
- Aim high – budget for design professionals
- Think about look and feel – personal & professional
- Include audio visual & motion graphics
- Design Facebook/website banners – ensuring a uniform brand identity
- Visually link ALL your social media cohesively
Launch your online fundraising effort by reaching out to your own network. Tell everyone you know about your campaign – including your donors, supporters, staff, volunteers, board, etc. Ask them to email out the campaign to everyone they know, and to ask their entire network to donate to the cause. Raising small sums from hundreds of strangers is hard work, but with the right preparation it can be fun and very rewarding. Good luck!
Dolma Beresford, Director, The Meridian Trust
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net