The unfortunate statistic surrounding crowdfunding is that a large fraction of crowdfunding campaigns do not succeed. Data from some of the world’s top crowdfunding platforms, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, as well as from India’s popular platforms, including Milaap, Ketto, and Impact Guru, indicates the truth of this claim.
Critics of crowdfunding as the champion alternative mode of fundraising are fond of belting this pessimistic observation out. Industry insiders, on the other hand, maintain that there is plenty to be learned from the mistakes of those crowdfunding campaigners whose campaigns have not gone anywhere near meeting their targets.
Successful crowdfunding campaigners tend to follow certain action steps that insulate their projects from the possibility of failure. What holds these people together is a certain canniness, a thorough understanding of how crowdfunding works. Since they know the process better than the average Joe, they are able to play by most rules, and tweak a few, to garner attention and endowments for their ventures.
Here’s a quick list of things that accomplished crowdfunders do:
- Successful campaigners have a good story: Campaigners who attract the most donations or meet their target, or both, will generally have a striking story to share. This story will almost always have a human interest perspective that the casual reader will slip into without having to make a significant effort. Additionally, the story needs to be compelling told, in simple and accessible language, and told to move rather than to sensationalize. A majority of donors make contributions when they have been touched emotionally.
- They have great visual matter: A good fundraiser story is often backed by excellent photos and a video. Campaigners who have run successful campaigns on local and foreign crowdfunding platforms add high-quality photos and a good, informative video to their fundraiser micro site. Experts advise prospective campaigners to spend time creating the fundraiser video, because people focus more on the graphic components of a fundraiser, and telling audio/visuals can make or break a campaign.
- They have a marketing strategy: How your fundraiser will do depends directly on how well you sell your story. A strong and skillfully planned marketing strategy will not only take care of pitch ideas, but plan and schedule for what social media handles will be used for publicity, how often, and whether paid public relations activity will be leveraged for promoting the crowdfunding campaign.
- They offer some valuable reward: What is formally described as rewards-based crowdfunding is not common, at least not in our part of the world. However, as a campaigner, you have an obligation to your donors to offer them something they truly value in exchange for supporting your campaign. If you will not send out small gifts, consider at least writing personalized thank you notes to everyone. Offer as much transparency as you can about fund utilization plans as a courtesy to your contributors.
- They have an audience: Having said what successful campaigners do differently from others, they sometimes have the added advantage of possessing great social networks. The crowdfunding pitch has to go out to the world, and owners of large, close-knit networks can count on high visibility for their fundraiser, as well as social media sharing to draw more donors.
When you examine what achievers in crowdfunding have done, you’ll agree that the best campaigners do not strategize very differently from their less successful counterparts. They are better at implementing the commonest of online fundraising tips, and they improvise cleverly to get the best aid from empathetic donors.