What is crowdfunding? If you’ve been living under a rock (or under some kind of dystopian anti-technology regime), then let me break it down for you. Crowdfunding typically involves using online platforms to raise money for causes, business/product ideas, events and much more. As I have backed many campaigns before and created one with my partner earlier in the month, I figured I’d make this post to share some quick tips and tricks to get you started:
Have a clear goal
Basically, have a solid plan for what you’ll be putting the funds towards and try your best to estimate how much you’ll need. Remember though, some sites are more flexible than others and will allow you change your monetary goal as you see fit.
Make a pitch that you can actually back up
As a study by Galuszka and Bystrov (2014) found, the main reason people supported projects by musicians was that they liked the music and wanted to download it. If you have a quality product, there are people out there willing to pay for it. So don’t just say it’s great, make it great!
Pick the appropriate platform
Some crowdfunding sites are used for very different purposes. Gofundme is aimed at causes and charity, while kickstarter and indiegogo can be used for products, art projects, etc. Search around and find the one that suits your needs.
Be wary of fees
The sites I’ve mentioned all charge varying fees (around 7-10 percent) so keep this in mind. Also, consider asking for offline donations as some sites will allow you to list these on your campaign page without incurring additional charges.
Consider opening a new bank account
I’d highly recommend this as it keeps the money nice and organised, separate from your personal savings. Aim for an account with high interest to gain yourself that little bit extra.
Use a video
This way you can talk directly to your potential backers and it looks much more sincere, personal and interesting than a wall of text alone (see my example below). You may want to make a longer video if your pitch is more elaborate.
Ask people to share on social media if they can’t afford to give money
They’ll feel good for helping out and you get more exposure. It’s a win-win.
Make an effort offline as well
For our campaign to support underprivileged students in Vanuatu, my partner and I organised a pancake breakfast for our friends where everyone who came donated $10. This is just one example, but being creative and extending your efforts beyond the digital world can be of great benefit.
I hope you found these tips useful. Feel free to add any of your own in the comments section.
Galuszka, P and Bystrov, V 2014, ‘The rise of fanvestors: a study of a crowdfunding community’, First Monday: Peer-Reviewed Journal on the Internet, vol. 19, no. 5, http://firstmonday.org/article/view/4117/4072.