What I Learned About Crowdfunding

I did a really fun campaign from June 23 to July 23 this year to fund my first book tour with EPIC FAIL super win, and to share music and research on the theme of DIY–a passion of mine. It even involves a DIY vinyl doll!

While I did not reach full funding, I feel the campaign was a success, and I was able to fund travel for a limited version of the tour and make great strides with my project! (More details soon, here on the blog!)

Can I just say, this was a very exciting, scary and fun experience. I used the platform Indiegogo, and I had the great fortune of working with a campaign advisor. I laughed. I cried. I wanted to quit doing it about a thousand times. Still, I'd recommend this to any passionate person needing to fund a small project.

The whole campaign is archived here, if you'd like to check out my pitch and page!

This post actually turned out to be eleven pages long, so what you see here is a simple outlined list. If you'd like to download the full article for your reader or to print out, you can do so here: PDF  ePub

So, without further ado, let me share with you the bulleted list of 16 things I learned about crowdfunding!

1. Doing it right is a part to full time job, and your boss is the public.

  • Doing the campaign itself is going to take up 5 to 10 hours a week
  • Plan to adjust that and carve out a slice of time for the success of your project.

2. Research the best platform for you, and use the tools they provide on their site.

  • Kickstarter - popular, all or nothing
  • Indiegogo - international, flexible
  • Rocket Hub - fresh, great for businesses

3. Make your project scalable, if you choose flexible funding versus all-or-nothing.

  • You will want to map out a plan for what you will do to complete the project if you don't get fully funded.
  • Be prepared to do some extra writing and explaining, since people will be curious how you'll handle it.

4. When choosing project scope, know: campaigning is a lifestyle (at least for a while!)

  • You’ll stay in touch with your funders beyond even the completion of the project. They are part of fabric of what you're doing.

5. Get a team. Preferably made up of superheroes.

  • At a minimum, round up a few people you trust to be accountability partners.
  • Actually delegate.
  • Tell people to re-post your site using the platform's preferred tools. 

6. Organize beyond the pitch page. Consistency is crazy important.

  • Break everything into little chunks, then try to do a little every day.

7. Pictures, Videos, Audio & Text.

  • When you’re asking for something, try not to make people read a lot.
  • Distill what you're saying into graphics.
  • Watch other people's pitch videos. 
  • Use the free and available resources you have on your computer and online. 
  • Make it fun or compelling as possible ...don't be afraid to show personality! 

Download the full article for free here!  PDF  ePub

8. You will definitely be asked to “sell” the concept.

  • Come up with a simplified one or two sentence explanation of the pitch. 
  • Print cards out that have the info on it, keep them on you. 
  • Know the answers to questions you might get. 
  • Don’t let it get to you.  
  • Just be yourself and ask people to get involved. 

9. Pick a money goal that is honest & fair to you.

  • If your project is going to cost 5K to complete, you sort of have to ask for 5K
  • Don't look at perk pricing from your own financial standpoint - think about the value of the perk and the amount you need to raise

10. Be prepared for rejection, criticism, and technical difficulties.

  • Read all the rules and regulations completely! 
  • Understand when people tell you no.

11. It helps to build Social Media presence & momentum before the campaign starts.

  • Get your follower numbers up as much as possible. Social is the fastest way to spread the word.
  • Make it easy for people to re-post by filling in the blanks for them. 
  • Be aware of how your social is connected to avoid bombarding people with the same posts. 
  • Put your campaign link in EVERYTHING. 

12. Don’t include stuff you will hate doing in the perks or project.

  • Be personal and sincere in the perks.
  • Be realistic in your ability to create or more importantly mail the perks. 
  • Calculate not just cost, but time when you set up the project.

13. Be a communications champion.

  • Use the phone.
  • Take time to visit people.  
  • After the campaign wraps, keep communicating and updating. 

14. When funding closes, it’s just the beginning.

  • Schedule a couple of weeks of rest time between the campaign end date and the start of the project.
  • Be prepared for the adjustment from "campaign mode" to "project mode".

15. Make the most of what you have received.

  • If you received all of your goal, do all of your project!
  • If you received a portion with flexible funding, then get excited about the portion of the goal that you CAN do! This is when your work in planning a fall-back budget will pay off. 
  • If you did not hit goal or receive funds, use the experience for all it's worth... write out what you think went wrong, and how you could do better. Revamp, and try again! If crowdfunding is not for you, then you can at least say you tried it! 

16. Take time to reflect and be thankful.

  • Carve out ten minutes at the beginning or end of every day to do this. It will pay off.
  • Thank people on your social networks as comments, shares and contributions come in. It's easier, and helps remind you why you're doing all the hard work.

Serena Andrews

Good luck, and feel free to reach out to me as always with any comments, questions or conversations! All my social links listed here on the site!

Download the full article for free here!  PDF  ePub