Crowdfunding – Community Building

Now is the time to send the influencers on your list an email and asked them for advice about your campaign. Be sure to mention that you read their post/article/book. If you mention that you enjoyed reading it, you will increase the likelihood they will reply to your request. Prioritize your list of influencers and focus on sites and people that are the most active. Read and share information in your topic area to build trust with them before also asking them to support your campaign. Even if you do all the right things, expect about a 10% return rate on your cold contacts. However, with a few good social shares, some campaigns have been able to boost their return rates to 15-20%.

Start sending out emails to your list as you count down to the launch to build momentum. Now is the time to try to get committed backer support prior to your launch date. If necessary, make their pledge contingent on reaching a specific funding level. For example, you might say, “Can I count on you to support us at the platinum level if we raise 20% percent of our goal?” If they are not receptive, ask, “How about supporting us at the gold level?” If necessary, go all the way and ask, “Will you at least support us at the $10 High-Five level?” If you don’t ask, most people will not pledge because this is the point in the campaign where you begin to ask for their pledges. Based on successful campaigns, your goal should be to get about 20% of your target amount in pre-launch pledges from your network.

Another effective way to build a community is to have a launch party. The best launch parties build enthusiasm for the campaign and have a creative twist to make them memorable. Perhaps you can buy a canvas and some paint from an art supply company and encourage everyone at the launch party to contribute to a painting you will post on the blog and giver away as a reward after the campaign. Don’t be afraid to be creative and don’t forget to ask for pledges at the launch party.

Your list of committed backers is different from the ideal backer since your committed backers at this point likely include family and friends. Drew Johnson, a colleague of mine that ran a successful reward-based crowdfunding campaign for TechWears shared the following advice. If he had it all to go over again, he would have scrubbed his look-a-like list when he used a Facebook ad campaign to find backers. Drew had collected a list of about 500 people who signed up at his various demos and craft fairs where he demonstrated and sold his unique TechWears products. His initial thinking was that since the 500 on his list stopped by his booth, engaged with him in a discussion about his product, and were willing to sign-up for his mailing list that they were all potential backers. Unfortunately, many on the list were “tire kickers” who signed his list more out of politeness rather than genuine interest. When he used his list in a Facebook look-a-like ad campaign, the demographic he targeted was not the audience that was actually looking to buy geek-wear as he calls it. In the end, it cost him more money and did not get him the conversion rate he was hoping for from the ad campaign. Therefore, if you plan to use a Facebook ad campaign and use look-a-like list, you should scrub your list to remove those people not likely to be your ideal backer.

What are your plans for building a community for your next campaign?

Note: this post originally appeared at www.SteveBizBlog.com.

Crowdfunding Platforms

16 Popular Crowdfunding Platforms

There are a wide array of crowdfunding platforms, each with its own unique spin on raising funds. Some platforms support charitable or creative campaigns, others reward-based campaigns, while still others support equity-based campaigns. Some are for accredited investors only while some are open to all types of investors. Some are designed to help raise funds for product development while others are looking for donations to help an individual or family deal with personal needs. While some are designed to help charities raise money. The following list should help you make some sense out of which platforms are best suited for your crowdfunding needs:

  1. Kickstarter is the largest platform with over 13 million visitors a month. It is a good platform to host product and event campaigns, but not social causes.
  2. Indiegogo has upwards of 9 million visitors a month and is similar to Kickstarter. Here you can raise funds for any legal project. It is a good platform for not only raising funds from domestic sources, but international ones as well.
  3. RocketHub is the next most popular platform and is known for its support system “Success School.” It offers many funding models, including ones where you get to keep pledges even is you never meet your funding goals at the end of the campaign. Since they partner with A&E, business owners have the chance of being featured on TV and on the A&E website.
  4. Crowdrise is similar to RocketHub in that it has flexible funding models where you can keep pledges even if your goals are not met. It is one of the biggest platforms to raise money for social causes.
  5. Fundable is one of the few platforms that offers both equity-based and reward-based crowdfunding. What makes it unique is that it does not work on a commission based on the amount of money raised. This quality makes it attractive for large projects.
  6. AngelList is a platform for start-ups to meet accredited investors and is geared for equity-based campaigns only.
  7. SeedInvest is a platform like AngelList that enables accredited investors to invest in start-ups.
  8. CircleUp is an equity only platform that connects accredited investors, innovative consumers, and retail companies. Companies must have existing revenue in excess of $500K to be listed. Funding can be through convertible debt or equity.
  9. WeFunder is another equity-based crowdfunding platform for accredited investors only, but allows for pledges as small as $100.
  10. GoFundMe is a popular platform for personal fundraising causes (e.g., covering medical expenses), but also for a select group of charities. They also support reward-based all-or-nothing campaigns similar to Kickstarter.
  11. YouCaring is another platform for charitable and personal causes with specific categories for medical, funeral, tuition, adoption, faith-based, pet expenses, and community causes.
  12. GiveForward is a donation-based platform with specific categories for medical bills, veterinarian bills, and funeral expenses.
  13. Patreon is a platform for fans to support their favorite creative projects such as music or video projects on a more ongoing basis.
  14. AlumniFinder is a relatively new platform to fund creative and innovative projects within a university community.
  15. AppStori is a crowdfunding platform to connect consumers with app developers. Consumers can make contributions to developers while developers find beta testers and build an audience.
  16. CauseVox is a platform tool for developers to develop their own website for peer to peer fundraising campaigns.

Which crowdfunding platform is right for your next fundraising campaign?

Note: this post originally appeared at: http://www.stevebizblog.com/