Navigation Menu+

In A Nutshell: 10 Steps To Launching Your Crowdfunding Project

Posted on May 13, 2013 by in Crowdfunding Advice | 1 comment

In A Nutshell: 10 Steps To Launching Your Crowdfunding Project

- the ClickStart Crew

You know you’ve got a great idea and you’re ready to get the funding you need to get from “concept” to “reality”. We have easy to follow blogs and tutorials for everything you need to know about starting your crowdfunding project with ClickStartMe, but here is a 10-item checklist – the “nutshell” version – to get you started.

#1 Show Me The Money.

Set your funding goal. 

Create a budget for your project, and make sure you have taken into account not only how much you need, but also enough to cover any expenses involved with the rewards you intend to offer donors. If your project is going to require a lot of money, but will be completed in progressive steps, it may make sense for you to do your project in stages. Create a project for the first stage, meet your goal, then complete that stage before moving on to stage two, and another project. This allows you to have attainable goals, and to give donors the opportunity to see your progress and to see that you follow through on promised rewards. It also gives you a built-in audience of donors for the next stages as you move your project along. Donors want to know what you’re going to do with the money you receive, and it’s important that you explain your budget to get the support you need.

For more info, check out this article: Setting Project Goals.

#2 Learn To Love Deadlines (and not just for the whooshing sound they make as they fly by). 

Set your funding deadline.

Your deadline is just as important as your funding goal. You can set any deadline you want up to 120 days. Many people say that 30-60 days is the best timeframe, but budget a timeframe that’s flexible enough for you to decide what makes sense for your project. You are the primary marketing force for your project, so the more you do, the better chance of success. Many people work better with shorter deadlines because it can create a sense of urgency. Be ready to start promoting the day you launch your project, because the deadline starts immediately. Statistically, most successful projects get at least one donation on the first day, which proves that a strong early promotional push is very important.

For more info, check out this article: Setting Project Goals.

#3 KISS.

Explain your idea.

KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Simple, short, but informational is ClickStartMe gold. Generally you have less than 5 seconds to grab someone’s attention with something in writing. If your intro isn’t compelling, 75% of people will not read any further. Your first paragraph needs to tell the who, what , when, where and why, but it also needs to grab attention. Unless you are a celebrity or have some form of notoriety, the “who” is not likely to grab attention. The “what” and “why” are you best bets. Give supporters a reason to keep reading. The initial paragraph is not a place to give excessive details or a long, drawn-out back story. Get to the point. Personalize your project and show your passion. Most importantly, tell potential supporters why they should be excited about your project too.

For more info, check out this article: Using Your Words: Write A Great Pitch

#4 Unleash Your Inner Hollywood. 

Consider a video.

Strongly consider a video. Seriously. This is often the single most important factor of a strong project. Statistically, having a video will increase your chances of getting funded successfully by 50%. You don’t need expensive equipment and fancy editing techniques to make a compelling video. Sure, a professionally shot video edited in Final Cut with After Effects titling is impressive, but a great video can also be a simple, sincere static shot of you looking straight into the eyes of your donor through the lens of the camera, and sincerely, honestly and succinctly explaining why you are excited about your project.

For more info, check out this article: 5 Quick Tips For Making A Great Project Video

#5 Plan The Party Favors.

Come up with rewards.

Most people want something in exchange for their financial support. Rewards give donors an incentive to help finance your project. When you create your project, you can list as many rewards as you want. Rewards are best when they are personal or unique to your project. People are more likely to give larger donations for tangible rewards. People will also pay for experiences, like meeting you or being a part of your project in some way.

You should offer affordable rewards in the $10-$25 range that make it easy for anyone to help with your project. Examples of affordable rewards include a thank you, a listing of donors on your website or in some printed form, a shout out on Facebook or Twitter, a limited edition item, an autograph or a drawing. Be sure to include the cost of shipping when you price your rewards.

The most common donation is $25, so be sure to have some affordable rewards at that amount. You should also offer your supporters rewards at higher levels. Historically more than 90% of all donations are at or under $100, so rewards in the $25-$100 range are very important.

The possibilities for rewards are endless. Look around at other projects for ideas. Ask your core supporters for their opinions before you launch, or even after you launch when you can change or add more rewards. Some common rewards include: Advanced sales of your product or service (limited editions are always good idea); Discounts on future purchases (like coupons or gift certificates); Merchandise with your logo on it; A thank you or recognition (this could be “credit” on your website, in your film or in your book, if those are part of your project); Invitation to a party, premier, book signing or other event; One-of-a-kind experiences that are related to your project (a shout out from the stage at a concert, a walk-on in your film, spending a day with you at your business). Those are just a few ideas.

For more info, check out this article: 5 Tips For Rewarding Your Supporters.

#6 Obituaries Aside, All Publicity Is Good.

Prep your PR.

Your primary targets for your crowdfunding project are your social networks, but you can also get writers who might have an interest in your project on board. Getting mentioned in a blog or article can drastically increase your exposure, although most of them probably won’t mention your project until you’ve gotten to at least the “magic 30% mark” of funding. Despite this, it makes sense to contact writers, bloggers and media people before launch or shortly after and then follow up with them as your funding progresses.

Get the names and contact information for bloggers who might write about your project, and reporters or others who might be willing to provide you with media coverage. Write a short e-mail and have it ready to deliver to them shortly after you launch along with a link to your project.

A press release is a simple, one page document that is sent to the media in order to give details about your project. An effective press release can lead to a newspaper article, a radio or television interview, and thousands of people coming to your project on ClickStartMe. A good online press release will get picked up by other websites, blogs and newswires, and can lead to a lot of new people finding, and funding, your project. Consider doing a press release also. As you will see below in Number 10, if you show momentum, we will consider doing one for you.

For more info, check out this article: Marketing Your Project: Press From The Pros.

#7 Call Mom.

Contact initial supporters.

Here’s the most apt metaphor we can offer: think about a party where there’s a DJ and there’s nobody on the dance the floor…nobody is going to be the first one to go bust a move. On the other hand, if the dance floor is packed, there are a lot more people ready to join the party. It’s the same thing with crowdfunding. Plan on at least 30% of funding coming from your inner circle and network of people – once you get your inner circle on board and supporting, then it spreads to concentric circles and really has the ability to take off.

As soon as you launch, list the people you can trust to help you promote your project, and who will also contribute without question. These people are your “core.” Make sure they know what you expect of them, and make sure they donate to your project on Day One or as soon after as possible to give you momentum. Strangers aren’t going to be the first to contribute – they need to see the support from your inner circle before they’re going to jump on board.  Also, make sure your core promotes your project to their friends and family.

For more info, check out this article: 5 Steps To Take Before You Launch Your Project.

#8 Divide And Conquer.

Dissect your network.

Crowdfunding projects are not like the baseball field in Field of Dreams. Just because you build it, do not expect that people will come and give you money. You must promote your project to your friends, family, co-workers, social media networks (and everyone else you know) for it to be successful. You must do this constantly. Once is not enough, you need to keep reminding them over and over to help, and you need to ask them to donate money.

This is not the time to be subtle. Ask them to donate, and ask them to share.

If you do not have a network of people before you try to crowdfund your project, chances are it is not going to be successful. Go through your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, e-mail lists, phone contacts, and anyone else you know. List them all, and categorize them so you can market to them appropriately. Your pitch to a family member will be different than your pitch to a person you barely know on Facebook.

For more info, check out this article: 5 Quick Tips: Social Media Plan Of Attack.

#9 Put It In Writing.

Plan your campaign.

As soon as you launch (if you have not done this yet) you should write every Facebook post, Tweet and e-mail you plan to send to each segment of your network. Create a schedule so that every day of your crowdfunding project, you know exactly what to post, tweet or send. Having this step out of the way before you start allows you to focus on the things that occur during the project, like media attention, requests from donors, and getting rewards out. And don’t forget to call people on the phone and ask for help.  Nothing is better than a personal plea.

For more info, check out this article: 5 Tips For Getting Donors to Click the ‘Support This Project’ Button

#10 Help Me Help You.

Show us you can get momentum, and we will help.  

At ClickStartMe, we see crowdfunding as a team effort.  But, this is your team, and you are the coach who needs to get it going. Crowdfunding take a lot of hard work on your behalf.  If you are willing to put in the work to get it going, we will help you to move it along and to get it funded. For most projects, this is our plan: When you hit 10% of your goal we will add you to our Featured Projects section. When you hit 25% of your goal, we will feature you on the site’s front page for at least part of one day. When you hit 30% of your goal, we will send out a national press release about your project. When you reach 50% of your goal, we will pitch you to the media and try to get you interviews around the country on radio and television. So get going, and get the ball rolling, so we can jump in and help.

Thank you again for becoming part of the ClickStartMe family. Good luck!

1 Comment

  1. Great tips! #6 is super important and a lot of campaigns don’t reach out until they’re already a long way down the path.

    Good solid advice to contact bloggers and build a social following well in advance if launching campaign!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Crowdfunding Advice From a Pro - Design & Development Digest - Website Magazine - [...] Almerico's Top 10 Tips can be found on the ClickStartMe Blog. [...]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>