1. If I put it online, it will raise money.
“*If you build it, they will not necessarily come.” Simply putting a campaign online does not mean that it will raise the money you want it to. Crowdfunding works when you make it work, it requires careful planning, strategizing, and fervent promotion. You need to let people know about your campaign, why you have a campaign, where to find the campaign, and how to donate. Once they’ve donated, you need to let them know how to share it. We love Kickstarter, it’s the world’s biggest crowdfunding site. But you’d be surprised to find out that people don’t just cruise around on it looking for projects to donate to. 85% of people who donate to a Kickstarter campaign donate to only one campaign. That being said, there are tons of great projects on Kickstarter and I highly encourage you to cruise around on it to look for projects to donate to.
2. I don’t need a video.
You would be very surprised at how little it can cost you to make a video. Not having enough money to produce one is a flimsy excuse with the amount of free software you have at your disposal. You can make a video by adding voiceover to a slideshow of photos if necessary, or even just use text to tell your story. No matter what your budget is, making a call-to-action video gives you control over how your campaign is shared, because your audience views it the exact same way every time. It takes the guess-work out of having your supporters explain your cause for you. And people like watching and sharing videos. It’s that simple. I highly encourage you to watch this video. Its success is due to the quality of its message and cleverness of its expression, not its (miniscule) budget.
3. People know about my campaign.
They don’t. You have to let them know about it, and probably more often than you think. As previously stated, 85% of Kickstarter donors only donate to one campaign, and that’s because they were directed to a specific campaign by a friend or family member. You need to ask people to donate. The more personal your solicitation, the more likely it is to turn into a donation. Putting a status update about your campaign on Facebook is great. Messaging somebody is better. Calling somebody, telling them about the campaign, and walking them through the donation process on the phone is what (Sir) Richard Branson would do.
4. I need expensive rewards to incentivize donors.
Fancy rewards may seem nice, but you have to ask yourself if your donors really want an iPad or do they just want the good feeling they get when they support a good cause. Rewards can be both tangible & experiential. Video thank you’s can be recorded with a webcam or phone, are free, and can be posted to your Facebook/website/blog. They make people feel special and put a face (yours) on the campaign. You can also do things like write songs, cook dinners, offer tours of your facility, handwrite thank you cards…get creative. There are more ways to minimize reward costs than you think.
5. Once I hit my goal, my job’s done.
Congratulations on hitting your goal! But hitting your goal and thinking your work’s done is like getting married and thinking you don’t have to worry about relationships for the rest of your life. You’ve still got to handle all the logistics of your rewards, as well as keep fundraising. Hitting 300% of your goal is exactly 3x better than hitting 100% of your goal. I recently read a great feature in Time magazine about Kickstarter, and it touched on the fact that some of the most successful campaigns raise more money than they have the capacity to deliver on. Hitting 100% of your goal should be a given, not a surprise.