Crowdfunding isn't a perfect science. It's more of a paint-by-numbers project: you don't have to be the greatest artist of your generation, but if you follow the numbers you'll come out with something like a painting. If you plan your campaign before you launch, identify how you're going to appeal to your audience, and execute on your strategy, chances are you'll hit and exceed your goal.
As an example, we're taking a look at one of our Founders Group non-profits who launched their first WeDidIt crowdfunding campaign last November. Alley Pond Environmental Center (APEC) is an environmental education center in the New York metropolitan area that needed to raise money to buy food for their animals. We consulted with them on the phone and via email for a couple weeks before they launched and kept in close contact with them while their campaign was live. The result was a textbook crowdfunding success story. There was no special trick to their success, they just did everything right:
- They undershot what they thought they could raise. To ensure they hit their goal, they set their target at $500. They didn't just hit their target, they doubled it. This meant that early in the campaign, they had the peace of mind that all the donations made in the all-or-nothing campaign would go through.
- They made a video. It cost them very little and was informative about the campaign. It showed the organization, the animals that would benefit from the donations, and let donors know how to contribute. It goes to show that you don't need Christopher Nolan to make a compelling crowdfunding video.
- They identified guaranteed donors, got in touch with them personally and made sure those donations went through early to give the campaign momentum right off the bat.
- They chose great experiential rewards. For example, a donation at the $50 level got you a hardcopy photo of the animals you're helping (costs = postage) and a free 1-year family membership to the environmental center. Think about that strategy: the membership costs them nothing to give, they get the donation, and they grow their membership. Win win win.
- They were on top of their social media communication. They made sure everybody they were connected with were aware of the campaign. They posted pretty much daily about the campaign, always linking people back to the donation page. They thanked donors on facebook. They encouraged people to share the campaign. See for yourself, their second campaign is live right now and they're doing all the right things all over again.
The result: 207% raised of their $500 goal ($1,035), with an average donation of $30.44. They were so on top of their campaign that when it came time to launch their second one, I asked if I could help and was politely told "we got this". And they do. They're 4 days into their campaign and are already at 23%. For anybody looking to raise between $500-$1,000, do what APEC did.
You can check out their live campaign here. You can also have a look at their very successful first campaign here.