Fundraise Smarter

Why Your Crowdfunding Failed

Posted by Andrew Littlefield on Apr 20, 2015 10:00:00 AM

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Crowdfunding fail

Expectations are high.

You’ve set lofty goals.

You know your supporters will help you pull it off.

All you’ve got to do is launch it, and success will come your way.

Then...nothing happens.

Watching your crowdfunding campaign fall flat is frustrating. It’s like when you’re a kid, and you get your hopes up about getting that special item for Christmas. You just know Santa will bring it for you, you dropped so many hints! You’ve been good all year! You start dreaming about playing with the greatest toy in the history of toys and how much fun that will be.

And when it doesn’t happen, it feels like such a letdown.

Life is unfair.

Before you go swearing off online fundraising for the rest of your life, maybe it’s time to take an honest look at your crowdfunding methodology and see where you might have gone wrong.

So why did your crowdfunding fail?

1. You Set Unrealistic Goals

Just like the 10-year-old me asked for a go-kart for several years in a row, you might be asking for a little too much.

When selecting your funding goal, it can be tempting to want to aim high. And while your fundraising goal should be a challenge, it should also be a number that you can realistically achieve. A fundraiser that raises $3,000 out of a goal of $2,500 make supporters feel successful. A fundraiser that raises $3,000 out of a $250,000 goal leaves supporters feeling defeated.

Select your goal based on the strength of your online assets like your email list, social network reach, and average monthly website traffic. If you’ve got a large network to distribute your campaign across, chances are you can support a larger goal. If you don’t have those assets in place, consider starting smaller.


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2. You “Set It and Forget It”

The internet is full of promises of easy money. Just set up this money making machine, sit back, and watch the revenue flow in without doing any work.

Bad news: that’s a scam.

Crowdfunding is no different. If you expected crowdfunding to be something you can set up in an afternoon, then watch the donations start flowing in, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

Online fundraisers still take work on your part. The more effort you put into distributing and promoting your campaign, the greater your odds of success.

3. You Asked Once and Gave Up

How many times have you bought an item after seeing the ad once?

I’m guessing not too often.

For most people, a message has to be heard several times before they even remember to make a donation. Even your most ardent supporters will need several reminders. So if your first email falls flat, don’t give up!

4. You Promote It On Channels Your Audience Doesn’t Use

Successfully promoting your fundraising campaign requires having an intimate knowledge of what matters to your supporters, where they consume content online, and what will make them want to give. If you ignore any of these areas, you’re wasting your efforts!

On average, 56% of crowdfunding traffic comes from email, followed by Facebook at 25%. While these are good guidelines to follow, if you know for a fact your audience uses Instagram more than Facebook, then you need to be promoting on Instagram. If your audience isn’t on Twitter, don’t waste your efforts on that platform.

5. Your Communications Ended After the Donation

Did you forget all about your supporters once they gave you what you wanted?

Shame on you!

Once a supporter has made a donation, that relationship is just beginning. You should take that opportunity not only to personally thank them for their support, but also let them know how they can help even more without giving another penny: by sending the campaign to their friends asking for their support!

All Hope Is Not Lost

At this point, you might be feeling a bit discouraged. I just tore apart your crowdfunding strategy.

I’m like your old high school basketball coach: first I break ya down, then I build ya up.

Just because you had an unsuccessful campaign doesn’t mean you should give up altogether. In fact, you’re now more prepared for success than most people! You now know what doesn’t work and what you need to do more of next time to be successful. You’re ahead of the game!

There’s no shortage of “miracle cure-alls” being peddled on the internet, and sometimes crowdfunding gets thrown into that category. But with some hard work, smart strategies, and a game plan, you too can have a successful campaign.

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Image credit: flickr user Anthony DeLorenzo, CC BY 2.0

Topics: Crowdfunding

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