32 Tips for a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

Here are 32 highly valuable tips that will help you set up your fundraising campaign, but more importantly, ensure its success on crowdfunding platforms.

Crowdfunding?

I already explained crowdfunding in this article, but let’s start first by reminding ourselves what it is. Crowdfunding is the practice of raising funds in the form of small amounts through the contribution of a large number of people, usually via a dedicated Internet platform. That was the academic description. But concretely, how does it work?

Imagine you have invented a revolutionary concept or product. For example, you’ve created a device that allows people to record their dreams and share them on social networks. First, set one aside for me, and then you will prepare a crowdfunding campaign to find the necessary funds to finance your project (Whatever with such an idea, be sure that Google and the Chinese government will scramble to buy the idea from you by offering you a check with an amount so high it will be difficult to count the number of zeros following the first digit, but damn, let’s close this parenthesis, which is way too long…).

Marty McFly meets the Doc for the first time

So, you will carefully prepare your campaign with the valuable advice you will discover here, indicate a deadline, and declare how much you need. Once the campaign is open, Internet users who will be seduced by your idea will have the opportunity to support it by deciding to give an amount that can range from one to several thousand dollars (or euros, pounds, etc.).

Once the campaign is complete and the target amount reached, you will be paid the amount*, you will be able to start the production and the sale of your “machine”, and Internet users will receive their counterpart—oh yes, because there is a counterpart*. It is often proportional to the amount donated, but usually it can be a simple thank you card, a dinner with you, or even a trip, but we’ll see this more in detail.

* Depending on the crowdfunding type chosen. Well, if you really don’t know what I’m talking about, I strongly recommend you to read my first article about crowdfunding before going further.

What is crowdfunding and how it works?
What is Crowdfunding and How it Works?

Crowdfunding can be a daunting process, but understanding how it works and its different forms can make the process a lot easier. Here’s the program: What is crowdfunding? How does it work? Is crowdfunding new? What are the different forms...

How to Set Up a Crowdfunding Campaign?

Now, let’s look at the tips that will help you succeed in your crowdfunding campaign. I grouped them into 3 parts: Before, during, and after the campaign.

Before the Campaign

  • 1Choosing the Right Platform: There are different categories of crowdfunding, and each platform is dedicated to one or more of them. You will need to choose the one that is best for your project. You’ll also have to choose between a local or international platform, depending on whether your project will interest the whole world or just the people in your area.

    Other things to consider: some platforms have a higher success rate than others (depending on the sectors and amounts requested), and some of them propose to broadcast your campaign in several languages. Consider these different criteria when making your choice.

  • 2Propose an Original Project: It is essential that your product or service is original. It must provide an answer to a problem, be really innovative, fun to use, nice to look at, the concept can be funny, etc. In short, whether visual or functional, it must have this little something never seen elsewhere.

    For example, if your product is a waffle pan and nothing else, not sure that anyone will be interested. On the other hand, if it is colored or on the contrary, a very classy monochrome, if it makes waffles with the original or customizable shapes, has a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection, etc., there it becomes more interesting. Be creative!

  • 3Do Not Rush: Put yourself in advance and give yourself all the time you need to think about how you are going to run this campaign and what you want to put into it. As a famous French man used to say, but I’ve forgotten his name: Reflection precedes action, precipitation ruins any business.

    Start by opening a blank text document on your computer. Opt for a software such as Microsoft Word, LibreOffice Writer, or Google docs rather than the basic notebook. The advantage is that they have an integrated spelling checker and much more powerful layout possibilities. Then write down everything that goes through your mind about your project.

    This will require brainstorming that will last a few days, so consider installing a memo application on your smartphone, such as Evernote or G-Notes (which I use myself), so as not to forget anything. Once you have gathered enough ideas and information, structure everything into titles, subtitles, and paragraphs, and sentences construction.

  • 4Use Nice Photos: Your project will be displayed on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, etc. timelines or on the page listing all ongoing projects on the crowdfunding platform and will be drowned in the middle of a multitude of other information. In order to call the attention of a potential contributor, it is essential to choose an attractive image. When taking photos, take note of the framing, exposure, composition, etc. The one you choose as a vignette to illustrate your project should not necessarily be explicit—it can be intriguing and arouse curiosity, but in any case, make sure it is colorful, clear, and sharp.

    ou can use your smartphone for this, but I advise you to call someone who knows how to help you. You certainly have a friend or a cousin who has photography skills. If not, you can learn the basics by reading my article on this subject.

    The practical and succinct guide to learning how to make photos that rock.
    The Easy and Succinct Guide to Learning How to Make Photos that Rock

    I propose here a little synthesis of the main rules to follow to take sublime photos with your digital reflex, compact camera, or smartphone. We will see in a practical way how you can succeed in taking the photos you...

  • 5Find a Catchy Title: When the Internet user is attracted by your image, he will certainly want to read the title to find out what it is. So having a catchy title as important as the illustration photo because both of them will determine whether he will click on it or not.

    Start by writing all the titles that go through your head. Even if some may seem a bit ridiculous, they may have an interesting keyword that will eventually be used in the final wording. Once you have a list of 2 or 3 titles that seem nice, you will use a tool that will certainly cost you a few dollars but will prove to be of a formidable efficiency to know which title to keep: Facebook Ads.

    For that, you first need to have a Facebook page related to your product or service (see below). Then you will create different advertising campaigns for this page, trying different combinations of images and possible titles (image 1 with title 1, images 2 with title 1, image 1 with title 2, image 3 with title 1, etc.).

    It is just a test, so put only a few dollars (or €, £, ¥…) into each ad, and choose a rather short publication time (3 to 5 days). At the end of this period, identify the ad with the highest clicks, and you’ll know which combination should be the most successful for your crowdfunding campaign.

    Another similar tool is AdWords, the Google ad network. With this one, you will be able to test only the titles via a campaign on the “Search Network”. Your ad will consist of the title, the URL (web address of your Facebook page or your website), and a short description of two lines.

    L’autre avantage est que vous rassemblerez une petite communauté de fans qui pourront suivre l’évolution du projet, éventuellement acheter le produit ou utiliser le service que vous proposez lorsqu’il sera disponible, mais surtout être avertis dès que la campagne de crowdfunding sera en ligne.

  • 6Create a Facebook Page: A great way to explore the interest your project could generate is to create a Facebook page a few weeks before launching your crowdfunding campaign. Once created, share it with your contacts and launch a Facebook advertising campaign. It will cost you a few dollars, but it will be an excellent crash test. If you are struggling to achieve a minimum goal of “Likes”, it means there is a concern somewhere, and so you may need to review your communication strategy.

    The other advantage is that you will gather a small community of fans who can follow the evolution of the project, possibly buy the product, or use the service you offer when it is available, but especially be notified as soon as the crowdfunding campaign is online.

  • 7Make Your Project Look “Sexy”: The text you write to present your project is also crucial. Present it with real enthusiasm but without overplaying, beautify it without lying, explain things in a crystal clear and understandable way, be pedagogical and answer basic questions such as ‘What is it, and who is it for?’ Who is, where is, and how? Put in some humor, but beware of being “too much”, use proven sales and persuasion methods, show the use and all that can be done with your product or service, make spectacular demonstrations, and use the storytelling technique.

  • 8Storytelling: Storytelling is the art of telling a beautiful story to trigger a sense of empathy in the customer that will make them want to buy your product or subscribe to your idea. This technique, a little manipulative I grant you, can be used in different ways: You can tell your own story if it is original and closely related to your project, a story that tells how your product or service will change the life of those who will use it, a metaphor that would make a concept perhaps too technical to a fascinating story, a story completely invented whose surprising fall would have a direct link with your product or service… So work your imagination and tell a story likely to trigger a positive emotional response.

  • 9Be Credible: Show that you are fully invested in this project. Talk about what you have already accomplished and the time and energy you have put into it. Also talk about your skills and experiences—in short, anything that could bring more credibility to you and your project.

  • 10Show a Prototype: If you propose a product, it would be wise to show that it is technically possible to realize it. For this, the best way is to show a prototype and demonstrate it. Or, a model or a diagram, etc. And if it is a service, a scenario through storytelling and video will certainly be very effective.

    Une boîte magique

    Example not to be followed

  • 11Make a Video: This is something that Internet users specifically like, especially those who do not like reading. There is no better way to present your product or service, if you follow a few essential rules: use the technique of “storytelling” as explained above, look after the framing, composition, sound and exposure, and make a dynamic editing with a suitable soundtrack, all in a video of 2 or 3 minutes. As for the photo, if you have absolutely no skill in this area, ask for the help of a friend who has experience in filming and editing video.

    As with photography, if you have absolutely no skills in this area, ask a friend who has experience in shooting and editing video for help. Otherwise, there are lots of interesting tutorials on YouTube.

  • 12Be Inspired by Successful Campaigns: If you have arrived here—and despite the fact that it is the most complete artistic blur in your mind—go and see what is done elsewhere. Go from one crowdfunding platform to another (Kickstarter, Ulule, Indiegogo, etc.) and browse the different projects. Find everything you like and that attracts you—the arguments, the catchy titles, the photos and videos, how to communicate, etc. Take inspiration from it, but be careful; “to inspire” does not necessarily mean “to copy/paste”.

    Do not consider only the biggest successes, but also take a look at the failures, those who have raised 0% of the funds requested; it is very instructive, you’ll see.

    And why not finance a project yourself? This is a perfect way to learn how it works from the perspective of the contributor but also to see the techniques used by the crowdfunder to communicate with them.

  • 13Set the Right Amount: The amount requested contributes enormously to the success (or failure) of a crowdfunding campaign. It is supposed to be directly related to the number of contributors that you feel you can touch with your project.

    Globally, there are 3 circles of donors. In the first circle, there are family, friends, and office colleagues. In the second, we find the friends of friends and other acquaintances. The rest of the inhabitants of our planet lie in the last circle. The more people you touch in this third circle, the greater your chances of raising a large amount.

    Crowdfunding: 3 circles of donors

    Another key parameter is the consistency between this amount and the project you are carrying. If the Internet users detect a gross disproportion between the two—for example, you ask $180,000 to write a cookbook devoted to Brussels sprouts or on the contrary $1000 to make a fan movie “Star Wars” of two hours—it may not pass the way you wanted. So, calculate your needs accurately but stay realistic. Keep in mind that a small campaign is likely to exceed the target, whereas an overambitious campaign will likely not reach the goal.

    This last point is important because you have to know that most crowdfunding platforms (but not all) apply the “all or nothing” policy, which means that if the target is not reached (even at 99%), you will get nothing and Internet users will receive their money back. Anyway, explain without necessarily going into the details, how the money you collect will be allocated.

    You should also know that most crowdfunding platforms offer statistics showing how much money is generally achieved according to the different categories. Go get a look at it because it is also something to consider.

    Finally, do not forget to take into account the various fees, such as those charged by the platform and which generally vary between 3% and 10% (commission and transaction costs included) or the costs of manufacturing and sending counterparts, any paid services that you would have used (marketing, communication, photo/video, etc.).

    Very important also, the funds collected are considered as income in many countries, and you will be taxed on these amounts. Find out about the tax features applied in your country.

  • 14The Empty Restaurant Syndrome: If you’re like most people, you’ll probably be reluctant to go to a restaurant you’ve never been to before and which, apart from the waiter playing Candy Crush sprawled on a chair, is completely empty. It’s exactly the same thing that happens when you get to a newly created finance page. Internet users, seeing the counter at zero, will prefer to come back later (if they do not forget) to see if there is more activity.

    According to a study by Ulule (in French), if 30% of the funds are collected in the first days, there is a 93% chance that the target will be achieved. Do not hesitate to call your first circle as soon as your campaign is online and ask them to participate. Even if the amount they donate is small, the number of contributors will be the trigger that can set off the campaign.

  • 15Set the Right Duration: Fundraising is generally spread over a period of between 30 and 90 days. One would be tempted to believe that the longer the duration, the more likely it is to reach or even exceed the goal, but it is more complicated than that.

    The problem with the long running duration is that the campaign can arrive at a stage of shortness or even stagnation and increase the risk that the donor decides to retract by saying that in any case the target will never be achieved.

    The other risk is that the potential contributor thinks that finally he has the time and therefore decides to come back later… except that he will never come back. No, it is better to opt for a period of 30 to 45 days maximum while keeping a dynamic and sustained communication rhythm.

  • 16Synthesize to the Maximum: Even if you have tons of things to tell or explain about your project, do not force people to read 3 pages of text because there is great chance they will not.

    Once your presentation text is written, read it over several times and try to identify any lengthy or boring passages, remove what ultimately seems less important, and synthesize what is left. And if after that, it is still too long, just explain the basics and add a link to a web page or blog with more details.

  • 17Create a Small Website or Blog: As I said, it’s better not to flood the crowdfunding page with all kinds of information and thus lose the reader’s attention. But what if the reader wants to know all the details of your project? A website or even a blog could very well fulfill this mission.

    Also, compared to a Facebook page for example, the possibilities of layouts and customization are much more advanced—an opportunity to “give a full view” to your visitors but also to strengthen your credibility and increase your visibility.

    So, I reassure you right away, there is no question here to create a site containing a multitude of pages and various content. You do not need a “Wikipedia” to present your project, just one page is enough. There are also all sorts of tools that are often free and will help you do this, and you will see that it’s actually much easier than you could imagine.

    What are the best solutions to create your Website?
    What are the Best Solutions to Create Your Website?

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    This page should contain a text part, a photo gallery and/or video, a contact form, and that’s it… unless you have other elements to add and that is specific to your project. Now, if you have neither the time nor the desire to create a site and that you have a sufficient budget, you could call on a professional who will realize it for you at a decent price.

  • 18Create a Newsletter: Display a subscription form to your newsletter on the crowdfunding page, your website, and your social networks to give Internet users the opportunity to be kept informed on the latest news about your project via their email. It is also a database that will be very valuable to you to keep in touch once the campaign is over.

  • 19Diversify the Choice of Payment: Everyone does not have the possibility or even the desire to use online payment (PayPal, Visa, etc.). So make sure, if the platform you have chosen allows, to propose other ways such as by check, transfer, or even in cash. Also state clearly the procedure for each of them.

  • 20Show Yourself: Even if you have complexes and unless you look like the twin of Adolph Hitler, show your face. People like to know who they are dealing with, so whether it’s on a video or photo, show yourself in your best light.

    Omer Simpson comes out of nowhere
  • 21Create a “FAQ” Section: FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) is a very simple way to explain things clearly. So, put yourself in the place of potential contributors and create a list of “questions/answers” that you will highlight well on your page. In order to be able to feed it, make sure that the Internet users can easily contact you via a button “Contact me” or “You have a question?” for example.

  • 22Propose an Original Counterpart, adapted to the Amount Given: The distribution of the various levels of donations is generally done on 6 to 8 levels (e.g. $10 – $20 – $50 – $100 – $200 – $500 – $1000 – $5000 and +), so that there are packages for everyone. Even if an Internet user is interested in your project, there is a good chance they will only participate if the counterpart is worth it.

    If it is a technological product for example, the contributor will be motivated by the fact of being able to acquire the product before everyone else and at a reduced price. And if a customized version or a version followed with a bonus is available at a higher level, there is a chance that he will choose one of them instead.

    Then propose something original, quirky, or creative, but especially adapted to each level. And if you need ideas, check out the various campaigns in progress to see what rewards are offered.

  • 23Avoid Certain Periods: Starting or ending a crowdfunding campaign during holidays, the end of the month, or during discount sales is not a good idea. Potential contributors often have their minds elsewhere, or their bank account is dry.

  • 24Do Not Start the Campaign Until You’re Really Ready: First of all, start by re-reading this article, and then double-check every detail of your campaign. Keep in mind that once you start, you will not be able to change either the amount or the duration. Then, as it is difficult to keep a certain objectivity on a project on which we have spent long months of work, ask the opinion of some of your relatives. An outside look can only be beneficial.

During the Campaign

  • 25Make Your Network Work, Contact the Press, Bloggers…: As soon as the campaign has started, make as much noise as possible around yourself. Use all the means of communication you have (Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, e-mail, phone, postal mail, etc.) to inform as many people as possible (friends, family, colleagues, customers, etc.).

    Be convincing and do not hesitate to contact some bloggers or even the local and national press. Remember that the first few days are decisive, so make your brain work and find as many ways to disseminate the information.

  • 26Follow Up and Get More Involved: If you thought you could rest a little and only go back from time to time to see where the counter of donations is, sorry but you’re wrong. No time for a nap. From now on, it’s a real marathon that starts for you because there are so many things you can still do:

    • Write a small message each time a symbolic level has been crossed ($1,000, $3,000, $5,000, etc.), and then set intermediate objectives to motivate Internet users. The goal here is to maintain some emergency effect.
    • Give optimistic news about the progress of your project and the status of your campaign via social networks, your website, the newsletter and the crowdfunding page.
    • Add photos, videos, or any other relevant new content.
    • Share any blog or press articles that are dedicated to your project.
    • Give individual thanks to each donor, even the little ones, and motivate them to become your “ambassadors” to their entourage.
    • Find new contributors, and try to convince those who are still hesitant.
    • Answer messages or any questions you have been sent.
    • Continue to feed the FAQ, the blog, the Facebook page…

    Keep a steady pace and spend as much time as you can on it. It is important that the contributor shouldn’t see the campaign stagnate and decides to use his right to retract. A crowdfunding campaign is like fresh pasta: you have to constantly turn in to avoid the noodles sticking together.

  • 27The Last Straight Line: Two cases:

    • aYou have reached your goal: Set a new, higher goal by explaining what this additional money will be used for. For example, if you collect funds to publish your cookbook, say that you will print 8,000 copies instead of the originally planned 5,000. Remember to take into account the time remaining before the donations are closed.
    • bYou have not achieved your goal: Stay optimistic, and try harder to find other contributors. Explain the situation and communicate as much as you can on your networks, your blog, and the crowdfunding page, contact other bloggers, other media organizations, etc. Everything is still possible as long as the countdown is not over.
  • 28Contribute to the Fundraising: If the collection is about to end, but the target is not yet reached, and there is not a lot to add to achieve it, complete the amount by making a donation yourself. And if you do not have enough money for this, you can always ask for a loan from one of your loved ones.

After the Campaign

  • 29Do Not Disappoint Your Donors: Your contributors have given you two valuable things: part of their money and their trust. So do not delay in making and sending the rewards, and above all, go to the end of your project. There are cases (fortunately rare) of people having simply “flamed” all the money they have collected, and that’s really not cool.

  • 30Give News: Continue to feed your means of communication on the progress of the project. Even if fundraising is complete, you now have a community of “fans” following you. It is up to you to maintain this loyalty by regularly publishing photos, videos, and other news related to your project.

  • 31Be Grateful: Indicate the name of each contributor on a place or an object having a direct link with the project. This is happening more and more, and I think it’s the best way to honor them.

    Some examples: A company manager engraved each name on a plaque that he placed at the entrance of his company’s new building. Another painted their names on the boat he was able to restore entirely thanks to them. Others have posted them in the credits of the end of their feature film while others have posted them on the program of a show, etc.

    Well, this is not really advice but rather an idea that I thought was great and that I wanted to share with you. It’s now done.

  • 32In Case of Failure : The Statistics of Kickstarter, the most famous crowdfunding platform, are eloquent: only 38% of projects reach their target, and 17% do not even earn a single cent. Even on other platforms, this failure rate remains relatively high and among the causes most often mentioned by professionals in the sector are:

    • aA lack of preparation before launching the campaign: Hence the usefulness of this article. Moreover, I advise you to print it and read it again, and even to read others if you want, to be sure to have assimilated each point.
    • bA very weak starting network: Remember that you need to quickly create a community around the project and encourage everyone to pass on the information. This is a decisive element that is prepared well before the launch of the campaign (yes, I’ve already said it, but I’ll never insist enough on this point).
    • cThe lack of involvement during the campaign: Again, even if there are teams promoting your project within their crowdfunding platform, this does not mean that you can take a nap! So, work, work, and work until the last minute of the campaign.
    • d The idea does not interest anyone: This is the last thing a project leader wants to hear… Sometimes we have to face the facts. If so, do not be stubborn and move on. Say to yourself that you have learned a lot from this adventure even if it didn’t lead you where you wanted to go.

    So, it’s time to question your strategy. If you do not enter the category “d” (But how do you know?), do not lose hope and get back to work. Double check every detail of your campaign, and try to identify where the problem came from.

    Arnold se maquille avant d'affronter le Predator Activate the “Warrior” mode and get back to work!

    If you have troubles, why not call an agency? They flourish everywhere and are often paid on commission. Anyway, take a few days to think about it, and then fix what needs to be and start a new concrete campaign this time!

Conclusion

As you can see, a Crowdfunding campaign is really not as easy to set up as you might think. There are many things to do before, during and after its launch. It’s hard work and there is no guarantee that you will reach your goal, which can be extremely frustrating.

Lhe number of platforms and projects has exploded in the last few years and contributors don’t know where to look. Therefore, the most effective and visible campaigns will often win the day.

If you want to have all the chances on your side, you will have to work hard and be highly motivated. Good luck, you’ll make it!

This article could be completed or improved with your help. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any question, a relevant remark, a feedback, additional information or spotted any error.Go to comments

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