Crowdfunding - Planning

Every crowdfunding campaign goes through a three step process of planning, publishing and promoting. This exercise covers the first stage of planning.

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I covered crowdfunding recently in my column on Million Dollar Ideas as a way of sourcing money, ideas and creating a wider fanbase for creative practitioners.

I covered crowdfunding recently in my column on Million Dollar Ideas as a way of sourcing money, ideas and creating a wider fanbase for creative practitioners.

Every crowdfunding campaign goes through a three step process of planning, publishing and promoting. This Generator exercise covers the first stage of planning.

Some types of campaigns are more successful than others, with music being the most successfully-funded category on PledgeMe.co.nz,  representing a quarter of all dollars pledged.  In second and third place are film and live performances with a similar spread on US site Kickstarter. Your crowdfunding campaign plan needs to cover some key points as specifically as possible, so that you can clearly communicate your project to your supporters, and have a strategy for reaching them both on and offline.   
 
1. What your campaign is for

Outline your project in as much detail as possible, including how you plan to spend funds raised, and when you are likely to deliver on your promises. Transparency leads to trust, meaning more people will be likely to send pledges, and you need to make a direct and personal ask rather than go through an agent or organisation.

Remember to mention any previous achievements in your field, as a proven track record will increase your credibility with potential fan funders. Show as much of your workings out as you can with sketches, mockups, prototypes, or short trailers.

2. How much you are asking for

Joe Brewer co-author of ‘Crowdfunding Nation recommends using the Goldilocks Principle to work out how much to ask for: “The target amount shouldn’t be so big that it feels unachievable. Neither should it be so small as to feel insignificant for a crowd to address through collective action. It needs to be just right.”

Kickstarter shows that around 43% of campaigns are successful, with the most successful projects raising between $1000 and $10,000. Above all make sure you have drawn up a clear budget to show how you have reached the amount you are asking for. This will reassure supporters that you will be able to deliver on your promises.

Musician Fleur Jack shows a good example of this. Check out her current campaign to record at the London Studios in Seattle, USA.

3. What pledges you are offering

Pledges are the power behind crowdfunding success, the more imaginative and exclusive -  the better. If you can just go and buy a pledge in a shop then the perceived value will drop. Offer a menu of options from small to large, and limit offers to a fixed number of people. Personalise your pledges as much as possible, especially for larger amounts, but make sure that they are cost effective and easy for you to deliver especially for the smaller amounts pledged.

Digital delivery, like special downloads or artworks, is easier than posting which can be time consuming and costly for delivering pledges overseas. Planning your pledge distribution beforehand is key so that you can deliver pledges quickly and keep your supporters happy. There’s a lot of intangibles around crowdfunding – people buy into the experience, so make it a great one.

4. How long your campaign will run for

The most successful campaigns are run within a thirty day time-frame as shown in this comparison of Kickstarter project durations v success rates. The longer you spread a campaign the harder it is to sustain interest and the two peak points of interest are at the beginning and the end. Have a strategy in place for an initial promotional splash then a series of weekly messages before ramping up for a big push at the end of your campaign.

5.  How you will reach your supporters

It helps if you already have a profile in your field, an established fan base and social media channels to promote your campaign through. People are more likely to support you if they know of you or from a recommendation by a friend.  If you are an emerging artist then it may be worth spending a few months building up a profile and network, before you attempt a crowdfunding campaign.

You may decide to create a new twitter account or Facebook page or use your personal account to build on your existing creative brand. Namechk.com will check for available names across social media sites.

Videos are vital

In order to attract interest in your campaign it helps to have a great video, which will help show your vision, build credibility and let people share your story. Pledge Me shows that you are 114% more likely to be funded if your campaign has a video.

  • Keep it short -  one to three minutes at the most
  • Show your face - people support individuals not causes
  • Be authentic and honest  - people support people like them
  • Tag your videos wisely with a clear description and keywords
  • Make it easy for people to share your video - provide links and embed codes


You don’t need expensive gear to make a video, just a webcam, and simple video production and editing tools you can find at the You Tube Create page. If your video is authentic, and engaging with a great story then it may even go viral giving you global coverage. The anatomy of going viral infographics shows the reasons most people share videos, and you can make it easier for fans to spread by releasing your video under a Creative Commons licence.

* * * Next steps * * *

  • Read about or speak to people who have run successful crowdfunding campaigns.
  • Set up a Trello board to manage all the steps in your campaign.
  • Send out pre-campaign messages to your social media networks ‘Coming soon...’
  • Read the guides in this map of crowdfunding.


In the next Generator exercise on choosing a Crowdfunding Platform, I’ll cover how to find the right crowdfunding platform for your project before talking about getting the best Performance from your campaign.

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Written by

MsBehaviour

4 Sep 2012

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