Having just put together a crowdfunding campaign for a client (shameless plug here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fanaddict-the-app-for-live-music-fanatics), we can honestly say…it’s a good amount of work.  Let me break it down and hopefully make it easier to understand.

What is Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding allows individuals to source funds, outside their network, using the internet. Crowdfunding makes it possible to pool money for a project, using a campaign that attracts like-minded people to donate to their cause. 

There are several crowdfunding platforms, including Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/), Indiegogo, (http://www.indiegogo.com/), Fundable (http://www.fundable.com/), Crowdfunder (http://www.crowdfunder.com/), and Early Shares (http://www.earlyshares.com/), just to name a few.

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Creating a Campaign
It’s important to decide which platform is the best fit for the goals of your campaign. Make sure to read the “Start a Project” or “Learn How It Works” pages to determine what platform will work best for you.

Once you decide on a platform you need to make a plan – a serious plan with lots of details. Crowdfunding isn’t just a “slap it up there and see what happens” kind of deal.  You need to create a campaign that has a personal touch and makes people want to donate.  Decide on your goal (we are talking cold hard cash here) and determine specific dates to run and end your campaign. 

Most platforms will tell you that a video to accompany your campaign is a must. Having good perks doesn’t hurt either; what are you going to give your contributors for their donation? 

Simple checklist to ensure success:

  • Build Buzz
  • Make a Marketing Plan
  • Hit it Hard on Social Media
  • Spread the Word (use your inner network, email contacts, and don’t be afraid to think offline)
  • Maintain the Momentum (add new perks and update your progress)

When the time comes to start wrapping your campaign you need to create a sense of urgency, “Only one full week left!”  Continue to thank your contributors and celebrate your milestones on social media. 

Getting your audience involved is key; allowing them to follow along in the development of your project allows feedback and shows progress.

Crowdfunding is a LOT of work. It can be used to generate funds for startups, to pre-sell a product that needs production budgets, and to gain an audience for a groundbreaking new innovation. What it is NOT is easy money.

According to Kickstarter’s website, since their launch in 2009, more than 4.4 million people have pledged over $688 million, funding more than 44,000 creative projects. None of that happened without hard work and dedication. 

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