What are the Initial Steps to Set-up a Crowdfunding Campaign?

Crowdfunding

crowdfunding

Katherine: I am a Stay at Home Mom. I have been married to my husband for 11 years and have a son who just turned 10. I have recently been diagnosed with Celiac Disease and have started cooking gluten-free meals for my family, which has been an enormous adventure and learning experience and I am eager to share all of my discoveries and tips with other families. Our family is also living with autism. My son has autism and seizure disorder, and we have been very involved with the use of applied behavioral analysis teaching at his wonderful school, and at home, since he was two.

Katherine writes a weekly column about gluten-free information and crowdfunding for MadameDeals.

 A successful crowdfunding campaign depends on how much the crowd loves the idea or product.   In my last post I described crowdfunding, in general, and how you can obtain funding for a project on crowdfunding websites.  Today I will outline some of the initial steps you will need to accomplish to encourage your crowd to just LOVE LOVE LOVE your campaign.  Having an incredible idea or product is important, but how you conduct your campaign is just as important to getting it funded. 

Your campaign should be fun, interesting, understandable, organized, engaging, thoughtful, and most of all personally valuable to each and every person who you want to fund it.   Take the time to let the crowd get to know who you are, who your team is, and how they can get involved.  Engage people you know who might be interested in funding you, individually, and then use social media.  You should let your passion for your idea or product shine through. And, always, let supporters know that they are appreciated and part of the team. 

Over the next few weeks we will look at the various stages of a campaign which include: initial steps and research, preparing your campaign, organizing the social media, marketing the campaign, launching your campaign, updating information and generating interest, delivery of promised items, and post campaign activities.   The first stage is everything that you need to do before you even launch your campaign.  Setting up your campaign should take at least two weeks. 

Here is a list of some things you need to address before launching your campaign.  How you complete these tasks may be influenced by the crowdfunding platform you choose.   My next couple of blogs will go into some detail for each of these items.

1.       Create a Pitch

This should be a concise personal overview of what you need to get funded.  It should include some basic information about who you are, and what you are raising the money to do.  It should engage your audience, and bring them into the project to be personally involved in promoting and participating in your campaign, as well as funding it.

2.       Create a Title for your Campaign.  It should be catchy and descriptive.  (Avoid words like “help”, and “donate.”)

3.       Create content describing your project and include pictures. 

(Very important!  Avoid copyright issues!  There are resources for obtaining pictures, videos, and music to use with your campaign.  www.Kickstarter.com offers links to resources)

4.       Choose a picture that will represent you on the web (www.Indiegogo.com says to choose an image that compels people to click on it).

5.       Make a video (1-3 minutes in length) (There is a video on how to make an awesome video on www.Kickstarter.com)

6.       Decide on what your reward, perks or mementos to donors will be, and the levels of donation, and write creative fun descriptions of what donors will get from you at various levels of donating.  (Make sure you look at what it will take to deliver these items.  For instance –how heavy are they, and what packaging will you need to mail them.)

7.       Decide on how much money you will need to raise to accomplish the project and provide the reward, perks or mementos to your funders. ( www.Rockethub.com provides good information on how to calculate your funding goal).

8.       Identify your family, close friends and interested parties who can help you launch the campaign.  It is critical to have an initial set of donors fund the project in the first day or so to make it more interesting to potential funders, who are not as familiar with you, or your project.

9.       Add people to your team (more than one person on the team increases success).

10.   Make a social media marketing plan.  www.Indiegogo.com has a Social Media Checklist.

11.    Set up social media accounts for your project such as Facebook, Twitter, Hootsuite.

12.   Set up Paypal, Amazon, or credit card payment system.

13.   Choose a funding plan if there are options on the platform –like flexible or fixed funding. (with fixed funding you have to hit the goal to receive any funds, and with flexible you receive whatever is donated). And choose the duration of the funding plan.  Most platforms suggest that the duration be relatively short so as to create a sense of urgency.  Approximately one month in duration.

14.    Reach out to other campaign owners from similar projects that were successful and ask questions.

15.   Have a group of friends review your completed campaign and make revisions.

I am using the following websites as resources to compile this blog series on crowdfunding:  www.rockethub.com,www.kickstarter.com, and www.indiegogo.com. These three crowdfunding platforms are fairly well known.    I will link out to materials on these sites in the next couple of weeks.   When you decide that you are ready to go forward with setting up a campaign, I would suggest, you also go out to a few crowdfunding websites, which you decide are interesting, and download their training materials.  I am trying to give a broad view of what needs to be done to set-up a campaign, but each crowdfunding platform has its own set-up and training materials that should be reviewed while setting up your campaign on that particular website.  

If you are a Facebook user I would suggest that you locate and “like” various crowdfunding Facebook pages and then those platforms will send out links to their most interesting projects which will keep you up to date on the types of projects that are being funded.

We are considering having a contest at the end of this crowdfunding blog series and the lucky winner will get our help with their own crowdfunding campaign!!  Start thinking about what YOUR Crowdfunding Campaign could be!!!

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