How to Craft a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

So you have taken the plunge and decided to run a crowdfunding campaign because you are burning with passion about your project and are ready to spread the word and raise money. You are excited but also  nervous about what comes next. You want your campaign to be successful, maybe even viral… so how do you set yourself up for crowdfunding success?

There is no formula to guarantee your campaign will be a blockbuster, but if you make sure you consider the following tips while setting up and running your campaign, crowdfunding success will be within your grasp: A cool project; the match between the project and platform; realistic fundraising goal for the size of your network; a clear description of what the project is and why you need support and an awesome video introducing you and the project; and great rewards that reinforce the value of the project.

Cool Project

As I discussed in part one of my posts about crowdfunding, your project needs to be compelling enough that people will want to support it. It should not just benefit you, but enhance the lives of your supporters and be so exciting that they want to get involved.

Match between the project and platform

Before you set your heart on using a specific platform to run your campaign do your research. Are you comfortable with an “all or nothing” model, where if you don’t hit your goal you don’t receive any funds, or would you rather keep what you raise even if you fall short of your goal? What percentage does the site take and do they charge an additional fee for credit card processing? How quickly do they pay out?

Look at the other projects on the site. Are they similar in focus and scope to yours? Some platforms specialize in certain types of projects, such as journalism or filmmaking, and some are open to a wide variety of creative projects.

While larger platforms have a potentially wider audience, running a crowdfunding campaign on a big site does not guarantee you will reach that audience. Statistically, most support for crowdfunding campaigns comes from people already within your network. For example, when I ran my campaign in support of my book tour 95% of my supporters were people I knew, and reached out to, personally.

Set a realistic fundraising goal

Before finalizing your fundraising goal take the following into account: how much money do you need to realistically complete the project? Factor in the percentage the crowdfunding site will take, as well as the cost of fulfilling the rewards that you promise to the people who fund you. Then think about the size of your network, such as your social media audience, email list subscribers, blog readers, and family and friends that you could reach out to. The pledge amount that seems to be most successful in crowdfunding campaigns is $25. How many $25 donations would you need to reach your goal? Is that realistic given the size of your network?

Put your project’s best foot forward

Your network wants to know what you are asking them to support. Describe your project clearly and concisely in all your written material, whether it’s on the crowdfunding site, or in your email newsletter. Take the time to make a really awesome video that is personal and directly conveys your passion and pride in your project. To see what makes a great video watch videos of other crowdfunding campaigns. What engages you? What works well?

Cool rewards

Rewards can be the final piece that turns a viewer into a supporter. Rewards need not be fancy, but should enable your supporters to connect to your campaign personally. For example, my reward for people who gave $10 to my book tour campaign was a handwritten postcard from my tour. Keep your rewards simple, compelling and related to the theme of your campaign and be sure you can fulfill them in a timely manner after your campaign ends.

No matter which platform you choose, take time to carefully plan your campaign and approach each element thoughtfully. Running a crowdfunding campaign is a short, intense time and the more planning you do before you launch, the more equipped you are to keep your cool and celebrate as you build support for your dream project!

-Eleanor Whitney


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