So you’ve made the decision that you want to crowdfund and raise money for your idea, business or organisation. Welcome to the beginning of your crowdfunding journey! But what does it look like from here on in?
We caught up with Bertie, Crowdfunder Coach, to find out what you can expect to happen along the way.
As a coach here at Crowdfunder, I have the wonderful job of keenly following the progress of some of the best projects that are raising money with us. In my experience, the most successful projects, disregarding how much they intend to raise, follow very similar patterns meaning that there are some key things to know, such as what you do before going live and what you do during your campaign, that can contribute to the success of your crowdfunding journey.
In an ideal crowdfunding world, the total lifespan for a successful project would be seven weeks, which breaks down into three weeks of preparation, which includes planning and creating your project, and then four weeks of running your campaign and crowdfunding to make it happen.
Planning + Creating: The first three weeks
It’s no secret that we believe the preparation of your campaign to be arguably the most important stage during your crowdfunding journey. If you can put in the hours here, then you’ll be sure to reap the fruits of your labour later-on.
This planning period is essential and will help you to manage any risk in your campaign before going live, by giving you a strong understanding of where the money is going to come from.
If you’re not sure where to start when planning your project, then don’t worry because we’ve distilled everything that we have learnt over the last five years into three guides that will help you every step of the way, including planning, creating and running your project.
If you use these guides prior to going live, I can guarantee that you will raise more money for your idea.
Rolling it out: The following four weeks
Now that you’ve got a heck of a plan in place, it’s time to roll it all out. The crowdfunding part of your whole journey should be a short and sharp exercise. Crowdfunding is a small window of time that should inspire urgency and intrigue and it is this which will ensure a buzz of activity around your campaign.
Not only is it naturally difficult to sustain the necessary momentum and dedication, but any longer than four weeks and you may find that your Crowd (current and potential supporters) will start to switch off and become disengaged.
Good to know: Twin peaks
So you’ve hit the middle point of your four weeks and it seems that support has dramatically slowed down. Well, I want to assure you that this is more common than you may think.
Traditionally in crowdfunding, we tend to see a peak of activity at the beginning, a lull in the middle and another peak towards the end of a campaign. And why? Because there isn’t the same sense of urgency in the middle – it’s as simple as that. Therefore, the challenge is to make sure that there is enough activity taking place in this middle section to ensure that you maintain the levels of engagement within your audience and the momentum towards your target.
Furthermore, to capitalise on the natural peaks at the beginning and end of your campaign, it’s important to make sure that the engagement here is as high as possible. Communications around each of these periods should be ramped up to full volume to drive people towards your Crowdfunder project page.
Below is a prime example of the kind of pledge activity that we see happening on a successful project, and you’ll notice the huge increase on the first and last day of the amount of pledges being made.
Make a schedule: Your crowdfunding plan
To make sure that you have got all bases covered, I would recommend creating a crowdfunding calendar. This should include all of the necessary daily and weekly activities that you’ll need to implement to capture the attention of your audience and sustain their interest.
If you have a plan in place for each of the key channels, then you can make sure that you are firing on all cylinders and effectively marketing your crowdfunding campaign.
What are the main channels? This might include phone, email, social media, traditional media, your projects update tab (to keep all of your current supporters in the loop) and events. Not all of these channels will be effective for your idea, but you can decide on your approach during the planning period of your crowdfunding journey.
Crowdfunding is hard work
The bottom line is that crowdfunding is a lot of work because it requires consistent attention throughout. My advice would be to allocate enough time to it and to save your holiday until after its finished! You’d be surprised the amount of people that go on holiday whilst their project is running, and you’ll definitely appreciate it more if you wait until the hard work is over. After all, it is a relatively small period of time that has a clear start and end date, so if you can focus your attention and energies throughout, then you can sit back afterwards and take a break knowing that you have managed to achieve more in a month than you might have in a whole year!