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What does a crowdfunding journey look like?

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!

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5 things you need to know before crowdfunding

So you’ve had a great idea and you know that it’s going to have an incredible impact on those around you and your community, but now you need the funds to make that idea happen – and word on the street is that crowdfunding can do just that.

It’s true. Crowdfunding is an excellent way of raising the funds needed to transform an idea, and can bring with it many other benefits such as raising awareness of your brand/organisation, gaining validation from the Crowd that they think your idea is a great one too and, once your project has successfully closed, you’ll have your very own Crowd of supporters joining in on your journey with you.

The thing is, however, that not all ideas are suited to crowdfunding – perhaps because the idea needs some development before it can be launched into the world, or you simply haven’t told anyone about it yet (and you need people to support your project!) In fact, the most common question that we get asked by new projects is, ‘Will my project successfully crowdfund?’

The team have put their heads together, and we think that it really comes down to these five things.

1. Can you reach enough people?

It is really important to have your own Crowd to get the ball rolling. What we mean by this is an engaged audience – whether this be via social media, an email database, or through conversation.

Facebook: Having a thriving Facebook page or group is a big step in the right direction for anyone looking to crowdfund. If you’re looking to raise over £2,000, we would really expect to see a Facebook page with a following of 500+ who are really engaging with your posts.

Email: Having a group of people that you can email is a fantastic way to reach lots of people and spread the word. To raise over £2,000, a list of over 500 people is a good starting point.

Real world: Although crowdfunding is online, the best way to ask someone to pledge is either face to face or on the phone. Holding events, like a launch party for example, is a great way to get people in a room and tell them all about your project, as well as being an opportunity to answer any questions.

2. Is your idea good enough?

Ideas have the unique potential to change the world, but it’s a good idea to test the idea out with some people first and find out if they would back your project. If so, how much would they be willing to pledge?

The answers that you get back from people can really help you to sculpt your project description and video, as well as give you an idea about whether your target is realistic.

3. Do I need to add rewards?

There are lots of different types of crowdfunding, but this is both a rewards and donation based crowdfunding platform. Therefore, yes! Add rewards to your project. Rewards are a great way of increasing the amount of money a supporter will pledge and it’s a great way for generating excitement around your project.

More often than not, a potential supporter will have an amount they want to give in their head before they even land on your project page, and good rewards (exclusive and good value for money) can help them to make a decision to pledge more.

When planning your rewards, make sure that you cover all types of budget by having rewards starting from as little as £10 – give everyone a chance to get involved.

4. How much can you raise?

Whilst there is no limit to the amount you can raise, we recommend crowdfunding for a realistic target that will enable you to make your idea happen. The amount that you can raise will come down to how big your current Crowd is and how popular your idea is with new supporters.

The average pledge made on a crowdfunding project (using ‘all or nothing’ funding) is £50. Therefore, a project looking to raise £2,000 will need around 40 people to make a pledge.

It’s important to keep in mind that not everyone who sees your project will make a pledge, so you should be looking to get over 800 people (on average, 1 in 20 people make a pledge) to the page to achieve a target of £2,000.

5. Make sure that you get off to a good start

No one wants to be the first to arrive to a party, and it’s just the same with crowdfunding – nobody wants to be the first to pledge! Make sure that you line up the first 10 supporters (friends and family) to pledge when you go live.

It’s a good idea to hold back on promoting your project on social media and in emails until you have 10% already pledged on your project page; it makes it much more appealing for potential supporters if they can already see others getting behind your great idea.