Crowdfunding, or social financing, is a popular method of raising funds for social events, start-ups or treatments for people. One can even say that it is becoming more popular as we have lived to see a film that won an Academy Award and was financed by crowdfunding. It is easy to present your idea on the Internet and ask people there for their support. I will tell you how you can really raise money and what conditions you have to meet to have a chance for success.
As a fundraising adviser, I often talk to people who want to start a fundraising campaign. In discussions with all those who look for money, the topic that comes up often is that they hurry with their work. It doesn’t matter if we have a good business idea, and we want to put it into practice immediately, or if we are an independent theatre, and we plan on suggesting our performance for a festival that is going to happen in three months. It is good to act fast, when you get energy from your idea, but remember that a promotion of a fundraising campaign has to be prepared before it begins. Graphs for social media, slogans for memes, texts for journalists should be prepared before starting a campaign. When it is in process, we can update the materials according to the circumstances, but we should be prepared from the very beginning. Now we can move on to our next point.
Usually fundraising campaigns last longer than a few days. The most important though is a good beginning. If a potential partner will not pay immediately after seeing information about our project on the Internet, it is likely he will not give anything (unless he is a member of our family). Besides, we all like to build success, not failure. We would like to support a campaign that has already had some financial success, and not project that, after lasting for some time, didn’t manage to engage any people into it. We are coming back to our first point and to the preparation of the campaign. Before starting with a public offer, we have to:
If you have a nice project and you will put it on American Kickstarter, it is likely that you will more often encounter random supporters. But even on the biggest platforms in the world operates the same principle as anywhere else: we ourselves are responsible for our own promotion.
In our part of the world this is in 100% of cases, because there are for sure less ‘random’ supporters. I am getting close to a controversial part, because I will oppose the meaning of a lot of bloggers who say that the choice of a platform is the most important. Of course, we should not put an ecological project on a platform dedicated to culture, or charity project on a music platform. It is important to pay attention to a few functions of a platform, the next material will be dedicated to this topic. Still, I believe that in Europe it is not that important if our platform is popular or not, because we are promoting our project ourselves. Charity platforms can be of exception.
Once I had started working as an adviser for the campaign organised by a big organisation, which had offices all over Poland. I stopped working for them as I noticed that the leader wants to assign all the work to volunteers. Although he was a person connected to the media, he did not inform about the campaign at all. Volunteers can support us in preparing materials, in promotion, in logistics, but we are the ones endorsing the project, not them. In that case, campaign did not end in success. Another time I cooperated with a little local organisation, with a team of enthusiasts who worked together. Their work was successful, as they had a supportive leader and a group of people who were engaged along with him. Their financial goal was not big, but they have achieved a lot more than money. Social financing really shows if we can speak about what is important for us, if we identify with our projects and if we really can get others to follow us.
Four rules mentioned above are only the beginning of a success in crowdfunding. I invite you to read other blog posts, in which I will move on to the details of preparing a campaign. I also encourage you to comment and share your experience.