I’ve had an interest in crowdfunding for quite some time. Lately my fascination has grown as I’ve watched some crowdfunding projects do great while others fall short of the financial goal. Some are downright disastrous.
A great success comes from a Facebook friend who hit his numbers with time to spare. He is raising money to publish a children’s book. It’s been fun watching Bryce Westervelt reach his goal. Lots of people supported his dream. That’s one thing that makes crowd funding so successful, your community.
This got me to thinking; what does it take for some campaigns to be wildly successful and others not?
Thus began my search for the answer. While looking for information on the topic one person kept showing up in search after search as one of the top go-to experts on the topic is Debe Fennell.
Debe quickly agreed to share insights as to how authors and speakers can benefit from crowdfunding. She shares some of the most important questions you must ask before any project.
Debe writes: crowdfunding is a very viable avenue for authors and speakers to raise funds, but it can be tricky, if you don’t really understand how it all works. When I talk about crowdfunding I primarily speak about social media marketing, but the conversation always revolves around a company’s business plan and the financial needs of the owners. There are many ways to approach creating or growing a start-up business, but the principals of business are always the same.
Crowdfunding is an extension of the business plan, an elaboration of the marketing plan and it is only one component of fundraising, not the entire plan. So, knowing ones financial picture, is essential. And, as a part of the overall marketing plan for launch or continued growth, owners must know who their “crowd” is, how big that database is and whether those people will be inclined to donate, pre-purchase a product or seek the reward offered for the donation.
How much money should I ask for? On several sites, if you don’t make your goal, you don’t get anything. So, consider asking for less money, because you can always go over that amount. Come up with the amount of money you want to raise and divide the number of people in your database into that number and that’s how much each individual has to give to reach your goal.
Find out who among your “crowd” has a list and ask if they will mail or post for you during your crowdfunding project. It’s like an affiliate email campaign, but with some differences in the way you converse with people. Your crowd consists of your friends and family, their friends and family and anyone else you can get to help support your project. This takes organization and coordination in clear terms. It may seem casual, but it’s anything but.
Creating a crowdfunding project includes creating one or more videos, emails, blogs, social media posts and short messages. These always include the link to your project page, where people can learn about the details of your project and donate. There are 5 aspects of any project you need to consider and relate to your “crowd”:
- What is the money for?
- What specifically will you do with the money?
- What will your rewards for donations be?
- What is your timetable for sending the rewards after the completion of your crowdfunding project?
- Why are you doing this project?
Most projects last for 60 to 120 days, depending on which site you choose to host your project. Some people do the project from their own website or Facebook page. Unless you’re skilled at social media, I’d caution against doing that. There are a myriad of issues with the donations/rewards payment and delivery systems that can be huge draws on your time…better to leave that to people who have already figured out how to do it.
There are bound to be questions in your mind about crowdfunding and I’m happy to provide answers. Debe@launchmoxie.com.
About the author
Debe Fennell is adept in public relations, marketing and promotion for the music industry, real estate, education companies and for non-profits. Debe is a veteran in the music industry as a journalist for a national trade newspaper (R&R), nationally syndicated radio shows, and 10 years as a national record label (BMG, Curb) promotion executive. She has managed PR, affiliate relations and marketing for high-end speaker authors, handling national TV, radio, print and book publishing. Ms. Fennell is a frequent speaker, guest business on radio shows (Billions Rising.com). Debe is associated with the National Crowdfunding Association, CFIRA.org (intermediary & advocacy with the SEC for crowdfunding), and Entrepreneurship Nevada.