Sometimes it feels like organizing a successful crowd-funding campaign might require just as big a miracle as the multiplication of the loaves and fishes…
It seems a new crowd-funding campaign (CFC) is launching every minute, and whether it’s Kickstarter, IndieGoGo or another mechanism, a new CFS platform is popping up to help you solicit and organize online giving as often as a campaign. It’s safe to say, the crowd-funding craze is here to stay—at least for 2013. That can put pressure on your organization to launch one already! After all, it must be really, really easy if everyone is doing it.
Now that a host of producers, entrepreneurs and projects have successfully kick-started their project into first gear, the big question for you is “Where do I begin?”
First, some background: Crowd-Funding is the implementation of an online social platform to generate revenue for projects through digital solicitation. Given the popularity and success of thousands of startup campaigns and the availability to reach large audiences at low cost through social platforms, there’s never been a better time to engage in a crowd-funding campaign for your project. What’s the catch? You could fail miserably, which might not only demoralize you, but dampen the credibility or viability of your project or organization. After all, it’s terrific and laudable to see this type of campaign succeed, but it’s tough to see it fail—especially since everyone else seems to be succeeding so readily.
So, how do you make sure you’re set up for success?
- Allocate enough time and resources: successfully completing a crowd-funding campaign is not magic. It takes drive, research and a healthy amount of time.
- Keep expectations realistic: Sort through your networks and tally up likely backers. Assume each will give $20-$25 and drop that by 10-15%.
- Market the campaign well: Create a video people can watch so they can share your dream
- Implement a plan: Manage expectations by creating benchmarks. Identify specific dates and goals and map out different ways to arrive there. Include several scenarios.
- Stay interactive with your audience: Your contributors are sharing and funding your dream, so they deserve your gratitude. Say thank you often and go out of your way to show your appreciation for them.
Putting the Success in Crowd-Funding: A Case Study
Crowd-Funding can be tremendously successful for projects with very niche audiences as well, as evidenced with our recent collaboration on the film, The Triumph.
The Triumph is a powerful new documentary by award-winning filmmaker Sean Bloomfield, director of If Only We Had Listened with Immaculée Ilibagiza and Producer Zaid Jazrawi.
The Triumph was produced on a shoestring budget and the team needed an infusion of funds to bring this film to as wide an audience as possible.
Additionally, because of the controversial nature of the alleged apparitions of Medjugorje, it was difficult to go to traditional funding sources since the Church has yet to approve these apparitions, purportedly taking place now for more than 30 years (the Church never approves an apparition until that apparition ceases and in many cases, such an approval takes years after the event).
In order to fulfill their vision, the team set an ambitious goal of $50,000 through IndieGogo, recognizing that, unlike Kickstarter, all donations could be received even if the full goal wasn’t realized.
The story is suspenseful as the campaign lasted 45 days but only hit its half-way mark two weeks before the deadline. What we learned in driving traffic to the campaign is a lesson that should resonate with every organizer of a crowd-funding campaign: Digital Fundraising is the same as Traditional Fundraising.
In addition to creativity and vision, a successful development campaign must demonstrate urgency, specificity and viability in a compelling and consistent way. In the Information Age, a successful campaign—crowd-funding or otherwise—must also be clever, nimble and cut through the clutter of online ads, e-mails, tweets and the everyday distractions of family, friends and finances. Finally, the campaign should begin with a base and set its expectations from a realistic estimation of the capability of that base.
And it did. With just a few days left, The Triumph crowd-sourced over $50,000 in capital ahead of its goal and eclipsed the $55K mark with minutes left on the clock. By growing an online community of support using promotions, a combination of boosted posts (because we’re not convinced Facebook ads work and we’re not alone) and organic growth on social media, The Triumph…well…triumphed! But there was a lot of blood, sweat and tears behind the scenes as well as a dedicated group who essentially worked as full-time development professionals for an entire month.
It’s easy to get as overwhelmed as the Apostles were when they wanted Jesus to send the crowd away. But through their willingness to place their faith in Him, they fed a crowd of 5,000+. Almost makes it seem like raising $5K through a well-planned CFC isn’t so hard after all…it might even be fun.
Looking for some more information on Crowd-Funding and Online Fundraising?
One common question is Does SEM help the cause? Google AdWords doesn’t allow for the solicitation of funds unless your project is tax-exempt. However, driving traffic to your site with an effective landing page can supplement your entire method of solicitation. Utilize your crowd-funding widgets to show that other people are contributing and that’s an effective way to reach a wider audience.
Feel free to call, e-mail or tweet with your queries. We’re happy to chat and want to know what the next big thing is—that could be your apostolate, film project or faith-inspired idea that will change the world.
Little Flower Strategies is New Marketing for the New Evangelization and our team has extensive development and (award winning) digital media experience. That’s a powerful combination and we want it to work for you and Him!