Campaign strategists from Indiegogo, an international crowdfunding platform, stopped by Adobe HQ to fill us and their next batch of campaigners in on the secrets of successful fundraising. From the surprising trick to setting goals to creating a compelling pitch to mobilizing your network, here’s everything you need to know straight from the Indiegogo pros.
- Start with an attainable goal.
Surprisingly, a higher goal does not necessarily mean more money and in many cases it can often mean the opposite. According to Engagement Manager Josh McClain, the reason is all about perception. “People want to be a part of successful projects,” he says. For example, statistically if backers are given the choice between donating to a project that is 40% funded or 13% funded, they are more likely to back the project that is further along toward reaching their goal, even if the two projects have raised the exact same amount of money. Remember that setting an attainable goal doesn’t preclude you from raising well above your benchmark, but it does create a perception of success right out of the gate.
- Craft a compelling pitch with a video in your own voice.
According to IndieGogo’s data, campaigns with a video pitch make 115% more than ones that don’t have one and each contribution is usually around 12% higher. Your video doesn’t have to be a big production–in fact, a one-to-three minutes of your own voice explaining your project and why it’s important to you can add a priceless level of authenticity that will dri.
- Over-communicate on your campaign page.
While a short video is a great place to communicate the basics of your campaign–the who, what, where, and why–use the rest of the space on your campaign page to tell potential donors exactly how you’ll use the funds and any other information that may reassure backers. Transparency and details of your business plan go a long way toward showing potential backers that you’re serious about your goal and will be responsible with the money you raise. Whenever possible use visuals, such as a pie chart detailing where funds will go, to break up large pieces of text. As campaign strategist Lauren Wiley says, “The more you tell, the more you sell.”
- Incentivize your community with unique perks.
Perks help motivate backers and often gives donors a sense of ownership in your campaign, which can help mobilize your community to do some of your promotion for you, which is arguably more valuable than the money they donated. According to Indiegogo, campaigns with perks raise 143% more than campaigns without them. “This is your opportunity to get creative,” says Wiley, who encourages campaigners to use incentives in order to build a brand and connect with backers. If you’re raising money to get a skincare line off the ground, for instance, offer backers the product with their donation for a chance to grow your customer base before you’re even in business. If you’re not funding a product, tap your network for unique experiential incentives, such as a cooking class with a chef friend, to. Or simply use the power of social media to write personal, yet public, thank you notes, which will give backers warm-fuzzy feelings Perks don’t need to cost a lot of money. Rather it’s all about making backers feel valued and appreciated. For example, one San Francisco-based campaign fostered a sense of community among their supporter by writing the names of their donors on the walls of their cheese shop. Not just a cool way to fill wall space, it makes contributors feel like they’re part of something.
- Don’t go it alone.
Not only does having a team help you delegate the responsibilities of launching and promoting a campaign, but campaigns with teams tend to be more successful because it adds a sense of legitimacy to an idea. Campaigns run by two or more people tend to raise 94% more than solo campaigners, according to Indiegogo’s data.
- Know what your most powerful promotion tools are.
Email brings in the most funding–about 20% more–than any other platform, so a comprehensive email plan and schedule should be your first mode of attack. Emails should summarize what your project is, but don’t give too much away up front–you want people to click through to your campaign, after all. Most importantly, include a clear call-to-action that will direct your readers to your Indiegogo campaign page to donate. Another little-known tip: set up an auto-response as you would when you’re on vacation with a quick note about your campaign and a link to your page in order to reach the people already reaching out to you! While you’ll certainly want to utilize social media and traditional press opportunities, email correspondence is how you’ll get off the ground so you’ll have a better story to tell on social media. Indiegogo suggests securing 30% of you funding through email or personal contacts before pushing the campaign to social media or pitching to media.
- Know who’s most likely to give.
Not everyone has a large social media following, but everyone has a network of family and friends that want to help you make your dream happen. While sending press releases to local publications and posting social media updates a few times per week can help put your campaign in front of new audiences, the people who are most likely to give first and the most are from your personal network. Talk to them about the project before you launch and write personal emails asking them for contribution to help you get off the ground so that when you expand your reach to media or online, the project already looks successful.