The secrets to crowdfunding your big idea

I’m Si and I’ve been helping people raise money on Crowdfunder for almost as long as the company has been around. Over the last few years, I’ve had the pleasure of directly working with, coaching and learning from 100’s of projects, who have collectively raised around £20,000,000 through the crowd, including Resurgence, the Iron Bridge and GlenWyvis Distillery

Basically, I would say that my main speciality is raising the big bucks.

I’ll be straight with you… crowdfunding for a big sum isn’t easy, but I’ve got a couple of secrets that I think could help you in having a big impact.

 

 

First, the conventionality. Crowdfunder is a place for you and your organisation to connect with new and existing audiences, who care about that thing that you want to do. Our focus is to provide a fundraising platform for ideas that create real value, real social and environmental impact, and to help you raise as much as you can from as many people as possible.

In successfully crowdfunding, you’ll be able to execute your Big Idea, whatever that may be, in the best way possible and create a group of supporters that provide stability long into the future.

Now – the secret sauce – it goes without saying that the more money you raise the better. Let’s explore the tricks of the trade for raising more than say… £50,000 on a platform like Crowdfunder.

1. Are you a big or a small project?

There’s a really nice and easy part to crowdfunding in that it’s very measurable, as it involves a lot of numbers.

The mathematical flow for a Crowdfunder project is this…

# Audience size (to market to)

% Of audience that will land on the project page (usually 3%)

% Of project viewers that will support the project (use project page and rewards to convert)

£ They pledge an average amount (usually £50)

= Total amount raised

So, let’s work backwards for a need of £50,000…

£50,000 needed

1,000 supporters (£50,000 needed with a £50 average pledge)

20,000 page views (5% conversion rate will mean 1,000 supporters)

600,000 audience size (3% conversion rate will mean 20,000 page views)

As you can imagine, getting a project in front of 600,000 people is not an easy task, and frankly is just not possible for some projects.

Which brings me to my first trick of the trade; recognising if you are a project that can raise significant funds.

Do the maths on your own crowdfunding need, using the above conversion figures as a guide. If you look at those numbers and are frightened off, then you have two options.

  1. Ring fence a smaller amount of money for the crowdfund, and attempt to smash through it.
  2. Get more access to more audiences before you go live.

More people to reach out to = more potential supporters.

 

2. Micro pitching

If you’re going for the +£50k, then you know that you need to reach a lot of people. So, it should come as no surprise that the existing – and new – people in your network will have different motivations and reasons for wanting to support your thing.

Think about it like launching a restaurant. When people come in the door, your goal is to turn them into a customer. Some will want fish, some steak, some vegetarian and some vegan. Same thing with crowdfunding; the goal is to get their support. However, some people will be motivated to give you their hard earned cash by different factors.

You can probably build 8 personas of the types of people who exist in your audience.

Let’s say you push out a blanket message to everyone in your audience network, but it’s only really appreciated by one type of person.

You’re messaging will be ineffective to a whole bunch of people that are seeing it, which means that they probably won’t click on the link and make it to your page, which means no pledges.

So, the trick is to know what your audience looks like, and come up with a set of messages (and rewards, if you’re really good) which is specific to them. I’d literally map out your entire network, on a huge piece of paper, and start grouping audiences by their interest and motivations to support you.

Then go round each group and come up with the micro pitch (the one liner marketing message) that each group will respond best to.

Only put that targeted message out to relevant groups and you’ll see an increase in your conversion rate between people in your audience and people landing on your page.

More people landing on your page = more potential supporters

 

3. Your Page

There is so much information out there on what makes a good crowdfunding project that it’s not worth me writing about whether you need a sub 2 or plus 2 minute video, or how many words you need to write in your description for that matter.

Google that.

The truth is, nobody watches all of your video or reads all your description. People are too busy.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to provide all of the key bits of information (for each of your audience personas), or have a video at the top of your Crowdfunder page. In fact, that’s really important.

Spending time on your page is pretty crucial because the more people your page can convince to pledge, the more money you’ll raise.

The big trick with the page is less about the content and more about how it’s displayed.

Cover your bases, but do it in a way that makes it easy for people to find the bit of information that they need. Spread everything out with cool headings, and include images to help people visualise what you are describing.

Then, get feedback on the page from each of your persona groups.

Ask, “Do you get it? What would you pledge on? Who would you share this with?” and adjust your page accordingly. This should all be done before you go live, and on Crowdfunder we give you a special “Preview” link that you can share with people.

Right page = high conversion of supporters

 

4. Be timely, not boisterous

This is a good one.

You need to approach your marketing with finesse. It’s more about putting the right message in front of the right person at the right time, than it is about getting it in front of as many people as possible.

Let’s go back to the network map (see point 2) that you did.

Get a new pen out and around the different audiences, add two sets of numbers.

  1. How big an audience you think it is -> i.e. 10,000 people.
  2. How engaged they are (As in, likely to pledge) in a scale -> i.e. 1 – 5, most likely to least likely.

Then take the groups that are most likely to pledge (labelled with a 1) and plug them into the opening part of your marketing plan.

The people least likely to pledge (labelled with a 5) should go in the final part of the marketing plan.

The 2’s, 3’s and 4’s all go in the middle weeks of your marketing plan.

You build momentum on a project by targeting the people most likely to pledge first and least likely to pledge last. Build social capital on your page by having a ton of support before you target someone who isn’t likely to pledge on your project, and you’ll get more of that audience group pledging, which raises you more money.

Definitely do not assume that sending an email to 500,000 people who are of a low engagement level (the 5’s) at the start of your project will result in you getting most of the way to your target. It’s not going to happen.

The network map helps to plan all of this.

More people on your page at the right time = higher conversion of supporters

 

5. Be a yes man (or woman)

Crowdfunding gives you a wonderful opportunity to shout about your Big Impact Idea in a way that’s not driven by ego.

Because you’ve now got a considered marketing plan, you know to some degree that you’re going to get your message out there. In doing so, you are almost definitely going to get new opportunities that you didn’t know existed coming at you.

For the four weeks that you are crowdfunding, say yes to all of them.

Take the interview with the journalist that calls, work out a shared value deal with a potential partner, share peoples comments and social posts, take the opportunity to pitch at an event you’ve been invited to.

Saying yes during those four weeks will do one of two things.

  1. Get your project more backers
  2. Create relationships with partners/media outlets

Both give your idea sustainability and are worth missing a couple hours of sleep for.

Line as much up as you can before going live, but say yes to as much as you can when you’re live to.

More opportunities leads = more audiences = more potential supporters

 

In summary

Crowdfunding is a hybrid of science, art and luck in unequal measures, but if you follow the numbers, you can set yourself up for success.

• Be diligent and figure out your audiences, how many you think you can reach (and convert!) and at what level of pledging.

• Be creative in your approach to the different audiences and the narrative you spin to describe your Big Idea.

• Create your own luck by maximising the opportunity by saying yes.

Right people + Right message + Right time = More money raised.

 

Want to hear more from Si? You can watch his TEDx Talk here

If you think you’ve got what it takes to have a Big Impact, then get in touch at enquiries@crowdfunder.co.uk.

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