Sports crowdfunding: Nicola Noble’s 7 top tips

photo (1)When student Nicola Noble missed out on a Sports Scholarship, she could have given up her dream of completing in the Sprint Duathlon at the European Championships. But she didn’t – she discovered Crowdfunder instead.

After attending a Crowdfunder workshop at Plymouth University, the second year Occupational Therapy student decided to set up her own project. She set a target of £500, half of what she would need to complete in the Sprint Duathlon.  The results? She more than tripled her target, raising a staggering £1,620 from 84 backers in just 28 days. Oh, and as for the Sprint Duathlon – she’s now a bronze medallist!

After her rip-roaring all-round success, we caught up with Nicola to find out her top tips for a sports crowdfunding project: 

1. Attend a Crowdfunder workshop

To start with, Nicola attended a workshop held by Heather Forster, Plymouth University’s Crowdfunder in Residence. If you’re not 100% sure about crowdfunding this is a great starting pointing; it will give you an opportunity to find out how everything works and ask questions. Nicola also found it provided her with some much need encouragement and said she found it “a great confidence boosting experience.”

2. Pick meaningful rewards

Your backers are likely to be interested in the subject of your project, so it makes sense to offer them rewards that relate to that. Nicola told us: “My audience were sports clubs and sports participants. I was able to offer them bicycle key-rings, passes for the gym and water bottles.”

It’s worth considering postage costs though, as Nicola found out the hard way: “If I could go back and change things now, I would not use water bottles as a reward as the postage costs were quite high which meant I made less of a pledge.”

3. Speak face to face

These days we’re so used to emailing people that picking up the phone can seem daunting. But Nicola has some wise words on the subject: “Do not email,” instead she suggests you “try and meet the person face to face or pick up the phone and call them, as they will struggle to say no to your face.”

It might be nerve-wracking the first few times, but Nicola thinks it’s worth it: “This definitely challenged me but it worked and also helped me to improve in my confidence overall.”

4. Become a social media whizz

Nicola used Twitter and Facebook to generate a buzz around her project and get people involved. She told us one of the most important things to get right is timing: “Timing is essential, promote your campaign on payday, or in the evening when people will be at home to see your tweet or Facebook link.”

And don’t be afraid to tweet a lot: “During the campaign use social media all the time to promote your crowdfunding project. Thank every single pledger over social media but also include your Crowdfunder website link on each thank you to attract other people to your campaign.”

Crop5. Throw a thank you party

Show your backers you care by throwing them a thank you party, preferably, says Nicola, “with lots of cake!” You can also use it as an opportunity to give out rewards to local backers who attend, which, points out Nicola, “saves you paying postage.” We call that a win win.

6. Rope in friends and family

Nicola told us that crowdfunding can be tough if you do it alone. Her advice? “Get all the help you can from family, friends, work colleagues, clubs and societies. The more people you have helping and spreading the word, the more successful and enjoyable your campaign will be.”

7. Get a decent portrait taken

Getting press coverage is a great way to promote your project and find more backers. Nicolas top tip for getting the media interested? Make it as easy as possible for them by supplying your own images. “I managed to have 2 or 3 decent photos taken of me before my campaign which all articles used; this seemed to take the hassle out of running a story as they didn’t need to book a photographer.”

With the help of Crowdfunder, Nicola managed to secure coverage in national newspapers, a national sporting magazine as well as her local and university paper.

Ready to run YOUR sports project? Get started today. 

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