The importance of starting early when starting a crowdfunding campaign cannot be overstated. During the campaign itself, most teams find themselves so busy managing the fundraising efforts that time to work on content creation is very limited.
So, once you have reviewed and understood the information provided in the previous lessons (what crowdfunding is and what type of content you need), it’s time to hold a meeting with all of those involved in your campaign. This should be done a month before the campaign starts.
During this meeting, your team should identify and agree on the following points:
- The “what” and “why” of the campaign
- What are you raising money for?
- Why do you need it?
- How much money do you need to raise in order to be successful?
- How long, based on your preliminary research of similar campaigns, do you think you will need to raise this sum?
Note: Make sure your goals are realistic. The average campaign raises $7,000 in approximately six to nine weeks.
Define your Milestones
Once your team has agreed on the goals of the campaign, be sure to outline a series of milestones (e.g. 1/3rd of the money raised, 300 “likes” on Facebook, etc.). These will be used in social media posts, campaign updates and as internal progress measures.
Determine your Budget
Once you know what your goals are you will need to make sure you can afford what is required to achieve them. Most of the work you do will likely be done by your staff, board members or volunteers, but your expenses could include:
- perk awards (including shipping)
- video production
- content production
- marketing (social media, press releases, flyers/ads)
- stamps, envelopes and thank you cards
Remember: a detailed budget helps keep your team on track and, if necessary, you can tell your backers where the money they are contributing is going. This can help build trust and transparency in your fundraising efforts.
Who is Doing What?
You will need to make individuals responsible for each duty included in the campaign – such as, creating content, thanking backers, raising money, making phone calls, setting up the campaign page, posting flyers, running the social media strategy, sending perk awards, etc.
Who is your Audience?
Before you begin creating your content, you need to know who you are creating it for. Once again, this is an area where you should research campaigns similar to yours. Study the demographics of their backers and assess whether or not your campaign will appeal to the same niche.
It can be helpful to create what is known as a “buyer persona” or “marketing persona”. This is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal backer based on data you have about those already interested in your campaign (friends, family, previous donors, members, volunteers) and the demographics suggested by your research. Include things like average age, gender, behavior patterns, motivations, goals, hobbies, etc. The more detail you can add, the better.
How will you Market your Campaign?
Once you know who you are marketing to, consider the marketing channels that will best reach them.
Social media: different social media platforms tend to appeal to different people. Facebook is always a safe bet, but Twitter, Instagram or even Pinterest may also be viable options.
Email list: it is strongly advised to create and use an email list. This list could include previous donors, members, volunteers, clients, peers, co-workers, and even family members.
Letters: a mailing list (actual physical letters) can come in handy too. Mailing direct “ask” letters can prove fruitful.
Flyers: a properly placed poster/flyer has the potentail to reach just the right audience. Be intentional in your placement of posters. Don’t just randomly put posters at the coffee shop. Put them at the places that serve your target audience (the childrens museum, the sporting shop, a local service provider, etc).
Phone list: making a direct connection with potential donors can be a very powerful way of raising money. Use a script (yes, an actual script) and call people on your phone list. You are likely to get a message machine, so a script can come in real handy.
Paid ads: You can also investigate using Facebook ads, press releases, radio/tv ads, and other tradition forms of marketing.
When to Start the Campaign
Once you know what you need to prepare and who you are marketing to, agree on a realistic launch date for the campaign. Give people time to research and create the content. A two week timeframe can be done, but may be a bit too quick of a turn around. So, be realistic with your launch date goal. If possible, give your self a good month to get prepared.