Crowdfunding is not a fad. It’s here to stay based on how successful many church and ministries have been over the past few years with the way of raising funds. We’ve written two previous articles on crowdfunding: Part one discusses five possible solutions for your next crowdfunding project and Part two offers input from churches and ministries that have successfully crowdfunded.
But we cannot stop here. If you are serious about starting your own crowdfunding project, you will need some of these tips to be successful. This project will take time, creativity, lots of conversations and support, so if you want to get something started next month, you will need to begin to lay the groundwork today.
Here are 10 tips to making your own successful crowdfunding campaign:
1) Set Yourself Up For Success
“One of the things I found most helpful to keep in mind is the idea that Indiegogo is a way to generate excitement and energy for a campaign, but not a way to connect with donors. The relationships with donors need to be healthy and in place well before the campaign gets started. Staging those donors to give at particular times also helps create momentum, which encourages others to give. We asked some donors to give right at the beginning of the campaign, before the campaign was public, to give us a strong start. Others gave in the first week.” – Emily Scott, St. Lydia’s
2) Own Your Story
“We let the organization tell their story of the mission and vision of the organization instead of relying on individuals who are a part of the organization. The individual should tell why they are passionate about the organization and let the organization communicate why they exist and the mission they hope to accomplish.” – Matt McKee
3) Don’t Get Lazy With Rewards
I have seen some Christian projects with rewards of “one person saved” or “a whole village that will come to know Jesus.” I hope you are not trying to use the Gospel for your own gain, but rewards like such show a lack of understanding. Further, I have been apart of some projects where I did not get my reward for months, if at all. Do not be lazy with creating or sending out your rewards.
4) Pick the Platform That Fits Your Project Best
Missionaries would not thrive on Kickstarter (and probably would not be accepted) but would do well if they have smaller projects. Picking your platform could result in no money (if you do not meet your goal in Kickstarter, you get nothing) as opposed to a platform that does not have a lot of visitors and would require lots of personal marketing. (FaithLauncher)
5) Market Outside of the Crowdfunding Platform
I’ve traversed several religious projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo and been saddened with ministries that assume you can just create an account and everyone will give you money, only to have the time expire and have one backer for $5, if they are lucky. Use social media, email newsletters, and your website to promote before the project goes live as preparation as well as during the event to keep everyone updated on progress.
6) Be Visual
“Any crowdfunding campaign should use as many pictures as possible and have a solid video. We now live in an online world that values pictures and videos more than just text.” – Matt McKee
7) Take Advice Already Given
The Indiegogo “playbook” offers a ton of excellent advice. Make sure you read it in detail before launching your campaign. Planning for the campaign is key. You want to have a plan before you hit “go.” -Emily Scott, St. Lydia’s
8) Don’t Fundraise, Build A Community
Yes, you are raising money for a project and that should be your first priority in everything. That being said, this is your chance to build a community. This means that if you are giving out gifts for different giving levels, you should make it relevant to your project and ensure it is all branded. Make sure you have people join a newsletter when they give so you can keep them up to date on progress, even after your project has completed. And invite them to join in whenever possible.
9) Harness the Crowdsourcing Power
You could try to do all of the marketing yourself if you wanted but think about advertising. Of course, you are going to say this is the project people should give to. But if your donors do this, you have not only expanded your reach beyond what you have, you have also been given a HUGE marketing tool. Figure out how you can have your donors share your project.
10) Make Sure the Economics Work Out
Crowdfunding legend has it that in the early stages, someone put together a great crowd fundraiser and forgot to implement the cost of rewards and shipping. Thus, they completed their goal, and ultimately lost thousands of dollars after shipping out their rewards. Do the math and make sure you can cover all your expenses.
So the question is, what campaign are you going to do and what tips do you think you are going to implement?
If you do plan to do a Kickstarter, leave a link below so we can see some other great success stories of campaigns that are trying a new form of funding.