A crowdfunding campaign is an intense drama. You put heart and soul into your project. You believe in your mission. You launch a campaign and obsessively track your contributions. You go down to the wire as you work your social media connections. You contact bloggers and journalists and see if they will write about your passion and help you. The clock ticks down and, in the final moments, you don't make your goal.
It's devastating and disheartening. But crowdfunding campaigns that don't make it the first time can often have another shot.
In the last few months I've witnessed some crowdfunding squeakers - campaigns that didn't look like they were going to make it, but pulled through at the last moment. The people running those campaigns knew how to plan, when to pivot and when try new things. When their campaigns hit the the wall, they knew what to do.
To understand their success, let's look at what's behind a crowdfunding failure. Then we'll examine the crowdfunding afterlife.
Top Ten Reasons Crowdfunding Campaigns Fail
Reason #10. Not making clear what the money is for. If you want contributors to take action and give, you need to be really specific about how you plan to... Read more
There are no more generalists. Ok, a bold statement, not entirely true. There’s still a Sears. There’s still a Macy’s. There’s still a guy with that truck that says Handyman on the side who drives around the neighborhood.
But in the online world, rapidly becoming the only world that matters to many of us, specialists rule the day. If you are a photographer, you have focused on a certain population, like newlyweds, or snowboarders. If you need to do Google Adwords, you call an Adwords guy. If you want to send a personalized magazine-like email like I’m doing a lot of lately, you call the email marketing guy. Coders specialize in WordPress or Ruby on Rails. Companies dedicate themselves solely to task-management applications.
There’s a reason for this. It starts out being technical, because when you’re creating something specialized, like an app that does your books, you need to know a lot about the needs of the people who would use such an app. But the reasons for this specialization soon end up moving into something beyond the technical. The reasons become cultural. You’re not going to take your Maserati to Sears to get fixed. A wedding photographer would only screw up your... Read more
It is time to create freely. It is time to sing the song, shoot the movie, launch the prototype, publish the book, dance the dance. Go ahead: Create your non-profit, change the world. Now it's your turn.
Are you dreaming? Am I? I don't think so. I'm writing this, aren't I? You're reading it. We must be awake now. Crowdfunding can be somewhat dreamy, certainly. Movies by famous people, like the Veronica Mars Movie Project, Zach Braff's Wish I Was Here, and Spike Lee's "newest, hottest joint" have raised so many millions using Kickstarter, they are very nearly in the yadda-yadda-already-heard-that-one category. Artists you may have never heard of are raising hundreds of thousands on IndieGoGo and Rockethub. Causes and socially-responsible businesses are sprouting up on GoFundMe and Razoo. Donors Choose is supporting teachers. There is a crowdfunding channel for YouTube creators called TubeStart.
Crowdfunding has arrived. According to Crowdsourcing.org, there are more than 400 crowdfunding platforms operating all over the world. $772 million has been funded on more than 48,000 Kickstarters so far, according to Kickstarter. You can prototype everything from a mini-greenhouse for an apartment to an espresso machine, get backers, go into production, start a business. All without a dime of venture capital, all without giving... Read more
So you have some money to spend on a communications campaign? Great! It may surprise you to know that the amount of money you have to spend is not as critical as how fast you spend it.
Here’s the thing. In documentary production we are able to make a nice chart of how money is spent. If you view it as a timeline, you’ll notice something right away. At the start – when it is just you and an idea – things are pretty cheap, but as production continues – adding a crew, an editor, composer, and graphics - things get more and more expensive. If you need to make changes at the beginning, it’s cheap. If you need to change something at the end, it is not cheap.
Now, when you look at communications and PR, most people turn that formula on its head. People seem to think like movie moguls who want their blockbuster movie to ‘open big,’ so they blow an enormous amount of money on the opening weekend, the premiere, the launch, the one-time media release, figuring that if you make enough noise at the beginning ... Read more