It’s a no-brainer: the community of friends and colleagues you’ve built over your life and career is your #1 asset when launching a Kickstarter campaign. But just because it’s logical, doesn’t make it easy.
Anyone who’s ever actually run a crowdfunding campaign knows: a network is only as valuable as your ability to leverage it when you need it most. And that’s much easier said than done.
It’s not a stretch to say that having an innovative idea is easier than finding people to fund it. Anxiety over “making the ask” can lead to lots of wasted time and sleepless nights stressing about fundraising strategies, instead of building the idea. Failure to execute can even lead to the abandonment of a great idea before it ever sees the light of day. It’s no surprise that over 60% of campaigns fail to reach their goal. But it doesn’t need to be this way.
Despite Your Relationship … It’s Still About Value
Taking the right approach to mobilizing your community for a Kickstarter project can make or break your Kickstarter fundraising goals. The key is to consider not just what you want, but also what you are offering to the people who agree to support you.
Remember, whether you’re talking about business or fundraising, getting people to hand over their hard-earned money - even people you already have an established relationship with - is about providing value. No matter how altruistic someone is, they aren’t going to give money to someone who comes off as just begging.
Your Crowdfunding Campaign Isn’t Actually About YOU
Once you begin thinking about your campaign from this angle - that is, from the angle of your funders - the messaging falls into place almost automatically. Here’s what you need to do, in three steps:
1. Get them excited about your project.
The first mission is to get your network hooked on your plan. Don’t be afraid to proclaim the audacity and importance of your project. People want to be a part of something big; something that matters. But you should never assume your project is so obviously incredible that people will notice on their own.
Think about your own life. How much time do you have to devote to other people’s dreams? Exactly. Don’t assume anyone else is different.
2. Incentivize them.
Once you’ve got your ask ready to go, start working on your rewards. Offering perks and other benefits for support is extremely important. This can be done in a variety of ways, and should continue at all stages of the campaign.
Provide exclusive perks to early supporters. Run stretch goal campaigns with great swag. Let people know they will get a special gift if they help push you over the finish line at the end. The more ways you can incentivize, the better.
3. Keep them involved.
No matter what stage of the project you’re in, always follow up with your backers to keep them informed about your progress and ask for feedback. People will feel invested if it’s a give and take relationship.
Remember, one in four donors to a crowdfunding campaign make a second donation. So don’t alienate them by going silent after they hand over their money the first time … or the second.
Successful Crowdfunding Is a Social Exercise
Now that your network’s buzzing with excitement about how they’re part of a Kickstarter campaign that’s going to change the world, make it easy for them to talk about it.
This is a critical strategy to get right. The proof is in the pudding: making it easy for your backers to share their support works. And with 65% of millennials saying they are “very comfortable” sharing the causes they donate to, failing to do so is inexcusable. All it takes is to display social media buttons after a donation is made. Then watch yourself get a huge boost in visibility.
Leverage Your Relationships for a Quick Start
Did you know that 90% of the campaigns that reach 30% of their goal are successful? Here’s how it’s done: approach your network with an exciting ask via a campaign that constantly puts the emphasis on them, while simultaneously encouraging them to spread the word. There’s no better way to raise funds quickly.
If you can accomplish that, the odds are in your favor, and you’re well on your way to making your project a reality.