If you are crowdfunding equity there are people reading business plans on equity crowdfunding sites who do not know the owners.
BUT there is no crowd of people out there who scour the platforms looking to donate that day to projects that take their fancy or back causes they are passionate about. YOU have to make that crowd – find, connect, engage and motivate them to donate.
Friends and family make up the bulk of crowdfunding donors across all platforms.
Next are people who are more loosely connected – but they are still connected.
So what do you do?
Get your team together well in advance of the launch.
- Make a long list of your friends, family, business allies and followers.
- Draw out the key people who you are pretty sure will contribute to your campaign with BOTH donations and support.
- Send each of them a personal email or letter message (and for some actually talk to them) with a clear and direct call to action. You have to ask! You need to get 10-20% of your target pledged BEFORE you go live.
Consider – if your close friends, family and allies won’t support you – then why should anyone else?
Also consider – do you donate to other crowdfunding campaigns? If more people donate then crowfunding will become part of our cultural, financial and charitable landscape.
- relevant organisations and networks with a mailing list you can access. Get in touch before you launch to ask if they will promote your campaign e.g. feature in an e-newsletter, link from the site etc
- websites and bloggers relevant to the cause or issue – here you are looking for access to the people who will donate i.e. if you are crowdfunding a film don’t try a blogger who writes for filmmakers – filmmakers are unlikely to be your target audience. Make contact before you go live – contribute to the blog, sign-up for their newsletter etc – offer something back. Write your articles in advance so they can be published when the campaign is started.
Then go live with the initial pledges in from your closest supporters.
Send out a general email now your campaign is viable. Your more distant connections are now more likely to contribute. Send out an e-mail to everybody else you know. Try and personalise the email if you know the person – takes time but the returns will be higher.
Direct personal contact should be mirrored with posts and tweets.
Follow up with general updates and stories by email and social media – those who have contributed may give more – those who haven’t may be persuaded to do so. Remind them that if they can’t contribute, they can always help spread the word.
Keep thanking everyone!