Social_CapitalOnce you know where you will fundraise, the next step is NOT campaign creation. Instead, you need to start the process of planning your campaign. Planning and executing a crowd-funding campaign takes months, not days.

We will use two Arizona-based companies to illustrate the importance of planning and social capital creation. First, social capital is not the same as having a social media presence.  Just as advertising is not the only component of marketing, simply having social media reach is not enough.

Social capital means that you have an expert or leadership role in your space.  You build that through blogging, speaking, volunteering, public relations, and yes, social media.  Start well before your campaign to build up your crowd that you can then leverage at the start of your campaign. 

Quality is important, not quantity. Buying followers or friends will not help because those are not true supporters. You need to have a great network of evangelists.

Case Study: Tale of Two Campaigns

DNA on a Shirt creates genetic art on t-shirts and also for display. G3Box was a company that converted steel shipping containers into maternity wards for deployment to Africa. (G3Box was sold to a larger company last year.)

Both companies used for their crowdfunding efforts. G3Box launched “G3Box: Ship a Maternity Clinic to Kenya” and successfully raised more than their goal. DNA on a Shirt launched “DNA Zoo Tees” and did not meet their goal.

G3Box started well before their launch and leveraged the tie between upcoming Mother’s Day and the maternity ward aspect of saving women who died in childbirth. G3Box accumulated people who were ready to contribute on day one and that, plus the Mother’s Day reward that sent a card to your mom, had them at the top of the Indiegogo page early in their campaign.

DNA on a Shirt did not do pre-selling or gather partners or supporters and they did not have great visibility on Indiegogo. For a second attempt, they partnered with the Cheetah foundation for “DNA on a Shirt: Help Save the Cheetah!” and did prework in terms of outreach and media interviews.  The second time they succeeded. 

Lessons Learned:

  1. Find your crowd (see last week’s blog)
  2. Heavy PR and that means not just press releases.
  3. Pre-selling up to 30% of your target.
  4. Get it all in writing – from the terms for the platform to your partners’ contributions.
  5. Sensible rewards structure (see next week’s blog <link to sign up>).

Interested in learning more about crowdfunding? Join us on July 8th for our webinar with Early Growth Financial Services.

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