Crowdfunding Essentials from Someone Who Helped Raise over $300,000

What are the most essential items?

1. You have an idea/product/company to launch
2. A network of people who like you
3. Pitch video
4. Project Description
5. Rewards!

Your idea better be good. Everyone is getting hit up for money from all over these days as sponsored ads permeate our entire existence. Therefore in order to rise above all the bullshit you need something that people will really desire, that’s essential to their existence, or perhaps solving a problem they didn’t know they had. Bottom line, it has to be damn good. Best way to figure that out is to tell people. Tell your family, your friends, coworkers, random strangers on the street, even tell people you don’t like a whole lot. Why? You need their feedback. It’s better to have a coworker laugh at you for a stupid idea than to spend the time and resources to launch a crowdfunding campaign and to have it fall flat. When that happens your failure has become public knowledge, an embarrassment that will be hard to get over, your coworkers will get over it in time…

Your network is super vital as well. Sure, you may want to think that “everyone” is going to love/want/need your product, but how in the world are you going to connect with everyone? If you have millions of dollars it’s easy, you just buy ads all over the place, but you don’t have millions of dollars which is why you’re going to crowdfund. So the real key is getting early adopters on board right away, and who better to turn to than the people you know best? Make a list, write down their contact info, and come up with an amount of money you think they’d be willing to donate. This will begin to give you an idea as to how much money you’ll be able to raise. Then start connecting with them before you launch the campaign!

There’s no way to understate the importance of a good pitch video. You might take a friend out one evening to talk for hours about your new company and how it’s going to change the world and get them really excited about it. Problem is that when people find your campaign online you won’t have that time, in fact you should expect about two or three minutes, tops. If you can’t distill your idea into a video that’s 2–3 minutes then you’re in big trouble. Making sure that a good majority of people watch until the very end of the video is paramount because how many people are going to give you money if they stop watching half way through?

Here’s one of my favorites…

The project description has to strike a delicate balance with the pitch video because some information across both will be redundant, but here you have more opportunity to go into detail. Good idea to include more about your background, why you’re awesome, and why people should believe you can actually do what you’re trying to do. Maybe include some info on the other people involved as well to build more street cred. We want to support successful people who surround themselves with successful people. Furthermore go into depth about your idea, make some spiffy graphics with eye-catching colors, include some photos if you can, make it fun! Nobody wants to see a smattering of text so break it up with a few good visuals.

Lastly you’ve got to come up with some bang-up rewards. If you’re launching a product then it should be easy enough to include that at a discounted rate, right? Go farther though to include an element of scarcity because that builds urgency which compels people to donate now. If you’re launching a video game include a special edition character you can only get through the crowdfunding campaign. If you’re making a movie send people exclusive videos/photos from set. If you’re putting on a theatrical performance show up at their house and do a mini-show.

These are the basics, which hopefully give you some more insight into how a campaign is created. None of these are steadfast rules, but ignore them at your own risk. In further posts we can dive into developing an outreach plan, events, evolving your story, campaign analytics, backer updates, thank you messages, and much much more.

If you want to connect with me directly please feel free to check out my website. I’m always eager to connect with entrepreneurs who are working to launch their next great idea: