Travel the undulating road of our crowdfunding journey with us, real-time. Snippet 1.

By Sally Coldrick and Rachel Hentsch

Launching into the creation of a Crowdfunding Campaign is precisely one thing neither of us would ever even have dreamt of doing alone. Having a ‘Hitting Partner’ is a wonderful way of stretching beyond one’s own limits. Deciding to actually do it only a week before launching may well be insanity. The lessons come hard and fast.

Asking for money is never easy.

1. How uncomfortable it is to ask for money is intrinsically linked to how personal your plea is: you are exposing your weakness(es) and asking for help, so somehow placing your fate into the hands of others. Two things that are much easier to do when you are a spokesperson for someone else, or for a much greater cause than your own . Why? Because you are not directly putting your personal reputation on the line.

2. Undertaking something that is totally new and unknown is always daunting to some degree: you will make mistakes. You need to process them immediately, and turn them into takeaways as quickly as you can. Then, move on and keep hustling.

3. Most crowdfunding platforms offer you good advice on how to best set up your campaign, but nothing beats the inevitable hard, fast and direct fails that come specific to your own case. You need to brace yourself, yet remain receptive.

So let us look together at what we have learnt so far, as we enter the 4th day of our Indiegogo campaign “Play a part in getting the MIT Sisters to Boston!”.

Rookie Error #1: Underestimating The WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) Factor

We were so intent on exorcising the fact of having to open up our situation and story to the world, that we focused almost exclusively on that thin line that divides what about us is relevant to the campaign, and what is not.

One wants to create engagement, so a face must be put to the storytelling. This is a difficult and painful exercise, and emotionally draining. So much so, that… we risked missing one of the most important ingredients that could make the campaign successful and unlock our audience’s wallet: what is in it for them? What value will we be adding to their lives? It could be material, it could be immaterial. Either way, it needs to be clearly and specifically stated. Step in our mentor from Bootcamp who reminded us, what would Bill Aulet ask? ‘WIIFM’.

The lesson? Once you have launched, you must stay open, listen to your audience and be prepared to change what is not working. You have worked hard until the last second before launch, you have exposed yourself totally, you are basically a physical and emotional wreck: but it is not over, really, it has only just begun! You must proactively ask, listen, digest and edit.

Rookie Error #2: Missing Important Visual Implications

First main image used for our crowdfunding campaign

We initially created a cartoon collage to represent the fact that we would each be flying from opposite sides of the world to reach Boston. In our mind, this would convey the idea of distance and hence of cost. After all, we needed to be justifying our four-digit ask that includes travel and accommodation expenses.

It never occurred to us that this image made it look like we were asking for funds to go on holiday! Truth be told, we will be working and studying 18 hours a day for two weeks, and sharing a hostel room. Yes, we will be away from the daily chores but it will not resemble anything like a holiday. But this was what the cartoon conveyed. We are very grateful someone spoke up and told us.

We replaced this with something that conveyed enthusiasm, dedication, yet also hard-work and sacrifice. So we promptly re-worked the image to reflect this, and came up with this second collage:

Second (updated) main image used for our crowdfunding campaign
The lesson? Test your messaging AND visuals with other people and gain the huge benefits of ‘fresh eye’.

Have you ever run a crowdfunding campaign? Bet you learnt a bunch too. We invite you to share any crowdfunding lessons you have with us at mitsisters@gmail.com

Was this valuable for you? We’d greatly appreciate any support you can provide to keep us motivated and inspired on this journey. And stay tuned for more Crowdfunding Snippets as our campaign unfolds over time and we continue to share with you our lessons learned. Follow our MITsisters channel to make sure you don’t miss our next Crowdfunding Snippet!