The 10 Commandments to Crowdfunding

Be Wise and Work Smarter

The 10 Commandments are laws to which people turn, not as a guarantee for immortality, perfect health, or financial success, but rather as a code for living. I went into my crowdfunding campaign quite blindly. And while my campaign was a success, I created these 10 Commandments, derived from my experience, as a guide for which future campaigners may learn.

1. During your campaign, you shall have no other mission other than crowdfunding. To run a successful campaign, commit to it fulltime job. If this is impossible, get fulltime help. Keeping the campaign length relatively short (30–45 days), may help to ensure your ability to fully attend and nurture your campaign.

2. You shall not make idols out of any one crowdfunding platform. Neither Indiegogo, nor Kickstarter, nor Headstarter is a God. None of them will, nor can, guarantee a successful campaign. There are more and perhaps lesser known crowdfunding platforms in existence with differentiating guidelines and parameters that you should consider. Do your homework and choose wisely.

3. You shall not assume people will react after one email. During your “soft launch”, do not expect to hear back from all of your family and friends. While this campaign is on the forefront of your mind, it is probably not on theirs. By adding “please let me know either way” to your initial message, you’ll have an excuse to reach out to them a second time or even a third time without feeling like you are badgering them.

4. Remember the Sabbath day. Consider taking a “day of rest” during your campaign. Crowdfunding is a full-time job which can lead to mental and emotional enslavement as well as burn out. There is great wisdom in abstaining from computer devices and avoiding your campaign for 24 hours. Go on a hike. Smell the roses. Read to your children.

5. Honor you neighbors as yourself. Accept everyone’s choices as to whether they choose to contribute or support your campaign. Do not depend on your friends or contributors to spread the word. When moving beyond your inner circles, always approach people with respect (i.e., do not make an ask in your introductory email) and when/if they do contribute, keep them inspired and enthusiastic about your campaign. Thank them regularly for their support, for without them, your potential success is due, in part, to them.

6. You shall not go in this alone. Even if you are a solopreneur, consider creating a team for this project. There is an art and science to leading a successful crowdfunding campaign, and by working alongside others, you will be able to prepare better, work more efficiently, and strategically reach and capture the attention of a much broader audience than from your network alone.

7. You shall not spam. While it may be tempting to post your campaign to the thousands of members in a particular Facebook group, don’t do it. Be casual and subtle. If someone specifically asks about your campaign, private message that person, rather than posting in the comments.

8. You shall not steal intellectual property. When you send updates to your contributors, do not create fictitious remarks about your campaign. Rather, utilize actual responses, quotes, and praises from your targeted efforts.

9. You shall not hold a grudge. Not everyone you reach out to will contribute to your campaign — not even the person on your list whom you consider to be the most likely one to contribute or whom you believe needs your product the most. Stay positive and stay open-minded. The person least likely to contribute to your campaign may pleasantly surprise you.

10. You shall not covet your crowdfunding neighbor. You may be tempted to peek at the campaign next to yours. That campaign may have secured more funds, may have a greater number of contributors, or may be closer to its goal than yours. Getting stuck on jealousy or desire is not going to help your campaign. Stay in your own lane. Remain focused and continue with your mission.

While these 10 Commandments will support and guide you on your path, they cannot guarantee any success. Stay goal-oriented and have “Plan B” prepared in advance.

Finally, in the tradition of President Reagan who offered up an 11th commandment…

11. Thou shalt not speak ill of your crowdfunding platform. Whether you reach your goal or not, do not speak poorly of your platform of choice. If you aren’t 100% pleased with the platform you chose, consider looking in to another platform for the next time. If you were pleased, do them a favor and sing their praises!