Crowdfunding online has been around for nearly ten years now, and in that stretch of time it’s gone from a peripheral way to fundraise for a project to a very mainstream mechanism. For many reasons, crowdfunding is revolutionary. It’s democratised many creative processes, such as publishing a book or making an album, and it allows for new and innovative ideas to come to fruition that otherwise would have been hindered by a lack of funds.
Indeed, since the largest crowdfunding site, Kickstarter, was launched in 2009, it has raised hundreds of millions of dollars via pledges, and fundraisers have other options including IndieGoGo, PledgeMusic, and GoFundMe.
However, there is a downside of all this fundraising: fatigue on the part of consumers. It can sometimes feel as though everyone is trying to get you to donate money to their product idea, book proposal, charity play, or other creative endeavour. When people start to feel obliged to give to projects that are aggressively marketing them, it can all start to feel too invasive.
Unfortunately, crowdfunding has reached a saturation point meaning it’s not as easy as it used to be to obtain revenue for a unique project. Where once it was about the quality and earnestness of your idea, today it’s about hitting the right level of self-promotion without going too far. Indeed, people running crowdfunding campaigns today can be in somewhat of a tight spot. Getting your project from zero to funded requires dedication, outreach, and consistent posting. But go too far in your efforts to reach all your potential funders and you could end up alienating them altogether.
However, there are steps you can take if you’re going to crowdfund your project and want to do it without annoying the masses. Here are some of them:
Start with who you know, but don’t badger them: We all hope that our friends and family will pull through when we’re crowdfunding for our next big idea. But the fact is, it’s unreasonable for us to expect them to fund it outright. So yes, of course, reach out to your friends and family personally via email at the start of your campaign. Make sure they know about it by following up once or twice. But beyond that, don’t act with the entitlement that they owe you more money than anyone else does. You need to cast a wider net beyond your immediate circle.
Be succinct: There’s nothing worse than a crowdfunding page that takes ten minutes to merely get the overall gist. Your project or proposition should be clear within 30 seconds of visiting your page: don’t bury it in long blocks of text or lengthy videos. While clear copy, nice pictures, and a well-edited video are all key components, don’t assume people have the attention span or time to get through everything you want to say. Less is more. Be clear and respect people’s short online attention spans.
Be transparent and up front: In a long-term creative or inventive project, it’s natural for things to not go exactly as planned. But if you’ve promised rewards or a delivery schedule to your pledgers, you have to be up front about these bumps in the road. On the whole, people tend to be way more forgiving if you’re honest about what’s going on. Try and cover it up and you’ll find yourself with some angry pledgers.
Don’t spam: This is perhaps the most important piece of advice. Promoting your project too often and too aggressively on social media is extremely annoying. If your posts aren’t getting engagement in the form of likes, shares, and comments, that should not be an invitation for you to post more. On the contrary, you need to refine your strategy: make your offers and content more interesting and don’t just post the same old promos again and again.
Have you crowdfunded a project recently? Let us know your tips and comments!