2,800 crowdsourcing and crowdfunding sites
Editor's Note: The following guest post comes to us from Lonzo Nzekwe, a Toronto-based filmmaker who recently founded the platform MotherlandFund, a global crowdfunding website that allows anyone, anywhere to raise money online for any cause or project.
If you think crowdfunding leads to easy money, you’re wrong. With thousands of new crowdfunding projects launched on a daily basis, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. So, if you are looking to launch your own crowdfunding campaign, you have to know how to beat out your competition. But how do you make sure your crowdfunding effort is successful?
There are several things you can do to ensure that you will get as much funding as possible:
You should get to know your niche and make yourself known. If you are interested in making a deck of cards that features artwork from your favorite animated show, for example, find fans of the show and make sure they can see some of your art. You could do this by creating a Facebook fan page, reaching out on a popular online forum, or posting in the appropriate Reddit community. If people start to like your work before you post your project, this will make it easier for you to raise money online.
If you want to be successful in your online fundraising efforts, check out both failed and successful campaigns similar to yours prior to launching. See what worked and what didn’t. Compare their messaging, audience engagement, and marketing efforts — you’ll learn something.
Make sure that you let everyone know exactly how you’re going to use the money you raise. If the numbers don’t add up, people might think you’re just going to use the funds for your own benefit. Nobody wants to participate in some online fundraising effort that is simply going to buy someone else’s dinner.
Choosing the right crowdfunding website for you is essential to your success. There are myriad factors to consider: platform rules and guidelines, payment processing services, fee structures, site traffic, etc. Some platforms are donation-based but most are reward based, while an emerging subset include lending- and equity-based platforms.
Kickstarter is currently the most popular crowdfunding platform. Its brand name is recognizable and its guidelines are fairly strict, which may inspire confidence in potential backers, but it has its share of disadvantages, too. There are hundreds of other options out there for every regional and categorical niche.
It really helps if potential backers get to see your face and listen to you talk. It’s a more personal gesture than just providing text. Furthermore, some potential backers may prefer to watch a video rather than read text. You should also try to keep your video engaging and genuine. If it looks like you’re reading a script, people may wonder just how passionate about this project you actually are.
If you’re going to offer rewards for backing, keep them interesting. Sure, many people are fine with t-shirts, but that’s hardly unique. If you offer boring rewards, you may get lost in the crowd. Spend some time brainstorming and come up with something creative and desirable to offer your backers. It’s often the case that the more personal these rewards are, the more interested potential funders will be — although more personalized rewards may be harder to fulfill. It’s a careful balancing exact.
Don’t aim too high. If you’re going to try to raise money online, make sure that you can finish your project by the time you state. If your potential backers think that you won’t be able to finish the project for whatever reason, they may decide not to fund you.
If you don’t get your project out there, how to you expect your efforts to raise money online to be successful? Some obvious and necessary promotion methods include Facebook and Twitter. You should also find other places online where the niche you target is likely to congregate. If you’re funding a hot sauce, for example, try a cooking forum. But don’t just spam its users — try talking about your recipes and asking for feedback.
You may have competition, but don’t talk badly about other projects. If you talk about the advantages of your project over another campaign, you may come off as rude. Additionally, make sure the wording of your project is friendly. Nobody wants to hand money to a jerk.
Crowdfunding competition is becoming fiercer as the medium grows more popular. It’s still a fantastic resource, however, as it allows people to get funding for projects that would otherwise go unfunded. If you follow these tips, you’re likely to not get lost in the crowd.
Lonzo Nzekwe is a Toronto-based filmmaker who wrote and directed the award-winning film Anchor Baby (2010). He is also the founder of MotherlandFund, a global crowdfunding website that allows anyone, anywhere to raise money online for any cause or project.