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Crowdfund like a PRO! 10 questions to dive into the minds of 3 crowdfunding gurus!
Crowdfund like a PRO!
10 questions to DIVE into the minds of 3 Crowdfunding GURUS!
By: Jan Christopher Arp
I’m Jan, the crowdfunding blogger.
I posed ten questions to three crowdfunding gurus,
who raised a combined ~$554K from close to 10,600
backers. The following presentation will
give you some insights into their
Crowdfund like a PRO!
10 questions to DIVE into the minds of 3 crowdfunding GURUS!
1. Why crowdfund versus other financing sources (i.e. grants, debt, etc.)?
Find your crowd, get exposure and receive credibility:
Find your crowd! The campaign identifies your true allies. Many who
previously claimed they would support the campaign disappear. True allies
become campaign champions, providing feedback, sharing and even donating.
Get exposure aiding in attracting potential partners, i.e. publishers, media,
suppliers, etc. This accelerates the development process, versus the alternative
in which the campaign owner must find time to seek out potential partners.
Interest level of the campaign can be judged, by the amount raised, which
serves to validate the campaign. Validity turns into credibility, which you can
literally take to the bank – to raise more money for the campaign.
Ultimately, it’s sort of the first right of passage, with the least amount of barriers to entry
– low risk, low cost, and huge potential versus other funding sources.
2. Why Kickstarter?
What Kleenex is to tissue paper, Kickstarter is to Crowdfunding. Although this may
change over time, it’s currently the biggest one out there. Ultimately, Kickstarter raises
more money per campaign, is more organized, with more mature advisers, and a lot
more software to analyze campaign patterns.
3. Describe the preparation process?
Preparation is crucial in order to maximize your chances of success. Consider:
Research similar campaigns that failed and succeeded – how much money
was raised, what did the video look like, etc.
Establish communication channels with family, friends, journalists, bloggers,
or any other interested party, as they are highly likely to promote your
campaign to like-minded individuals once the campaign is live.
Build the pitch – a balance between cool and professional. Simplify, make it
emotionally catchy, fun to look at, but also ensure the campaign serves a
purpose. Articulate the project’s end-game before explaining the project.
Prepare a template of answers that address even the most basic of questions
such as what is the point of Kickstarter, and how one uses it.
4. How does one set goals?
Initially there may not be a clear answer, and you are never really sure; however, here
are some PRO suggestions:
Determine your minimum budget. Choose a goal that if met, would provide
sufficient cash to complete the project, especially if raising more money
through debt is unwise.
Research past campaign trends. For instance, game development ranges from
$5,000 to $500,000, while indie games range from $20,000 to $65,000,
depending on the perceived quality.
Find the perfect mix, which is small enough for people to give you money, but
large enough so that people continue contributing.
The total amount raised on Kickstarter provides immediate credibility to the
project. The greater the amount raised, the greater the credibility obtained.
Summary: align the goal with market characteristics, psychological barriers, budgetary
constraints, and credibility needs.
5. How does one establish rewards?
Again, no single way exists for creating the rewards. The PROs suggest:
No more than 8 tiers (e.g. $1, $10, $25, $50, $75, $100, $300, >$1’000).
Know the mental barriers (e.g. $25 - $50 average donation, subject to vary).
Each tier should clearly define the different value the donators receive.
Co-create rewards, especially if demanded by big investors (e.g. corporations).
Most importantly, keep it simple! Rewards should be clear so that people can easily
understand what they are getting for their money.
Keep It Simple Stupid
6. How does one create awareness about the campaign?
First off, the campaign must be worth selling – don’t waste your time and the time of
others selling snake oil! Next, consider the following:
The first hour. Make sure all family, friends, and major sponsors are ready to
donate in the first hour - $1 earned in the beginning is worth $100 later. Early
success may result in being the featured Kickstarter campaign.
The first 5 days. Reach out to the journalists and bloggers two days before the
campaign commences, and share their posts. Make sure there is a lot of
additional text material on the campaign page for them to use.
Properly targeted communication. Buying ads on Facebook or hoping for
people with massive followings to share the campaign, is ill-advised. One may
not need 5,000 backers, but rather only 300 committed backers.
7. What are the biggest challenges?
The slowdown is identical
for 90% of the campaigns. It
occurs around day 14. Try
to cross-promote with
other campaigns, keep
existing backers engaged,
and remain positive even
though some negative
feedback may be received.
Stay the course: send e-
mails, conduct interviews
and engage in social media.
Traction shall recommence
five days before the
People who previously said
they would help, may now
refuse to donate or share
the campaign, with a
“what’s in it for me?”
attitude. This is not to be
confused with those that
are skeptical and become
campaign champions as
they understand how hard
you are working (e.g. e-
mails at 3 a.m.), and have a
better understanding of the
People want to support a
winner – i.e. a campaign
that will reach its goal.
Backers would rather avoid
pledging money altogether,
even though it doesn’t cost
the backer any money for
campaigns that don’t reach
their goal. Convince
potential backers that the
campaign is a winner!
8. What were the biggest factors contributing one’s success?
The concept should be somewhat unique, as crowdfunding is really
geared towards early adopters. Additionally, it must be a solid concept
that people can buy into.
A perfect storm – simple product, catchy idea, well presented (e.g.
visuals and video), and strong team. It must be simple enough for
anyone to understand and clear why people should give money.
The vision must be well articulated and delivered with conviction and
passion. Speaking with passion creates project champions that are
truly convinced this will be the next big thing!
9. What might have been done differently?
Don’t announce the “stretch goals” too early, as it is difficult to change
these later. Once a more clear understanding of market is obtained,
develop “stretch goals” that ensure campaign momentum is maintained.
More focus on organizing relationships with the stakeholders. This
includes better follow-up questions and a more detailed organization
system in the back-end.
Be prepared for the sprint. Running a campaign is equivalent to a full-time
job – hire an intern that can be full-time if necessary.
10. Is there any reason to not Crowdfund again?
Crowdfunding is exhausting, and some cases takes one a month to recover from the
endeavour. Ensure one have the time, energy and will power to begin. There may be
contextual constraints that could impede the ability to conduct a successful campaign,
i.e. family. However, all would do it again, especially since they now have a rolodex of
champions to contact. Once per year seems sufficient for them though!
1. Egor Culcea 2. Ivan Colic 3.Useiconic.com 4. Julieta Felix
5. Leonardo Dri 6. Andrew Nolte 7. Edward Boatman 8. Nick Green
9. Ramakrishna Venkatesan 10. Hunotika 11. Dan Hetteix 12. Luis Prado
13. Cody Lawson 14. Iconsmind.com 15. Lemon Liu 16. Dennis Timmermann
17. Laurent Patain 18. Alf 19. Matthew R. Miller 20. Till Teenk
21. Marie Ann Packer 22. OCHA Visual Info Unit 23. Ashia Sabbath 24. Matt Brooks
25. Amandine Vandesteene 26. Stephen Borengasser
Special thanks to the Noun Project and their contributors (in order of appearance):
ca.linkedin.com/in/janchristopherarp/Check me out on LinkedIn: