Tag archives: Bundaberg flood relief

Crowd Funding – Revisiting Your Campaign with 20-20 Hindsight

final logo new small-01In crowd funding there are no losers. Sure, victory is sweet for those who meet (or exceed) their funding target first time around. But there are the spoils of war, even for those who have seemingly lost the battle. A campaign that does not meet its target comes with many lessons, and when these learnings are applied to the old adage of “If at first you don’t succeed….” the second bite of the cherry can be sweeter, and more rewarding, than the first attempt could have ever hoped to have been.

The holy trinity for the success of any crowd funding campaign is made up of rewards, project description, and promotion. Get one of these wrong or neglect to include one of these, and it has the same effect of omitting a key ingredient when making a cake – the result is pretty unpalatable. Often, a failed campaign is like a taste test, and a keen sense of taste will quickly identify what is the missing ingredient.

The most common piece of the puzzle that project creators get wrong is that of rewards. When creating the rewards, a project creator really needs to ask “would I be moved to pledge to get one of these? Are the rewards enticing? Are the rewards good value for money? Are there a number of rewards, catering for those that want to just pledge a little, through to those who might want to pledge a lot?” Well worded campaigns with a lot of promotion can be let down when they fail to underpin their efforts with very “soft” rewards like a hug or a certificate – these are great rewards for charitable campaigns, but don’t cause a commercial initiative to get the funding they need. The best campaigns offer a great buy, spectacular value for money, or an experience that the recipient will remember for a lifetime.

A cake made with the sweetest of sugar will still fall flat if the other ingredients are not added in the right ratio. A project description of a single paragraph does little to gain buy-in from the crowd. A project description is the skeleton around which your campaign is built. It defines your campaign, gives it substance, and engages (and motivates) the crowd. A video in your project description shows your passion to the crowd. The text then tells them in more detail about you, your team, and the goal you hope to fund. The inclusion of pictures will help build the emotion, and develop a greater bond with the reader (hopefully soon to be the supporter). And please don’t forget to include information about what you plan to do with the funds raised.

Imagine you knew the greatest news in the world. What news would it be if you told no one? The answer is, it wouldn’t be news at all – it would simply be a secret. Similarly, you could have the best campaign in the world, with wonderful rewards and a well worded outline with a really engaging short video. But if you don’t tell anyone about it, what value do you think your campaign holds? Often we see great campaigns that fail to raise the funding they need, simply because the project creator has done nothing (or very little) to tell the world of their quest. Most successful project creators never miss an opportunity to tell the world of their plans and efforts.

So when a project creator falls short the first time, it is usually because they have missed one (or more) of the key ingredients to crowd funding success. Reviewing, taking stock, and going again a second time often leads to greater levels of success than the first time around. You have already won the admiration of the crowd. You are able to make a new start with a crowd who you know will support you, who are familiar with you, and know all about crowd funding. Ask them why you may have missed out first time around (and this will further engage them), and ask your crowd funding platform as to their suggestions.

With a little experience and a lot of will to go again, crowd funding may often bare greater success second time around.

Posted on March 5, 2013 By iPledg With 0 comments

Crowd funding – Not Just a Matter of Pre-Sales like the Coupon Sites

final logo new small-01In raising funds for a project, making pre-sales or taking forward orders has been a way of getting in the money needed. In raising funds to make production runs, to start marketing campaigns, to bring in skills and knowledge to help monetise the concept, or to undertake any matter of commercialisation initiatives, coupon sites offer a quick hit but at a high cost given the discounts that must be offered as well as site fees. But now crowd funding not only offers a greater return, but a deeper and longer term relationship with a more engaged and supportive crowd.

Those who back crowd funding campaigns have been shown to be far more involved than those who simply pick up a bargain through coupon sites. They spread the word to their networks (and beyond), using social media and other methods to tell the world of the projects they have supported. They don’t just buy a bargain, but they by in to the venture or project, becoming advocates for the campaign. For them it is not a matter of making a simple purchase, but gaining a vested interest in the product, the project, and the project creator’s success.

Those that support crowd funding campaigns are not merely customers. They don’t walk away from the sale satisfied with simply having made a purchase as a one-off interaction with the project creator. They are believers, the first followers, and mavens for the campaign and the project. They are the ones who don’t just say they LIKE you with a thumbs-up symbol, but like you by reaching into their wallets. They are more than satisfied customers – they are enthusiastic advocates who buy in, body and soul. They haven’t just made a purchase from a early stage company, but actually played a part in helping it get started – a badge they were loudly and with pride.

For the project creator, crowd funding offers an option that doesn’t involve the level of discounting that they have to give away on coupon sites. With the huge discounts they need to give to punters on discount sites, as well as the high fees that must be paid to site operators, the project creator must sell huge volumes to raise the money they need to fund their projects. Crowd funding offers them a low cost of raising capital, putting much more directly back into their pocket.

With crowd funding campaigns typically running for anywhere from 30 to 120 days, there is a longer buy-in period for the crowd to get to know about the campaign. Coupon sites only give the public a matter of hours, or a couple of days to take advantage of a price pointed offer, but a crowd funding campaign lets the crowd build a real relationship which leads to far deeper and longer lasting engagement with the project creator.

A crowd funding campaign offers the project creator far greater control over their own destiny than a campaign on coupon sites. Through crowd funding, the project creator is able to establish a direct line of communication and have dialogue with their fan base, whereas coupon sites tend to become the face of the product. Coupon sites do not allow for any intimate connection between the project creator,   the product, and the fan base, and this is the main reason why campaigns on coupon sites offer little or no residual value to project creators.

Coupon sites offer little more than a short, sharp hit during which the project creator has no interaction with the audience, and for which they have to give away a lion’s share of the margin. Is it then any wonder why crowd funding is the world’s fastest growing form of e-commerce, offering the project creator not only a low cost method of raising the funds they require, but generating the most valuable asset of any project or start-up – an engaged audience to accompany them for the life of their journey.

Posted on February 24, 2013 By iPledg With 0 comments

Crowd Funding – Opening New Doors for Indigenous Causes

Indigenous communities around the world are faced with a greater number of challenges than ever before as governments globally struggle with funding in a post GFC environment. But, as ever, necessity continues to be the mother of all new initiatives, and the opportunity for indigenous causes to raise the dollars they so badly need may well lie in crowd funding.

As government coffers tighten and grant funding contracts, communities seek new and innovative methods to raise the capital they need to fund farming projects, employment programs, cultural initiatives, art studios, and infrastructure schemes. To be heard, fund raising programs need to be different, or communicated to the crowd in a manner unlike the traditional fund raising campaigns. Crowd funding, whilst being the fastest growing form of e-commerce on the planet, still represents a new and exciting way to stand out from the other organisations eagerly seeking community support and funding through more traditional methods.

Indigenous campaigns by their very nature usually have a story to tell, and a passion around their campaign, making for a great project description. This is the first ingredient of a robust funding campaign. The next is a short video or pictures, images that tell a story within themselves, and fascinate the reader or prospective project supporter. Finally, there are the rewards. They need to be creative and sought after, enticing people to get involved and pledge their support. A simple entry-level reward could be an emailed picture with a letter of thanks, stepping up to a sketch personally drawn for larger pledges. Small artwork can be used as medium tiers of support, with larger pieces or even artifacts used as a way of saying thanks for larger pledges. A recording of a performance with some personal touches recognising the project supporter would also be well received. Using the internet can also help get rewards out there, by way of a webinar-like performance or story-telling for selected audiences who have pledged their support. Rewards for really large pledges (from perhaps corporate sponsors) could be a performance of indigenous dance or music at a particular function.

Once the campaign has been established with a well worded description, a short video and some pictures, and some carefully selected rewards, it is a matter of going about and engaging a fascinated and willing broader community beyond that of the community who are actually seeking the funding. Social media and blogging are great ways to get the word out, not only by sending out information about the campaign, but asking others to spread the word. There is also the traditional media, hungry for stories about something new or different, and what could be more unique than an indigenous community using new technology like crowd funding to get the word out to a global community.

But perhaps the biggest benefit offered by crowd funding is the ability to engage the crowd, not just for a one-off donation, but for ongoing involvement and support. Crowd funding gets the audience to come along for the journey, and to become an ongoing part of the solution. It is a great way to build a community around the ongoing needs of the indigenous, and to assist with the development of sustainable programs to assist across a range of needs.

Posted on February 19, 2013 By iPledg With 0 comments

Crowd Funding – Real Governance of Disaster Assistance Handed Back to the Community

In times of flood, fire, tsunami and other natural and man-made disasters, the broader community is called upon to give to the relief effort. But much of the “effort” to be initiated is undefined, and the progress of fund raising for this effort is largely withheld from the public. Crowd funding now offers the crowd the ability to direct their funding to relief packages that they feel most passionate about, whether it be rescuing animals, addressing the personal human toll, or projects to fix infrastructure.

For many who support relief programs, they give generously, but they do not know how their money is allocated. If we take the recent Bundaberg Floods, there were numerous flood relief appeals run by government, charitable, and private organisations. Most of these were fairly generic in their approach, with the public asked to give to flood disaster relief rather than specific remediation projects. Would it not be more engaging to have projects with which the public could better relate? Surely if projects were broken down into categories that resonate with the passion of the giving public, the public would be more engaged to give and to become advocates for the campaign.

Crowd funding not only breaks down the relief effort into projects, but also allows the public to see how fund raising is going against the requirements to fund the specific initiative. Such transparency would allow people to see how fund raising is progressing to rehouse displaced families, or rebuild local schools. Their fervour could be piqued to push for the last few remaining dollars required to clean certain houses, o r buy the effected school the new books they need. The public is empowered and engaged to promote the funding campaign to their networks as the pressure (or excitement) mounts to raise the final dollars required to meet the target within the funding timeframe.

Crowd funding platforms such as Queensland-based iPledg makes it possible for those seeking funding for disaster relief to engage the crowd by raising money for specific projects. The crowd can then give to the campaign that best touches their heart. The crowd can watch how the campaign progresses during the funding campaign, and get involved by further promoting “their” campaign to networks on social media or email databases. It is true direct involvement and engagement.

Project creators with their specific disaster relief campaigns also become more accountable. Relief projects are properly costed, and the crowd engaged to raise precisely the monies required to make the project happen (although it is still possible for campaigns to be overfunded if the crowd feels it is warranted). The monies raised are then spent where they need to be, and where the crowd has wanted it to be spent, rather than disappearing into an unaccounted-for pot of funds. Monies are not loosely allocated as determined by administrators, but right from the start the crowd has a say in what relief projects will actually initiated simply by the projects they support. It is real governance of the community by the community.

Truly global sites like iPledg allow for broader engagement, with the need for assistance being able to be spread to a worldwide audience more easily, and enabling a connection with anyone anywhere in the world to support a campaign specific to their interests.

Crowd funding now presents a wonderful and powerful opportunity for funding specific funding relief programs, with transparency and accountability that engages a caring public and allows them greater ownership and involvement in helping communities get back on their feet – more quickly, more effectively , and with greater involvement from an engaged crowd.

Posted on February 10, 2013 By iPledg With 0 comments