Megan Raff shares her experience with crowdfunding and 5 essential tasks for crowdfunding success.
Ever heard of the 80/20 rule? The idea is that 80% of the benefit to your project or business is going to come from 20% of your effort. Sounds crazy but it actually works out in a lot of things. Most of small business revenues are from a small group of clients. Most sales are a result of a small chunk of marketing.
And most of your crowdfunding success will come from about 20% of your campaign effort.
It’s not a random 20% in these statistics, it’s that 20% of the work that is absolutely essential, those things that you absolutely must do and that count the most.
Megan Raff learned what that 20% is in crowdfunding and offered to share it with readers in her campaign review. Megan is the co-founder of Dare 2 Dream Farms in Lompoc, California. She and her husband started the farm in 2009 to help keep his grandfather mentally and physically active. They started selling the free-range eggs to local marketplaces and got some great support from the community.
Demand for organic food has grown so much that the couple has now decided to chase their dream of growing organic produce to sell to the local community through CSA memberships (Community Supported Agriculture). The Dare2Dream Kickstarter campaign was launched to build a cold-dry storage to properly store the produce and eliminate waste. Without proper storage, a lot of great food can’t get to the people that need it most.
Besides a great project, Megan shared her story of crowdfunding and what she learned in the following post.
Crowdfunding for Organic Farmers
This is our first attempt at fundraising, and crowdfunding seemed like a fun way to go about it. We have had a great experience with the farm and being able to help out the community but need a storage unit to keep the produce from over-ripening. We currently feed it to the chickens or put it in our compost, but with a proper cold and dry storage area, we could offer our produce to up to 40 members per week, and start selling at farmers markets and more local restaurants and natural marketplaces. Additionally, produce that doesn’t sell could be properly stored until we can deliver a substantial amount to our local food bank.
We knew we needed to get the word out on social media, so our friends and family could help spread the word to people who can donate. What’s surprised us the most is the generous pledges we received from our extensive network, and the beautiful words people have written about us when they share our campaign on social media with their friends. So far, the biggest obstacle we’ve encountered is getting past the notorious lull in activity that happens after the initial big bang of interest. We have been running a social media campaign to link back to our Kickstarter video this month called #thankfultobeafarmer that highlights the reasons we love our work and our industry.
5 Essentials for Crowdfunding Success
Before we started our crowdfunding project we started putting little hints on social media and with our customers about our plans. This allowed us to gauge the response we would have from our immediate network of supporters. We’ve done extensive brainstorming and research, and so far, here are the five most important things we’ve done well.
Make a good crowdfunding video
Get help with making a compelling, quality video to move people emotionally and get them excited to get on board. Hire someone to do your video, and build the cost of your video into the Crowdfunding budget you’re asking for. You might even be able to do a full-trade or at least a partial-trade with the videographer for some of the upfront cost – say for example a few of your possible Kickstarter Rewards? If your project is funded, then your video is paid for! If for some reason your project is unsuccessful, you’ve already paid your videographer for a lot of b-roll that might be used for another attempt, making a second video much less expensive for you.
Drum up interest prior to publishing your crowdfunding project.
Use social media to let your world know what you’re dreaming up! Allow your friends, family, and followers to dream with you, comment with ideas of their own, and voice their support for you. If they know that you’ve got something in the works, they can be much more prepared to back your campaign than if you surprise them with the idea and give them just 30 days to come up with the funds to pledge.
This pre-launch crowdfunding is one of the most important things you can do for your project. In fact, in a recent roundup of 33 experts’ #1 tips to boost fundraising ideas and crowd campaigns, pre-launch activities came through as the most suggested.
Crowdfunding rewards, rewards, rewards.
Your friend Suzie was planning on donating $50 in exchange for nothing, but if she can get a super-soft lightweight hoodie for $75… well, now she’s in for $25 more and she doesn’t even have to hit the mall this weekend! There’s nothing that commits people to great donations like great rewards. Plus even an extra $10 or $20 here and there can be the deal breaker for your campaign.
Kick off your crowdfunding campaign with a Call to Action email campaign to your friends, family, and subscribers.
The more money pledged at the beginning from the people you know, the higher your project gets set in the rankings of popularity for viewings by strangers looking to spend money. Send an email to everyone you know that supports your project to let them know it’s up and running.
Don’t let your crowdfunding campaign run on auto-pilot
People do not part with money easily. They will get busy with work and life and forget. Your job is to remind them how awesome your project is. Post regular updates on social media, email, and your crowdfunding page about why your project is important to you, how much has been pledged and how far you have to go, sneak peeks at the cool rewards associated with your project, and more. Don’t feel bad about reminding people that they want to support you.
I want to thank Megan for five great essentials to any crowdfunding campaign. These five cover nearly all of that 20% of your campaign effort that is going to turn out the majority of your pledges. Make sure you develop each idea and really hit it hard. Got any other essential crowdfunding tips to share? Share them with the community in the comments section below.
If you’ve got a crowdfunding campaign you’d like to share, or crowdfunding advice, email me or contact me through the blog. Not sure how crowdfunding can help you raise money for your project? Check out this free crowd funding webinar.