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Crowdfunding? You Can’t Afford to Miss These Three Tips

One crowdfunder shares his experience raising money and invaluable tips for your next crowdfunding campaign

Today’s crowdfunding campaign review comes from Luke Mordue, director of Mad World Animation. I like to interview crowd campaigns about their experience crowdfunding, challenges they’ve faced and things they’ve learned.

It’s a great way for campaigns to share their story and for future crowdfunders to learn from experience.

Luke’s review of their campaign offers some excellent tips on crowdfunding, pointing to the importance of pre-launch, offline events and a genius idea for rewards you’ll want to build into your own campaign.

From a very slow start, the team was able to turn the campaign around and is almost at its £15,000 with just three days left. They’ve got 12 reward levels with some great choices. Check out the page to pick up ideas for your own campaign and share Mad World on social media.

From a Slow Start to a Hot Crowdfunding Campaign

When we began our crowdfunding campaign, we had done our research, made the page look nice and got some posts lined up to spread out. We set up a thunderclap with a small group of our 3,000 + fans already in place on our Facebook page and went live.

The beginning was extremely slow, worryingly slow to be completely honest. Two weeks in we had been e-mailing dozens of people daily and posting regularly on all of our social media platforms, we had only hit £2,000 of our £15,000 total.

After much deliberation, I sat down and truly looked at what we were doing and marked it all section by section out of 10 in quality. If it wasn't above a 7, it needed to be redone. Well, as it turned out, I listed almost all of it at 7 maximum.

Nothing went higher.

So I spent the next 3 days re-editing our pitch video, redoing the entire page, spicing up certain wording, changing our thumbnail and ended up making around 100 graphics specifically designed to post on various social media outlets, including gifs.

[The campaign page looks amazing. Obviously, the video is professionally done and the graphics are very well done. Most campaigns won’t need to go so far on a video but it’s important for one raising money for a film production]

crowdfunding campaign review mad world

These graphics involved statements, quotes and questions, realizing that instead of metaphorically standing by everyone and shouting “HEY, WE HAVE A MOVIE HERE!”, we should truly engage with them. Make them want to come to us, to ask and answer our questions with their theories, experiences and opinions.

With all of this came a response to the many, many e-mails we had sent from a philanthropist and mental health campaigner. He asked to meet us and after, pledged £5,000 and came on board as an executive producer.

With these changes and the extra boost that came with that pledge, we began to hit higher targets and the money started to pick up a pace, but it still wasn't enough. This got us thinking – how can we utilize what we do have?

We must think outside the box.

Going Offline to Reach People Online Crowdfunding

The idea then arose to do a pub quiz, with four rounds on various subjects only to reveal at the end that all the questions asked were linked to mental health in some way. We hosted the event during Mental Health Awareness Week to raise awareness and we also managed to raise just under £700 which was a great success.

With just over a week left to go, we are considering a final celebration event, those who attended before can attend again, as can many who could not make it the first time.

[Offline events are hugely important and too often neglected by crowdfunders. Do these local events early to build that first-level community that will share your campaign with their digital crowd. It’s so much easier to make your campaign personal and connect with people offline first before taking the momentum to the crowd.]

Rethinking Crowdfunding Rewards to Boost a Campaign

Talking of the public, there is one thing I would say… Nobody wants your autograph unless you are already famous. Offering a signed copy of the script by the director etc. is, to be frank, a crap perk for most people.

crowd rewards examples

Crowdfunding Rewards Examples

You need to try and think outside the box, to bring something to the table that is related to you but still something could be interested in. For example, we have put together a postcard set, with each postcard being a self-portrait by an individual with a mental illness, drawn as themselves with that diagnosis. This is not only connected to us and an added perk, but is also something that could probably be sold outside of the campaign – this makes it a worthwhile perk.

[I love the postcard idea as a perk. It’s something you can’t get anywhere else and really connects backers with the cause! What rewards can you offer that are unique and create community?]

Planning Your Funding Goal Strategically

I realize it can be seen as if I believe I have it all figured out but I'll admit openly, this is the second crowdfunding I have done in my time as a filmmaker and the same thing has happened both times, almost identically.

The first time I did it I was only trying to raise £6,000 but two weeks in we had only raised £1,500. We were very low and were later told by friends and family they were secretly concerned, as to them it was clear we was not going to make it. But in the final two weeks we pushed it further and ended up raising closer to £6,500.

[One trick I’ve learned crowdfunding is to think strategically about your funding goal. Get backer commitments through your pre-launch and offline events then set your crowdfunding goal at five-times the amount you’ve been promised to that point. When those commitments start coming in during the first few days of the campaign, you’ll hit 20% funded status which is often enough to get featured by the platforms as a hot campaign.]

What I've learnt from this, and the fact it’s happened again is that the campaign is extremely important, oh so important, but the prep work beforehand is where (in my opinion) the workload should truly come.

You should not go into crowdfunding a campaign unless you have everything together, your links, your bios, your graphics, your posts, your contacts, your game plan, everything. It cannot be stressed enough.

We're lucky. We realized this half way into our campaign and changed it accordingly. Would it have been more beneficial if the campaign was like that from the beginning? Oh, of course. Has it damaged our chances of hitting our target? Most likely it has been damaged by that period. But does it mean we won't make it? Not at all.

We have strong graphics, a video that gets the point across quickly and efficiently. We have incredible interviewees which we have already filmed and will film, we have impressive advisors on the project and an example of the animation that we will have in the film. With it all in place, it is clear we have a vision and know how to bring that to the screen.

It isn't your failures that define you, it's how you deal with them, and although I wouldn't call our start a failure, it most certainly was not ideal. But we picked up and rebooted, giving our all and we remain to do so.

I mean, sometimes giving your all just isn't enough and it doesn't work out, whether it be because of connections, timing or dumb luck but as long as you can look at your final amount and think “yes, I did all I could to hit this amount”, then you didn't fail, it's as simple as that.

[Check out the Mad World campaign on Indiegogo to see how the team turned their campaign around. They’ve got just a few days left on a very important project so please share the page on social media and support with what you can.]

Our cause is important to us and to many others around the world, people you know, maybe even you yourself as our cause is bigger than us, it is mental health.

Tied together by a metaphorical animation, Mad World talks to five individuals diagnosed with a form of mental illness and health professionals that provide insight into some of the most complex conditions. In the confusion and controversy that surrounds mental health, the hunt for answers continues.

There are some great ideas here for any crowdfunding campaign from the importance of pre-launch community and some of the best crowdfunding rewards examples I've seen. Check out the campaign page to see how they turned the project around and are on the way to a second successful crowd campaign.

About Joseph Hogue

An investment analyst by profession, I run two blogs (Crowd101 and PeerFinance101) in personal finance, peer lending and crowdfunding. I've been on both sides of the table as a lender and a borrower and am excited to be a part of the peer movement. With the power of the internet, people are helping other people manage debt and raise money in ways never before possible.

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