Before Starting the Campaign
While crowdfunding can be a lucrative tool to raise money, it may not be so for every project out there. If your project have a community behind it then you can start a crowdfunding campaign. For eg, Manjushree Trail was about finding a circuit trail of the Kathmandu Valley and there were outdoor enthusiasts who already wanted to hike the trail but could not. These people formed a community who would support the project.
You should know that starting a crowdfunding campaign is like a full time job. Make sure that you are ready for it. If you can’t manage the time for the campaign, you will lose visitors and you won’t be able to hit your target.
Kill your ego and get ready to face a lot of rejections.I am not saying that your ego can fail your campaign in reaching its goal but it increases the odd. For eg: In Manjushree Trail, I approached a lot of people and faced many rejections. I could have either said “screw you” to them or approach them again with clear benefits of contributing money to the campaign. I chose the later and I was able to convert a couple of them.
So, before even starting a crowdfunding campaign, make sure you have a community behind your campaign, treat the campaign like a full time job and get ready to face a lot of rejections.
A video is very important for your campaign. Most of the successful crowdfunding campaigns have at least a small 2-3 mins video. You do not need to hire any agencies for it if you are low on money but you can do it yourself with your phone. For eg: I made a simple video explaining about the Manjushree trail from my phone. The video is indeed a great content to quickly attract and engage your potential contributor.
There are two funding modes in Grasruts, All or Nothing and Flexible. In All or Nothing mode, the project owner will only receive the contributors money if it reaches their funding goal, else the money is refunded back to the contributors. In Flexible mode, the project owner will receive the the money regardless of the campaign reaching its funding target. Campaigns marked with `All or nothing` performed better than `flexible` funding mode as per Indiegogo. In Manjushree Trail campaign, the funding mode was All or Nothing.
Choosing a budget can be very tricky because there can be many ways to do so. In this guide, I will explain the technique that we used for Manjushree Trail campaign.
First, I calculated the exact amount of money that we would be needing for our 14 days trip. Then, I collected and wrote down the name of the people who would contribute in a google sheet. It helped me to understand how much was I capable of raising with my connections and networks.After that, I made sure that the campaign would run a little more than a month(take care of both the english and nepali date since employers pay salary base on them) because those who finished their salary could also contribute when they get their salary for the next month.
Since we had only intangible rewards, we did not had to worry about setting aside a separate budget for rewards and its shipping.This way, I was able to hit the sweet spot of setting the budget.
You should have a very detailed description of your campaign. The description is there to give more information of your campaign to the potential contributors. It not only educate your potential contributors but also grows trust in your campaign.
Rewards are the things, tangible or intangible, that you give to your contributors in exchange for their contributions. As per international crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, campaigns with rewards tend to be more successful. For eg: In the Manjushree Trail, we had a lot of intangible rewards and the most popular reward was “A Photo A Day” which was for contributors who contributed Rs 1000 or more.
In a product or service based crowdfunding, most of the time the rewards are the product or the service itself. However, the price of those product or service should be somewhat less than its market price. It is a way to attract contributors and thank them for supporting your idea in its initial phase.
When Your Campaign is Running
Now that your campaign is up and running, I want you to know that having a crowdfunding campaign does not automatically brings contributors to your campaign. You will have to share it with your friends and families, co workers ,etc. The best approach would be to share it with your closest and dearest friend and family first. Their contribution will attract other contributors to your campaign because a campaign with Rs. 0 funds raised may raise questions and trust issues to other potential contributors. After that, you should start sharing it in social media.
Remember that you will have to approach a lot of people and ask them to contribute to your campaign and you will get a lot of rejections. Just do not let rejections to stop you. For eg: When I was raising money for Manjushree Trail, I approached hundreds of people out of which only 34 converted to contributors. Now, I will let you guess about the number of rejections that I had to go through.
Strangers on the internet and your contributors wants to stay updated about your product during the fundraising period, so keep posting news to inform them that you are still there and their money is going in the right hand.
When You Have Finished Your Campaign
Once your campaign has successfully finished, you will need to start working on delivering the rewards that you promised. If you are unable to deliver rewards to your contributors, they will not contribute to your future campaigns.
If you failed raising money, it could either mean that there is no market for your product or something went wrong with your execution. For eg: The first campaign for Manjushree Trail failed and the second time I ran it again, I planned very hard and approached a lot of people which I did not do at first.