Hello crowdfunders and welcome to CoverrMe.com and its practical, step-by-step guide to crowdfunding!
We’re really glad that you’ve chosen to – or you’re considering to – use CoverrMe.com for your crowdfunding campaign! Our goal here is to try and help you in your endeavour as much as possible, and therefore we have not only made the platform free of fees, but we also want to offer you all the guidance we can!
To that end we’ve prepared this short but concise guide on crowdfunding. Of course, crowdfunding is a rather comprehensive subject, so we won’t be able to talk about all its details and intricacies in several short pages, but we’ll try to cover all the bases.
So, why not start from exactly that – crowdfunding’s breadth:
- Step 1: Make extensive research. There’s so much to learn about crowdfunding that one quick guide can’t possibly prepare you for it. It’s a really fun and rewarding experience when done right, but to achieve that you need to prepare quite well. Generally it’s recommended to start preparing for your CF campaign 6-12 months in advance, but that obviously varies, depending on your individual case. There are lots of blog articles, books and videos out there, as well as workshops. CoverrMe.com is also preparing to offer you a personal email guidance with the help of our experts. We believe that’s the best possible tool in any crowdfunder’s backpack – all non-personalized forms of learning are also great, but they rely on general advices and statistics that are not applicable in all scenarios and can sometimes deceive you with irrelevant (for you) statistics. And statistics are a tricky thing.
- Step 2: Choosing a platform. Choosing the right platform for your project is really essential, since there are a lot of them out there and they are all different. Novice crowdfunders often go for the “most popular” platforms on the assumption that there are more people on them and that somehow equals more participants for your campaign. And this couldn’t be further from the truth. A crowdfunding platform’s natural fan-base comes into play only once a campaign “goes viral” and (1) that doesn’t contribute to the campaign reaching 100%, it only contributes to it going 100%+ and (2) small, personal, artsy, etc, campaigns almost never go viral because of their size. Whether or not you’ll reach 100% of your goal depends mostly on how many people you’ll reach yourself – via word of mouth, online forums and groups and other such means. If anything, big platforms have so much projects on them, that the only guarantee about using them is that your campaign will get lost in the sea of all the others, unless it goes viral as soon as possible.
The right approach to choosing the appropriate platform for your project is based on the tools it provides and whether or not they are what is right for your campaign. CoverrMe.com in particular is free of fees, offers personal guidance, its design is purposely simplified and it has a fun and engaging “footprint” feature – all of those make it perfect for small and personal projects.
- Step 3: Compare yourself with others. Every psychologist worth their salt will tell you that comparing with others will bring you nothing but misery. And that’s true. Usually. However, in the case of crowdfunding, it’s also essential for your success – one of the best ways to learn is by watching others. So long before starting your campaign you want to find lots of projects, similar to yours and investigate them carefully – what they’ve done right, what they’ve done wrong, etc. That will give you more insight than all the blog articles ever written on the subject.
- Step 4: Building the campaign. There’s lots that can be said here, but still, lets try to be short. A campaign typically consists of a video, text and awards/perks.
- The video needs to be 1.5-3 minutes long (a shorter video won’t say much and a longer video will bore the viewer) and it also needs to be friendly and personal, but of high quality as well. A bad video can often cause more damage than no video at all so make sure you do a good job with it.
- The text needs to be 400-600 words tops and it should say only the most essential things – most funders don’t read all of it anyway, so make sure that whichever part of the text they read, it’ll be important.
- The perks/awards are something that owners of small and personal campaigns often skip, preferring to rely on the funders’ altruism. However, even for smaller campaigns perks can be really powerful and important. They don’t need to be something big and expensive – you’re trying to gather money after all – but they are great when they are small, personal and interesting. So utilise them well! 4-8 perks are usually the best amount. Also make sure to spread them wide price-wise – have a perk for donations of ~$10 and for ~$100+ as well.
- Step 5: Calculate your expenses. Especially if you offer perks, but even when you don’t – there are always expenses. Almost all platform take a fee (not CoverrMe.com), all of them have additional fees that go to the credit card companies. You also have expenses for the perks, for mailing the perks, for making a nice video if you’ve used outside help, simply for the time investment, etc, etc. So calculate those expenses well because it’s not uncommon for successful campaigns to get less money then they needed due to poor planning.
- Step 6: Promote, promote, promote! We can’t really stress this enough – your campaign won’t achieve anything unless you promote it really well! Most guides will tell you that the promotion of a to-be-successful-campaign has to start months before its launch, but again – that depends on the campaign itself. For smaller and more personal campaigns it’s often silly to start promoting them 6 months beforehand, but even with them (especially with them!) you have to promote as much as possible during their runtime. No matter what’s the size of the platform, your campaign won’t reach anything unless you ask all your friends and family to spread the word (and contribute if they want, although you can ask them to just spread the word and let them decide whether or not they also want to participate). You also want to promote your campaign on social media, on related forums, blogs, groups, etc. Often even on the media – yes, for personal projects as well, if they are interesting and relevant for the public and the media.
And that should – more or less – cover the essentials about crowdfunding. Again – what we talked about here is just the tip of the iceberg. The most important steps on this list are Step 1 and Step 6 – make sure you do a really extensive research and consult with our experts. And once the campaign starts (or even before that) – promote it as much as possible!
If you do a good job with the campaign and its promotion, neutral viewers from the platform will start noticing it and joining, but not unless you’ve first brought enough participants yourself!