Like starting a new business, embarking on a crowdfunding campaign should not be approached lightly and should be strategically planned months before you press ‘go live’ on the crowdfunding platform of your choice. Too many times, I get requests from people to check out their campaigns. Asking me to dissect why no-one is contributing with only days left open to do so. Each time it is sadly obvious that the campaigner has launched without much or any strategic planning before they went live.

Crowdfunding is a one shot exercise. Get it right and it will not only fund for your project, but it will set your reputation as a professional and effective operator in your chosen field. Get it wrong, and no matter how amazing your reasons for crowdfunding are, you will have to deal with a dent in your reputation about your previous attempt.

Below are the five essential ingredients to running a successful crowdfunding campaign:

  1. Master your message. With the deafening noise of so much on the internet constantly playing in the background, your message needs to cut through and capture your potential contributors. Your campaign pitch needs to be poignant or playful. These are the two reasons why things go viral on the internet. Make you campaign so compelling that it will inspire others to share it.
  2. Go outside your network Promotion to those you know will be part of your contributor strategy, but you also need to find those individuals that you don’t know; i.e. people that are aligned or interested in your type of project or start-up. There is a market for everything and clustered around those markets are people that interested in that particular market. Find these people. Join online groups in Facebook, Linkedin and Google+. Go offline and find organisations that of a similar theme to what you are doing and tell their networks about your campaign.
  3. Work with a collaborator In your search for the people you don’t know, you may discover an organisation with a large network that may benefit from an alliance with you or your organisation. Collaborate with them for the promotion of your campaign and give back a benefit to them.
  4. Find an Influencer Those with large audiences constantly need content or points of interest that keep them in the public eye. Find bloggers or public figures to endorse your project for further exposure.
  5. Befriend a timeline Mapping out all the tasks that need to be done or secured such as finding collaborators and influencers need to be in place before your launch date. Also all pre and during campaign communiques need to be written prior to launch in order that you can be freed up for any unexpected promotion opportunities when the clock is ticking post the push of the go live button.

The essence to crowdfunding is people want to be part of something bigger than themselves. Make that something worth being a part of.