One of the challenges for social ventures is to get funded whether in the form of grant, debt or equity. Even with the growth of impact investing, many funders don’t understand social enterprise sufficiently to take the risk to provide funding. That’s why the fourth in our five-part communityBUILD Speaker Series was focused on crowdfunding. It is a financial tool that is accessible to social enterprises where the wisdom of the crowd rather than a single funder will make the decision to meet your financial ask.
We had three excellent speakers with a depth in experience in crowdfunding that collectively gave the audience many pearls of wisdom. See the speakers’ profiles here.
I want to share some common observations among the three of them in regards to creating a successful rewards crowdfunding campaign.
FIVE KEY SUCCESS FACTORS FOR SUCCESSFUL CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGNS
1/ Take time to plan your campaign as if it were a military campaign; be a project manager. Take no less than a month and preferably longer to put together all of the components. Don’t forget that you will have to plan to fulfill your rewards at the end of the campaign.
2/ The campaign is a full-time job and you will work very hard. You can’t do this off the corner of your desk.
3/ Have a good team working with you. Someone needs to be more strategic, constantly tracking the performance of the campaign once it’s live and pivoting strategies as need (which can be often just like in a startup). Someone else needs to manage customer service and fulfillment.
4/ Data shows that the larger the size of the organizers’ Facebook friends, the greater likelihood of success. In other words, the social media strategy around the crowdfunding campaign is critical to success; you need to keep pushing your messages.
5/ The community that participates in crowdfunding needs to see that you are creating real value with your solution and that it is compelling.
Our last event in the Speaker Series will be one of the most interesting: Changing the World through Disruption Innovation. Our speaker, Karen Dubeau, will share a powerful approach to drive impactful, disruptive social innovation. The approach, Exponential Innovation, was pioneered by Singularity University and Samil Ismail in his book Exponential Organizations. Don’t miss it. Register here.