Saturday, October 11, 2014

Lessons from Crowdfunding

Kevin McMahon gave a talk at Santa Clara University last month (Sept 29th) about starting his non-profit firm Art Heroes (  The timing was amazing because just 2 hours earlier, Kevin had successfully finished a crowdfunding campaign.  Art Heroes raised $23,000 on RocketHub and the lessons from his experience were fresh in his mind.  He made some terrific points that I wanted to share here.

Successful crowdfunding depends on the following:

1.       Know your story, tell your story – Run your story by your intended audience before launching your campaign.  It is easy to forget that each industry uses lingo that not everyone knows.  Make sure that your campaign is accessible to everyone. 

2.       Big donors up front – Get commitment from people who believe in you before you launch your campaign.  No one likes to be the first person on the dance floor and this goes for the crowdfunding campaign as well.  Network before you launch.

3.       All hands on deck – Just like starting a company, running a crowdfunding campaign alone is not easy.  Thus, if you can get others to co-sponsor it, you share the responsibility. 

4.       Thoughtful incentives – How many t-shirts can one person use?  Ask your audience about what they would like for rewards in return for their support.  And, no, 100 t-shirts is not a good way to start. 

5.       Social media madness – Use everything, all the time.  Before you launch, learn the basics of every social media platform.  Get on twitter, snapchat, Instagram… be everywhere. 

6.       Sharing is free – Even if your friends can’t support you monetarily, they can sharing your campaign for free.  Your network sharing your campaign with their network grows your audience exponentially.