Step by step prepare a crowdfunding campaign

Bear in mind that your crowdfunding campaign is part of your total project and thus also of your marketing plan.

1. Determine whether your project is suitable for crowdfunding

Remember that appealing projects or projects with a social theme are particularly suitable for crowdfunding. Besides, a successful campaign depends to a large extent on the gun factor, donors are interested in you as a person or creative artist and don't forget it. Remember too that a crowdfunding campaign takes a lot of time, you have to reckon on a team of three persons and on spending at least an hour per day on it during the campaign.

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Crowdfunding

2. Make sure that you are well prepared

Make sure that the planning of your campaign starts at least a couple of weeks before the kick-off of the campaign. Crowdfunding works well using social media, so make sure that you have already collected a public for your project beforehand who will follow the run-up to the campaign. Approach your friends and relatives first, followed by your colleagues. Through these contacts you will reach people you don't know.

3. Choose your crowdfunding platform

Look into the different crowdfunding platforms. Which platform offers the best options for your plans? Where is your network and where does it take place? How much support do you need from the platform? What are the conditions? You will have to pay the the platform 5 to 10% of the funds you raise. Services and facilities differ per platform: for example presentation on the website, help with setting up the campaign, use of network (of donors), ANBI ('institution for general benefit') status and assistance with administration and sending mailings. If you expect mainly to raise funds from a small group of friends and relatives, you can consider doing crowdfunding yourself, without a platform.

4. Chart your target group

Who will go to see your film or performance, or who will want to buy your product? Does your project appeal to a niche group, or does it touch on a universal theme? Which subgroups can you distinguish? Find out which companies, Facebook and Linkedin groups, associations and clubs there are within your target group and target them in a personalised way. Tip: Make an overview of your network and think of who would donate €10 and who would donate €50, €100 or maybe more.

5. Determine which means of communication you intend to use

During your campaign you communicate your idea to your (potential) donors in all kinds of ways: through the crowdfunding platform or website, you send mails, you use the social media, you can make flyers and try to get publicity in the newspapers, radio or on internet.

Tip: Use an online mailing programme to communicate with your donors. Collect all your addresses, keep the list updated, and if necessary create different categories for different mailings.

6. Determine your target behaviour

How large a part can the sum raised through crowdfunding be in your total funding? And which part of the project do you intend to fund with the money you raise? Give thought not just to how much money you need, but above all also to how much you expect to be able to raise from the different parties. If you intend to approach firms for a donation, it is advisable to find out beforehand whether these firms are actually prepared to give anything before the campaign gets under way. On crowdfunding platforms you have to raise the target total within the fixed number of days (which you decide yourself), so don't make the sum too large! You can always go beyond your target sum.

7. Determine how long the campaign will last

Experience shows that 40 to 60 days is a good length for a crowdfunding campaign. The danger of a longer campaign is that it becomes less effective after a while. Running a campaign is very intense.

8. Think up rewards

Think up rewards that match your product or theme. Give thought to whether your various target groups expect to receive something in return. You can test this by asking your friends and your network. Adjust the reward to the amount they give.

9. Tell your story in a gripping way

Make a video (teaser) or a series of attractive photographs of a prototype and match the text on the web page of the crowdfunding platform to it. Make a Facebook page. Write a good fundraising mail. Prepare a pitch that you can use to approach donors personally. Explain what the money will be spent on. Make sure that all these texts do not contradict one another right from the start and don't change them again during the campaign.

10. Draw up a planning

The peaks are situated at the beginning and the end, so a good and detailed campaign strategy is crucial for the period in between. Devise back-up plans to cover possible complications. Include all the actions in your plan: events that you organise yourself or in which you can join, the writing and sending of mailings and press releases. Send updates and reminders by mail.

11. During the campaign

Once the campaign is under way, make sure that the 0 euro on the counter disappears as soon as possible. In running your campaign don't forget that personal approach and repeating are the key, be prepared to ask. Create a buzz regularly via Facebook, Twitter, your own website/blog, etc. Send updates and keep on doing so until the project is complete.

12. Analyse your campaign

See what your actions have achieved. Make use of this in the implementation of your marketing plan for the project you're working on. Also think about the future: do you consider setting up a campaign for a new project? Make sure you keep your backers, your network, informed about your plans.