Just under a month in and with 33 days left to go I’m at 114% of my target and pushing towards raising a total of GBP6,000 which would be 200% of my goal. It’ll be tough but I feel like with another month of hard work, I’ll get there!
Running a crowd funding campaign is something that’s totally new to me and I was certainly a bit apprehensive about trying this in an effort to raise funds. I did a lot of reading before I kicked off my campaign, coming across ‘Top 10 Things to Do…’ type lists and reading about people’s successes and failures.
There are a few possibly less obvious reasons for why I think my campaign has been successful and I wanted to share them.
1. Have Paypal as a Payment Option – One of the reasons I chose to go with Indiegogo instead of Kickstarter is Paypal. Indiegogo have an option to pay using Paypal, Kickstarter do not. I’ve always created websites with myself in mind as a target audience and I know what my own personal experience has been when attempting to fund campaigns. I often attempt to support the crowd funding efforts of friends but don’t have my creditcard handy and wish that Paypal is an option. When I see it isn’t, I often stop the donation process with the serious intention of returning later to make a contribution but I rarely do. I know this about myself and I expect there are a lot of people out there like me. So, knowing this, I wanted to give options for payment beyond creditcards and having Paypal has been great and has been used by about a quarter of people. Sure, there’s no way of knowing how many of those would have used a creditcard if they weren’t given Paypal as an option, but I think having another payment choice has meant an increase in my contributions.
2. Avoiding Amazon Payments – Another reason I avoided Kickstarter is their weird attachment to Amazon for payments. Ok… so I know that for people living in North America (and maybe Europe, too?), Amazon is huge and virtually anyone who does things online is going to have an account. I guess this would make making a payment pretty easy. But for us overseas people, it’s not the case. I do have an Amazon account but who knows what the password is. Having a new password sent is an extra step I can’t be bothered with and I wouldn’t want to do this to potential contributors. Plus many people won’t even have an Amazon account so asking them to set one up just to contribute to my campaign is madness. MADNESS! I think this is a case of knowing your market. I know that most of my contributors are going to be living in Rwanda and I doubt they’re likely to be as hooked up with Amazon as people outside of Rwanda. So in order to make sure the payment process is as easy as possible, I chose Indiegogo.
3. Having an Existing Community – This is HUGE! My guess is that, for someone to run a successful crowd sourcing campaign, they’d have to spend just as much (if not more) time before the campaign actually starts on generating buzz, creating mailing lists, and reaching out to potential contributors. Starting a campaign sold without a small army of already interested people would, I think, be very difficult. Fortunately for me, I’ve built up a large and very dedicated Kigali community over the past four years. I have a popular website that sees around 700 visits per day and I have a Facebook page that has over 27,000 followers. People are engaged, they like the website, they trust me and value my opinion, and they’ve been very supportive of my project from the start. Reaching out to this community has been easy for me and, as someone who is very supportive of my community (promoting businesses, events, other cool things), now I’m able to reap the rewards as they make an effort to support me back.
4 Making a Great Product is Key – This map has been in demand for years. It fills a hole in the market and does so with quality that goes far beyond what people might expect. It’s tricky to convey how high quality the map will be, but I think people are getting the idea with the multiple images I’ve been sharing. It really is a product I know a lot of people will love so it’s easy to continually put the word out. Having an actual product that people want to get their hands on is another reason raising funds has been pretty easy for me, so far. I’m able to use the Indiegogo campaign as a way of taking pre-orders… so it’s not money for nothing. The perk is an actual product that people want to get their hands on and it’s far easier to get contributions when I’m using the platform basically to sell the maps.
5. Have a Few Promotional Approaches – It’s not enough to just harass your friends and family or even, in my case, my large and engaged community. I think having a few other tricks up my sleeve will help me achieve my funding goal and go far beyond it. This part hasn’t been tested just yet but I’ve cleared 100% fairly easily (Facebook posts to my Kigali page, more Facebook posts to friends and family, one newsletter email to 1,200 people, about 20 individual emails to the Kigali business community, and a post about the campaign on my website). I’ve exhausted these avenues for now but I’m not at a loss for what to do next. I’ll bust out some paid Facebook promotion this week, promote my recently finished cartoon image, add another perk, stick some posters up offline posters, and then continue with more of the usual things that have gotten me this far. If my only avenue for getting support were constantly emailing family, friends, and website readers, I think I’d be struggling.
I’ve found raising money on Indiegogo to be a really enjoyable and fairly easy experience. Although I should say that, in order to really cover my costs, I’d like to raise GBP5,000. I was a bit nervous so set my fundraising goal artificially low. But it looks like I’m powering on to my actual goal without too much trouble.
I think that these five things are the main reasons for my success. You can spend all the time in the world on a video or crafting your page but I’m pretty sure that my weird, pointless cartoon video hasn’t hindered me at all because of my already engaged community. That’s the main thing. If you don’t already have a loyal community to tap into, that’s when you’re going to have to get really creative because you’ll need to find a way to attract people who otherwise wouldn’t be paying any attention to you. I think that’s the hard part. Lucky for me, I’ve got a pre-made audience who like me and who have been waiting for this product for a long time.
I’ve loved this process! I’m only half way through my campaign and I’m excited to see how far I can push it. It’s even better for me because it’s shown me that the map is anticipated and that makes me excited for when I actually have it printed and have to actually sell them!