Why Crowdfunding Campaigns Fail (And What Can Be Done)

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Forbes | Freddie Dawson | May 29, 2015

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Much is made of Kickstarter success stories. But for every Exploding Kittens or Coolest, there are umpteen great campaigns that fade into obscurity because of a lack of visibility. This is because many start-ups lack the know-how and skills to generate attention for their campaigns.

For example, DailyRoads LIVE is a website that wanted to take footage from a dashcam app – DailyRoads Voyager – and make it available steaming live on a website. This would enable drivers to check road conditions, fleet managers to better track vehicles and emergency services to better assess and respond to problems.

But the website will have to wait because the Kickstarter that would have helped fund the transition failed. This was partly due to an over-estimation of people’s willingness to expend data and partly down to concerns over security (for example streaming footage near a person’s house) but mostly due to a lack of visibility for the campaign, says Robert Fejer, founder of DailyRoads, the start-up behind the app and the Kickstarter campaign.

Related: When Crowdfunding Goes Wrong, But the Product Is Just Right

Kickstarter does not provide very detailed statistical analysis, which makes it difficult to assess and analyse failure. For example, it does not provide statistics on page views. However, Fejer reckons visibility was quite low as the campaign video was only viewed around 700 times. “With hundreds of projects launched on Kickstarter every day, we can’t rely on people finding a specific project just by browsing through the Kickstarter pages,” he says.

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This is down to the start-up, Fejer admits. The company tried press releases to get the word out and tried to find external help but was not able to. This was also due to timing. Fejer says that they did not know how to properly schedule and plan the campaign. “We are technical people, not familiar with the kind of promotion needed to drive people to the campaign page,” he says. “We should have started with this months before launching the campaign, and not try to do everything in the 30 days of the campaign.”

One possible solution comes in the form of the Reporter-in-Residence (RIR) scheme started by entrepreneurial media consultancy, Publicize. The RIR is a part-time role for a journalist within the organisation with the idea of providing ideas and help to start-ups facing exactly this kind of problem, says Conrad Egusa, founder of Publicize.

Egusa wants to see Venture Capital firms in particular hire RIRs in order to better provide advice to companies looking to set up a campaign. This could include issues such as turnaround times for articles, dealing with deadlines, creating press releases and framing pitches, he says.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding stakeholders across the country.  NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support and networking opportunities to over 950+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada.  Learn more About Us or visit www.ncfacanada.org.

 

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