Ten tips for running a successful crowdfunding campaign

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Globe and Mail | Posted on July 5, 2013

globe crowdfundingCrowdfunding platforms can open doors for entrepreneurs because they offer access to capital without having to navigate through the complicated traditional channels such as venture capital and angel investors. In addition, crowdfunding provides entrepreneurs with a way to engage their customer base and involve them in the exciting start-up phase of their company, all the while getting their product out into the market.

So for all of the budding entrepreneurs out there with big ideas and dreams of making them a reality, here are ten tips I have learned from my experience running a crowdfunding campaign:

1. Create a prototype of your idea. Crowdfunding campaigns are most successful when you have built the foundation of the project and are now asking for support to help take it to the next level. It also shows your belief in the project as you have invested time and personal money in the venture, which will support the all around credibility of your campaign.

2. Pick your platform. As the popularity of crowdfunding increases, so do the number of platforms availableKickstarter and Indiegogo are the two largest (note: Kickstarter has U.S. and Brisih residency clauses, but just announced it is opening its doors to Canadians “late” this summer, you can register to stay up to date here). Other platforms to look into are: CrowdfunderRocketHub and Quirky.

3. Build your project page. Research similar projects that have been successful and make note of the type of detail they included on their page. Your project page is your opportunity to sell your idea and engage potential supporters to become involved in what you are doing and contribute to your campaign, so make sure it is well written with a clear objective -- and includes pictures!

4. Include video. Campaigns with short videos (less than 3 minutes) are 50 per cent more successful than those without. A digital camera or smartphone will do just fine if you don’t have access to more sophisticated equipment. It is also useful to watch the videos of similar campaigns to yours to see how they made them.

5. Decide on your perks. Perks are what people get for contributing to your campaign -- they’re the incentive to get involved. If you’re launching a product with a tangible good, you should offer this as your perk. If you are raising money for an artistic endeavor then offer some way for the contributors to get involved, like a visit on set of a documentary, or previews to chapters of the book you are looking to publish. Be sure to include a $25-level perk as, statistically this is the most contributed dollar amount to crowdfunding campaigns.

6. Set up your payment structure. Different sites use different methods of payment, so make sure you look into what is required to set it up on your chosen site seven to ten days before you plan to go live. Indiegogo uses PayPal, but you need to upgrade to a premium account and verify your bank information, which can take up to seven days. You don’t want to be all ready to go live and have no avenue to accept funding!

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