Five Tips For A Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

Tips to Help Your Kickstarter or Indiegogo Campaign Succeed

Indiegogo campaign results for The University film. 327% of our ask!
Indiegogo campaign results for The University. 327% of our ask!

Recently an Indiegogo campaign I helped work on ended, with 327% of its goal reached–almost $100,000!

I had never helped out on a crowdfunding campaign before, but, as an Associate Producer for a film, I had a real incentive to ensure the film not only got finished…but was able to be distributed.

The campaign received 3X+ the funds required, so I wanted to relay some of the top tips that helped us get there.


1. Get As Many Donations In The First Day

Well, this sounds obvious–but a campaign that looks like it is on FIRE is going to have perpetual motion. In our case, we reached $12k in the first 3 hours, and that ensured we showed up on the homepage of Indiegogo, in their newsletter, and the first listing in our category.

So, how do you ensure you secure that many donations Indiegogo featured newsletterquickly? You pre-sell!

  • Alert friends and family in advance: Let your personal network in on the fundraising a few weeks prior to your campaign going live.
  • Let people in on the secret of success: Tell your friends that if they donate, doing it in the first few hours after launching will help the campaign take off.
  • Crowdfund your perks prior to launching: Ask your network, and people who may be interested in your product (that might include your Fan page on Facebook, Twitter page, any current customers, or influencers who like your topic/subject matter) what kinds of perks would encourage them to donate. In our case, for a film about the rockstar students who learn to change the world while at Singularity University, we did ask the students, the staff at SU, and friends what would appeal to them. Matt, the director, knew that tickets to the SU Executive¬† Programs would be a big deal…so he got tickets especially for the campaign–and added an extra perk, of a Co-Executive Producer credit on top of it. Then, he found someone who was already planning to attend a program, and asked him if he could buy the ticket through the campaign. All we needed to do was sell one ticket in the first few hours to make more than 30% of our goal….and that’s exactly what we did. See Tip #5 for ideas on cool perks.
  • Get the media involved: We published a press release immediately after launch (using which helped us get some news and media coverage. Matt also had interviews with Journalists before the campaign was launched–with the articles scheduled for the day of launch. The more you can get stories written about your campaign before it happens–the more eyeballs and potential donors you’ll have when it launches.

Featured in the Indiegogo newsletter2. Ask For What You Really Need

So many people get scared of asking for too much, and they end up asking for such a small amount, that it appears almost as if begging, and not genuine. People may ask why you couldn’t come up with the funds yourself…or, they may assume you don’t understand all the requirements to build and launch (and market) a product–whether it is a film, a device, clothing line–anything.

You should figure out exactly what it will take to launch your product, and let donors know exactly where the funds go. In our case, we actually asked for too low of an amount to start–we asked for $30k, which was the basic requirement for the final editing of the film. Great–we could finish the film. But then what? To actually distribute it, and screen it, it would take much more.

We added a stretch goal, and added some new cool perks, and detailed exactly what any additional funds would bring to the table.

3. Be Active

So many people launch a campaign and then they’re like ghosts…completely absent from the fundraising process. That’s a mistake–people want to hear about your progress, and have communication from you. Here’s some tips that worked for us:

  • Social media every day: We posted about the campaign about 2X a week for the month we ran the campaign, but we were active on social media almost daily. In our case, we posted articles about Singularity University, or companies that former students had started. It was all a way to get people excited about what had been filmed–and to get the students talking about us.
  • Post updates on the campaign page: Never underestimate the power of an update on your campaign page. People want to hear about your progress, and to learn details of any perks or events you may have.
  • Thank your donors: We thanked out donors through social media, or via private messages. We also sent another press release about all the new Co-Executive Producers, and Associate Producers as a result of the campaign (people who donated enough to get these titles).

4. Do a Stretch Goal That’s Special

We were able to reach nearly $100,000 as a result of our stretch goal–and we had a cool perk associated with it. We sent an update letting donors know that if we reached $90k, we would crowdsource a whole new scene in the film, chosen by the donors. It’s not every day people have a say in what goes into a movie (unless you’re in the business!), so this was a fun new perk.

5. Host In-Person Events

One of my fundamental marketing principles is that it is everything comes down to the people behind the product. People give money, and believe in your product as a result of believing in the people who made the product. Ultimately, the passionate C.E.O who has an ok product will always be more successful than someone lackadasial who has an excellent product. That’s the way the world works. You want to connect to people on an emotional level.

Many of our perks included private events with the Director and the team behind the film–and these really worked for us. Now that we’ve reached our stretch goal, more in-person events will be coming, and people are excited about that.

  • Host a small dinner with your team: We had a perk that included dinner, wine and a private screening at the Director’s home. You might not want to host an event at your house, but having a small (ten person and under) dinner somewhere can mean a great deal to your biggest backers. In fact, aside from making it a perk, you may want to host another dinner for super-supporters (that might include people who shared on social media)
  • Host 1:1 chats with top donors: We did not do this for our campaign, but it can work especially if you and your team is based far away from where your donors are. Get on skype or Google Hangouts and have a video call with donors, where they can ask questions, and get to know you. I also like this idea as a way to RAISE funds–hosting a video call to answer questions for potential donors.
  • Host events in cool or exclusive places: We arranged to have events at private membership clubs, such as the Magic Castle in L.A. and the Core: club in NYC, or the Battery in SF. These types of places can include expensive membership, and we knew that if we could host events there, people who have wanted to go would buy the access.

I hope these 5 tips help you with any crowdfunding campaign you may be considering.




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