How to effectively run a crowdfunding campaign

Crowdfunding has over the years been considered an efficient method of raising capital to start a business or launch a new product or service. We look at the possible challenges faced during a crowdfunding campaign as well as sustainable solutions to ensure that your campaign fulfils your objectives.

Entrepreneurs and individuals alike who have previously tried running a crowdfunding campaign understand that this process calls for patience, creativity and a good support system. We recently hosted four crowdfunding experts; Tania Laden (Executive Director and Co-founder of Livelyhoods), Gautam Shah (Founder of Internet of Elephants), Weldon Kennedy (Co-founder of Enda) and Marion Moon (Managing Director of Wanda Organic) who shared with us their expertise in running a successful crowdfunding campaign. They have all previously participated in major crowdfunding campaigns and managed to raise funds, learn lessons and overcome hurdles throughout the process. LivelyHoods is a not-for-profit social enterprise founded in 2011 that creates jobs for youth and women in Kenyan slums through the distribution of life-improving products. Internet of Elephants  develops products intended to get millions of people to pay attention to wildlife every day. They have recently developed a game known as Safari Central which is based on real wildlife data, to make wild animals a part of daily life for millions of people while generating a new revenue stream for wildlife conservation.

From right: Marion Moon (Managing Director of Wanda Organic) , Gautam Shah (Founder of Internet of Elephants), Weldon Kennedy (Co-founder of Enda), Tania Laden (Executive Director and Co-founder of Livelyhoods) and Winfred Mworia (Growth Catalyst)

Enda was founded with a mission of bringing a bit of Kenyan athletic excellence to runners everywhere and fuelling economic development in Kenya. They developed the world’s greatest running shoes incorporating the country’s running history, culture and skills, while at the same time creating jobs. Wanda Organic was founded with a mission to protect the soils in Africa by providing the latest in bio-technological solutions to the medium-small scale farmers and thus protect the soils by increasing their bottom lines.

Your crowdfunding campaign message should have the audience hooked within the first 20 seconds

This event attracted more than fifty attendees cutting across different fields in the entrepreneurship and business eco system. The participants attended with the aim of learning, exchanging ideas and sharing knowledge. To begin with, crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising money from a large number of people who each contribute a relatively small amount, typically via the Internet. In crowdfunding you should consider; the traffic gained, the conversion rate and the value added. The traffic is the crowd that engages with your campaign, the conversion rate involves converting the traffic into the funds that you require and value added is the measure of the conversion rate. The speakers provided insights on key considerations before, during and after a crowdfunding campaign. You should begin with identifying your target audience prior to launching the campaign. When you have identified whom you are targeting it becomes easier to determine the best medium to reach them. You need to develop a clear, concise, simple and targeted message to describe the objective of your campaign.

Your crowdfunding campaign message should have the audience hooked within the first 20 seconds of reading it or in the case of a video, viewing it. It is key to ensure that the content that follows after the hook is clearly thought through and provides in-depth information about your objective for the campaign. At the beginning of launching your campaign ensure that you pre-raise at least 30% of the amount you are targeting. This amount can be raised personally or within your networks. It is easier for people to trust a campaign that has reads $30 raised than one that reads $0 raised. Consider Customer Relationship Management (CRM) which involves investing your time in engaging your audience before, during and after the campaign. “I created a spreadsheet for all my contacts and composed personalised emails for each one of them”, Weldon Kennedy stated.

Gautam Shah (Founder of Internet of Elephants) sharing on the effectiveness of choosing the right digital platform for your campaign

Interacting with your audience keeps them engaged and encourages them to participate in raising the funds you need. Identifying a ‘winning horse’ goes a long way into spreading the message about your campaign. A ‘winning horse’ is a person or people who are influential and can drive masses to participate in your campaign. You need to identify a suitable digital marketing strategy for your campaign. “Identify the best Social Media platform that will drive a high conversion rate for you”, Gautam stated. Incentives are a great tool to encourage people to participate. However, you should ensure that you choose attractive incentives that are relevant to your target audience since this will avoid losses on your end. Carry out research before deciding on the kind of incentive you shall offer. Maintaining a competitive edge over other campaigns is crucial; your campaign must stand out. Therefore, invest in making it unique and appealing to your target audience. Once your campaign is up, ensure that you are consistent in media story telling. Story telling reminds your audience about the objective of your campaign and why they need to participate.

Key considerations when running a campaign

  1. Identify your target audience
  2. Ensure that your message is clear and targeted
  3. Identify the most suitable medium to run and promote your campaign
  4. Keep in constant touch with your audience

Helpful information:

Top 10 Crowdfunding sites