Being based in the heart of Cambridge’s Kendall Square, I encounter what is likely an inordinate number of people sorting through funding questions. Thankfully, there is an equally enormous, and varied, support group inside the Greater Boston area willing to share experience and expertise on every topic imaginable…if you know the right places to look.
Case in point: Healthbox Boston hosted an under the radar presentation offering crowdfunding advice from Indiegogo’s Bre DiGiammarino earlier this week. The afternoon consisted of a broad overview on working with the Indiegogo platform, with some added exploration into how healthcare companies can best utilize the general public to drive their projects forward.
Today, I’m going to share four quotes from Ms. DiGiammarino’s broader presentation, and explain why I think keeping these quotes in mind can ensure that your crowdfunding experience is a success whether you meet your funding goals or not.
“It’s Not Just About the Money”
Most conversations about crowdfunding start and end with the second half of the word. Funding may be what you’re thinking about most, but don’t lose sight of the fact that there are plenty of other ways to benefit from a crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding offers a unique opportunity to test your market, connect with your audience, and gain visibility. Take the opportunity to gather direct feedback from people interested in what you’re working on, and use that feedback to refine your product, service, and overall approach going forward.
“Story and Presentation Matter”
Because crowdfunding platforms are packed with a plethora of projects, your individual story matters, and so does how you share that story. Demonstrating enthusiasm, establishing credibility, and making your work personal helps establish a connection to potential supporters. Equally important is avoiding a deep dive into the technical side of what you’re doing, and keeping your message brief and digestible. Three minutes is the upper limit for a pitch video. Less than that is even better. Spend time mastering a compact and effective message, an exercise that will be benefit you long after your crowdfunding campaign ends.
“Networks Drive Momentum”
When you start a crowdfunding campaign, you should be ready to leverage the power of your personal network. The Indiegogo team suggests that successful campaigns should expect the first third of their goal to be achieved through personal network, the next third through secondary networks (friends of friends), and the final third through people further removed and strangers. Choosing an interdisciplinary team helps spread the workload through multiple networks, and offers a wider range of expertise and capabilities.
“Preparation Equals Success”
There’s no such thing as being over-prepared when you undertake a major project. With most crowdfunding campaigns running between 30 and 60 days, there’s work to do every step of the way. Marketing plans need to be developed to ensure that momentum is maintained throughout the duration of the campaign. Messaging has to be concise and impactful, and adjusted on the fly as necessary. Updates need to be rolled out consistently. Fulfillment for perks and other rewards needs to be thought through ahead of time, with cost of delivery factored into the equation. By thoroughly preparing beforehand, you can incorporate your plan of action into your master business plan, with adjustments based on the results you find in executing what amounts to a live test run.
Ultimately, I came away from the Indiegogo presentation with a new perspective on crowdfunding: not just as an alternate route to raising funds, but also as a unique educational and operational experience. By approaching a crowdfunding campaign as hands-on market research, it can be an eye-opening, team-building endeavor that gives you invaluable insight into your market, your company, and your overall direction.
If you’re planning or executing a campaign for your business right now, crowdfunding or otherwise, send us an email or leave a comment below. We love hearing about the exciting projects people are working on, and we’re always happy to be a sounding board and resource inside our community, and beyond.
Jason, for the team at Kendall Press