By Kat Jenkins
I’ve helped on over 50 crowdfunding campaigns. Along the way I have talked to hundreds of crowdfunders, run several campaigns myself, and worked closely on dozens of others.
I’ve learned that there are a few things that you can expect to encounter in every single campaign. Knowing what to expect will put you in a better position for success.
1. It’s Predictable
There are two types of successful crowdfunding campaigns:
- 80% of successful campaigns fund within 10% of their funding goal.
- The other 20% are the “runaway successes” – campaigns that pull in over 110% of their initial target.
The runaway success campaigns usually put in a lot of work – for years – building a crowd of people who love them. Or they are something that people just really, really jive with.
But for most successful projects, the pattern is utterly, totally predictable. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but often, success doesn’t feel like success.
Much like an actor in a play, there are “marks” you want to hit. When you do, your chances of a successful campaign increase.
First 48 Hours – 10%
A successful project will hit at least 10% of the funding goal in the first 48 hours. Ideally, you should know you have secured this before you launch.
The first 10% provides a baseline of support and gives subsequent supporters some confidence in your project. It begins the snowball of your success.
So have your initial supporters lined up ready to hit that mark early in order to expand later on in your campaign.
You can use early bird rewards to engineer this support if you really want to be clever.
End of Week 1 – 30%
Most campaigns that fail never reach 30% of their funding goal. Getting to this point is a real achievement! Well done!
At the end of the first week your pledges will slow dramatically. So it’s important that you are over this mark before that happens.
Getting to 30% means that your crowd will recognise that this thing might actually succeed. It’s recognised as the “tipping point” in the majority of crowdfunding campaigns.
5 days before close – 60%
In a 30 day campaign, this means you have just over 2 weeks to make up the second 30%. You might find this pretty tough going.
But don’t panic! I’ve seen hundreds of campaigns make their goal in the last 2 or 3 days.
It’s not the exact number that matters – 40% in your campaign could be $40, $400, $4,000 or $40,000. It’s the percentage.
If you’re near or over 60% heading into the last week, don’t give up yet!
2. It’s emotional
The biggest shock to me when I ran my first campaign (my own) was the rollercoaster of emotions that will come with it.
This is particularly important if your campaign follows the pattern described above. You’re going to find yourself hit with a raft of emotion which usually goes one of two ways.
You will either:
- Rally: Usually this is what happens if you are aware of, and expecting, the emotional rollercoaster you will experience. It means you’re ready for the negative emotions, and you’re able to harness the positive ones to just keep going.
- Bury your head in the sand: You may very well be making progress but once your campaign slows down, you start to feel like a failure and you stop trying. You stop talking to people about it, stop sending emails, or posting the link. You stop trying, and your campaign withers.
Going for a walk in the bush or cuddling my dog helps me when I get in my head. Some of my friends like visiting the beach and swimming in the ocean. My counselor is a big fan of a good deep breath.
Find your way to ‘touch grass’. Be prepared to leave your screen and go do it when things get tough.
3. Your success is sealed before you launch
Without a doubt, the amount of effort you put into planning your campaign is reflected in its success.
Not only do you need to set up a killer campaign page including a decent enough video but you also need to prepare and gather your crowd before you begin.
It helps if you know where at least the first 10% of your funds are coming from before you launch.
You’ve got emails and social media posts to write. Promotion to organise and press releases to send out.
And that doesn’t even cover the initial work that goes into your idea before you begin crowdfunding in the first place!
The more effort you put in before you launch your project, the higher your chances of success.
And the more cash you are looking for, the more effort it will involve.
Every crowdfunding campaign comes with a lot of work to do. And it’s never easy. Even when it looks easy from the outside, those creators have pushed past their anxieties and worked for years to build the crowd that launched them with a bang.
If you are just looking for money, crowdfunding is not for you. You need to be looking for something bigger: a lasting marketing strategy based on the idea of having a crowd of exceptional fans, ready to rave about what it is you do.
Be prepared. Do the work. Know why you’re doing this.
Then go launch the best damn project PledgeMe has ever seen!
About Kat Jenkins
In 2014, Kat quit her office job to try her hand at helping people crowdfund. She’d been a prolific pledger (she’s pledged to 75 PledgeMe campaigns to date) for a little while and was frustrated at seeing great ideas go unfunded.
Between 2014 and 2018, Kat worked on over 50 campaigns – including all three of PledgeMe’s equity rounds – before retiring to go learn about horticulture and native plants.
These days, Kat has a job she loves as a gardener at a rest home. She also maintains a weekly gardening and lifestyle blog, grows 5 varieties of garlic, and sells a cat-treat product – Kat’s Nip – grown in her garden.
In July, PledgeMe’s founder Anna got in touch, asking if Kat would be interested in ‘coming out of retirement’ for a very special project. That project – with Nisa Manufactory – quickly joined the ranks of PledgeMe’s biggest-ever project campaigns.
Kat has helped creators raise almost $300,000 through PledgeMe project campaigns over the years. And while looking at her records, she realised those PledgeMe campaigns had a 100% success rate (and 87% overall)!
It got Kat and Anna thinking. What if they dusted off Kat’s old website content, updated it, and put it on PledgeMe so every project creator could learn Kat’s secrets again?
And so we are beginning this series of blogs, which we hope you’ll find useful.