Crowdfunding - How to raise funds for your project?

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From the moment I managed to raise 100% of money for my project, I receive questions such as: How did you do that? Can you share with some tips? So I do reply, letting myself step by step note all I can remember here:

I assume you have already a concept, idea, ready product and the most important: the right motivation, a feeling of will within, an attitude of adventure and curiosity. It is crystal clear that you want to raise money, however the openness toward what will happen and not being attached to the result much can lead not only to a success but also improve the quality of the way to your goal. In other words, for me it is not only important where am I going but how will I get there.

Step by step

  • Let's choose the website, that we feel most comfortable with and suiting to what we want. Is it publishing, education, performance? Here I had some luck straight away seeing a site: www.wspieram.to I had no doubts, when I received a phone call almost immediately after registering and inquiring by email, from Mrs Dominika Zabrocka.
  • Registration, content and all information are not only very well explained on the website, but fast reaction by mail or telephone from this company was enormous support for me straight away. It is worth to add that during my campaign Mrs Dominika had to go to hospital. Again she was still writing to me from there, trying to make sure I was alright in my process of raising funds.
  • Shortly, what you need to add to web is: short video, photos, text and rewards. It depends on your own creativity what will reward for people. The only rule is that reward has to be connected with your project and realistic to deliver in a given date/ time.

What now? Well, campaign...

My personal traveling through the land of raising money I call campaign, because just like in president campaign we are about to become visible using laws of marketing. Here I had a real challenge. I don't really like to receive spam, advertisements by email myself. How then do I deliver my message to the potentially interested readers without spamming? I admit I wasn't doing the best job always. Sometimes I was sending mails (chybił trafił) randomly to contacts that were already on my list in gmail. Sometimes it was working to my benefit, not only adding to support but also possible cooperation. Sometimes though I was receiving:

- Stop sending me this or I will go to police!

Of course I was always deleting such contacts, however gmail as gmail likes to generate data constantly. Learning from my mistakes, I would suggest to be more careful to whom you are sending your message.

Campaign then

Campaign from the technical point of view looks like this:

  • Depending on time given on the website, for example 2 months, all letters and posts shall be sent often. It doesn't mean every day, but for sure: once a week.
  • Writing a creative letters, posts on such portals as Facebook and linkedin involves also quality of the text:

- the shorter, the better. Till 5 sentences! 6 sentences can already be too much to grab attention to read. Put yourself in the shoes of somebody who probably every day receives from 20 to 100 mails. To all that this person doesn't know you. How much time would you give somebody to explain his cause? Few seconds? There you go! You have then few seconds to introduce what you offer, want, share.

- write only conretes and be straight forward what you want! You want support by adding money, then write that.

- give very, very clear instructions about how to support you online!

- I personally like to add positively influencing information or even some jokes for fun. We all like to read something interesting, see funny video, laugh. Even if that is not connected with our project we all like to be inspired. Let's share then what is precious and adding to a well being.

What if we are facing deadline and still have little percentage raised?

We feel like we did all we could, followed the tips of others, perhaps we read a few books about marketing and still time is coming to the end. We don't have 100% or even half of it. Again, I read in the pat so much wonderful, good books of great marketing people: techniques of persuasion, negotiation, selling story and I could give you all these title here but... There is so much there and I assure you all is very informative and interesting to read in a way, however incorporating all that straight from book may not serve us so well now. I compare it a bit to learning dance. You just cannot do that even if you read few books about dance. In the situation when you don't have much time what counts most is our right attitude and then action. I probably don't have to add that action without good attitude will lead to a hard labor/work and epic failure.

In my case time was running and I had around 40%. Excitement and reactions of a person who was helping me at the beginning were changing too. First I heard:

- You really doing it! I will help you.

Then I heard:

- What if you don't raise it? / won't make it?

As one of my dear cousins is saying I repeated:

- Kupił, nie kupił, pohandlować można, which means in a translation from Polish: Will I sell it or not, bargain won't cost me.

In last days it is crucial to connect with people, who you feel want to help, wish us well. Our closest ones sometimes are doing campaign better than us. I was quite impressed when someone organized few other people who even didn't know me, they supported me. It happened also that my friends who didn't even know Polish language were supporting my case. Family, closest and part of family I thought the connection was broken long time ago, now they were there for me. So who will support you? The closest ones, their closest ones, friends, those who like you and people who don't know you but are truly interested in your project.

One more time: Sell or not to sell, bargaining won't cost

In my case there was just a few hours left before the end of time. All turned out pretty unexpected for me. I thought I have 3 more days, at least. Unfortunately I missed the information that next days there was a celebration in Poland and all banks are closed. These last hours were extremely crucial.

The higher percentage people see, the most likely they will help, thinking that it is small amount till the end. I decided then to do what I can and the rest cover myself by asking somebody to pay for me and give him money back later. I even called to organized that, but again decided to wait a while. It was still an hour and I was working pretty intensely.

- So shall I transfer or not? - I received the call back.

- Wait. - I was still observing what was happening on the website. Then I saw it was more than 100%. There was no need for additional transfer. If I can suggest anything here I would advice you to do whatever you can to the last minute of your funding project.

But this is not all

While raising the money it is really worth it:

  • connecting with people. Networking with people who not only support us, are from interesting us field of work can lead to longer collaboration in the future. How to do that? Not only asking for support, cooperation, to be patron of our project but also do something in return, propose something back. If you publish the book, connect with newspapers, bookstores, etc.
  • If you are convinced that you will continue with your project no matter what will be result of the campaign, I suggest to act toward your goal straight away: searching more information that will be helpful while promoting your product.

Good luck in your project! Nothing bad will happen if you won't raise the money, however.... maybe you will.

If you have any other questions, please let me know. You can share them here.

Every project is individual, different. All depends what we are raising money for, how many people will be interested in it. If it is about beer as I saw on the website, while studying other people's projects, it is very likely you will raise 400%. Well see for yourself. Just reading about other's projects may inspire you.

Joanna Piłatowicz

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