Is Crowdfunding Right For Me?
Crowdfunding is a revolutionary tool for fundraising in the 21st century. We'll help you decide if crowdfunding is right for you.
Crowdfunding is a revolutionary tool for fundraising in the 21st century. It can be a great resource for people from all walks of life looking to raise funds and attention towards their efforts. However, there are some rare instances where crowdfunding may not be a great fit and more traditional options of fundraising can be pursued.
Patronicity has been a leader in crowdfunding for nearly ten years and we have seen what makes a good fit for a successful crowdfunding campaign and what makes crowdfunding a more difficult vehicle for others. We share our best practices for determining if crowdfunding is a good fit for you and your project and share questions you can answer to help guide your efforts.
Am I Ready to Crowdfund?
Crowdfunding is best applied when you have everything lined up to hit “Go” on making a dream project a reality and all you are missing is the funding to make it happen. This is a great motivator for your donors as well, to think that their donations will make X finally happen.
Think about it this way, if you are going to ask for public support and donations, you don’t want folks to have to wait to see a turn-around on their investment. You don’t want people asking you monthly, “Hey, when will the project be done?” If you can set the expectation from the beginning that these are the final funds needed to complete your project within a certain amount of time, this is the ideal way to motivate and secure your donors.
There are several questions you can ask to determine if you have everything you need lined up:
- Are your budget numbers finalized? Have they been confirmed with a local contractor/supplier and accounted for contingencies?
- Are the legal agreements and permits in place to make the project happen once we secure the funding?
- Am I ready to execute on completing the project once the funding is secured?
Is this the right phase of this effort to be asking for donations from the public?
This ties in with the previous question, if your project is a multi-phase effort, and you are going to be completing the other phases within the same year or two, you will want to wait until the final phase to ask for public donations through a crowdfunding campaign.
Donors appreciate closing the gap on what is needed to complete a project and make it usable and/or functional. Again, you don’t want to run into a situation where donors are wondering what is happening with the project or if their donation was misused. The ideal time to use crowdfunding is when you need the final portion of funding to complete your project entirely.
Do I have a team to support this effort?
A successful crowdfunding campaign involves a wide base of supporters coming together to support your cause or effort. The more folks you have on your team to help push, promote, share and connect people to your campaign, the better. Your personal audience or reach only goes so far, and having other team members bring their audiences to the campaign allows the campaign to be shared much farther with many more people connected.
Successful crowdfunding campaigns also involve a lot of time and effort, and there are many tasks that are easier to split among a team of people with varying strengths and talents, rather than relying upon one person to be overburdened by the load.
Do I want to expand the reach or support we have for this effort or project and create a donor database for the future?
If you have a new organization or have not yet gathered a formal donor database, crowdfunding is an efficient way to gather a wide network of supporters and gain a log of donor information. Our platform gives you easy access to donate from anywhere at any time, and also allows you to download your donor data at the end of the campaign for future use and correspondence.
In addition, Patronicity’s crowdfunding platform offers a unique Update feature to keep in easy contact with your donors in perpetuity, beyond the end of your campaign timeline. This allows you to tell your vested supporters of events you may have, share new efforts, and give updates to the project they supported.
Do I want more public awareness around this project or effort?
While crowdfunding is an excellent fundraising tool, it is often overlooked as a marketing tool and public awareness campaign. Through the efforts it takes to have a successful campaign like social media posts, local press, radio segments, and fundraising events you are naturally generating public awareness of your work and your organization’s impact. Your crowdfunding campaign page can serve as a method to tell folks about the impact of your work and previous efforts you have done that they may not have known about.
Do I have the network of support to connect with?
The mechanics of building a successful crowdfunding campaign entails that you do outreach to anyone and everyone that has been connected to you, your project, or this effort. This means you must have contacts to reach out to, some sort of social media presence to promote your campaign on, and/or an email list to connect with. If you don’t have people to connect with and have an ask of, like family and friends, partners, organizational supporters/partners, or people that inspired your work/project; then crowdfunding may not be the right venue for your efforts.
Is this an appealing ask?
In other words is this project/effort sexy enough to garner public support? Does your project have an emotional or impactful appeal? Will people naturally feel motivated to give to this campaign?
Now, this isn’t as important of a factor if you have a wide range of support to connect to and are well prepared to push and promote your campaign. However, if your project is appealing or has some public impact it will be easier to garner support and attention for your crowdfunding campaign. This may just mean we need to re-tailor your narrative or messaging, so you focus on the greater impact of the project rather than the project specifics.
A coach at Patronicity can help you rework things to create a publicly appealing campaign in most cases, but this can be a deal breaker for some projects that are more personal or could be viewed as something you acquire a loan for.
Do I have the time to run a successful campaign?
This is a critical question for you to honestly answer. For the 30, 45, or 60 days you run your crowdfunding campaign, it needs to be a top priority and something that is continually attended to for the brief duration of the campaign. If you don’t have the time to weekly be promoting or pushing your campaign and connecting potential donors to your effort , then it is unlikely you will have a successful campaign. While there is potential for a campaign to take off from a few well curated social media posts and press efforts, in most cases you have to be committed to ask and connect people to the campaign and give them a “call to action” to answer. There is a common misconception about crowdfunding that if you build a page the donors will just come, but in reality people have to be connected or asked in some direct way to contribute. The beauty of a crowdfunding campaign is that it gives people a live-time easy space to give whenever they get that “call to action” that you put out.
Is my community well enough connected to utilize Crowdfunding?
While this is a rarity, it would be presumptive to assume that internet connection or cell service is ubiquitous in all communities. Crowdfunding does need internet connectivity to work properly. In this instance, a more traditional fundraising method may be more efficient.
Hopefully, these questions will help guide you and your team in determining if crowdfunding is a good fit for your fundraising efforts or not. If you want a personable and direct connection to more information regarding crowdfunding, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our crowdfunding experts will assist you. Begin your campaign today at Patronicity.com.