Crowdfunding: How to Raise Funds for Your Personal Projects
Many great ideas that can make a big difference to others never make it off the ground due to lack of funding. The greatest idea without funding is simply an idea.
Unlike other ideas and projects that can receive grants and sponsorship from foundations and governments, personal projects are not eligible to receive such grants and the most likely way to raise funds is to solicit donations from individuals. It is not easy knocking on doors and convincing strangers to donate to your project. It is sometimes even harder to approach your relatives and friends often due to pride, or it’s simply not comfortable.
Thankfully, there is another way that you can ensure you get your idea off the ground, and it is to use donations website where people from around the world contribute to causes, investors meet with entrepreneurs, and patrons get to turn ideas into reality. It is on these websites that an individual looking for funding reach out to a large community online through an open call, and this is known as crowdfunding. Some of the best known crowdfunding sites are: Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and crowdfunder. Forbes list the top ten crowdfunding sites here.
Top 4 Steps for a Successful Crowdfunding Project:
1. Pick the right platform
Determine your fundraising goals and select the appropriate crowdfunding platform to help achieve them. There are many crowdfunding websites for donations that focus on specific areas like healthcare, arts, music or non-profit, and their possibility to contribute depends on whether your type of project is within the area they focus on. For example Kickstarter might be less business friendly then Indiegogo. If you have a business project, you might have to decide on equity crowdfunding where your donors will become shareholders in the business. To help you decide, Forbes has a list of the top crowdfunding sites here.
2. Grab the attention of your donors
It is possible that there are thousands of people looking for funding using the same platform as yours. Competition is fierce, so getting the attention of potential donors is not easy. This is why your initial pitch and message should be able to command the attention of a donor or funder quickly and easily. After getting the attention you need, engage them on what your project is about and why it is important for it to succeed. Do not forget to show them how they will benefit from the project. Spending the money on a quality video to be able to “show” versus “tell” about your project is often money well spent.
3. Engage a good number of supporters
It is always important to deal with the foundations before moving ahead. Before an unknown person gets to support your project, there has to be proof that those around you (family, friends, advisors, partner organizations, notable investors and supporters) back you up. Without this proof, there is a possibility of donors having little trust in your project and may fail to make a donation. If they do, you will still need those supporters to launch your project! Just like people like to see a line at a popular nightclub, investors usually want to fund projects that others think will be successful too.
4. Have a good marketing and outreach plan
For a successful crowdsourcing campaign, you should reach out to as many people as possible. Whichever platform you choose, you will need to direct much effort and attention into that platform. Create a media page, produce great videos and images, and use social media strategically while targeting your potential donors.
Your project does not need to stall due to lack of funding especially now that the crowdfunding industry is in need of funding seekers to meet those who want to make donations.
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