Why Crowdfunding Campaigns Crash
The other day I received an email from someone who I haven’t seen in a while. The opening was the usual, “Hey, haven’t seen you in a long time!” which was then followed by an explanation of the project he was working on and a request to be part of his crowdfunding campaign. I get a lot of emails like this, as well as Facebook messages and even Tweets. Most of the time the message comes from someone who I haven’t seen in years and who goes right in for the kill asking me to do something.
I have mentioned in the past how the world of social media is like the outside and someone’s inbox is their home which is why I am always frustrated when someone comes into my “home” and before even saying hello goes to raid my fridge. As I started to think more about this, it occurred to me that many crowdfunding campaigns do not work for one very simple and basic reason:
The messaging revolves around the person doing the fundraising.
I can understand if someone is a celebrity and they have thousands of fans who feel like they want to “support” that celebrity’s project, and I can also even get behind the unknown person with a very cool idea. What I can’t get behind is the message of “I want to do this thing that will benefit me and I want you to give me your money so I can do it.” This is an awful message and yet it is at the heart of most of the crowdfunding campaigns I am presented with. I understand that many of us reach a point where we need help achieving our goals and I am a firm believer of reaching out to your community for help, but if you decide to use this platform for your project then it is important to keep one thing in mind.
The message of a movement is more powerful than the “Me” message.
If you want to make your movie, what do you plan to say with it? Why is it important to the people in your life that this film is made? Will it have a specific message? Change the way you are presenting this. There are too many people out there spouting the story that they can’t possibly get their project off the ground without everyone’s help, but they are neglecting to tell us what it will do for anyone else but them. If you have something that you want to make, before you make the video or write the copy, ask yourself if you are doing something with a larger purpose than making your project come to life. Ask who it will help? Who will it serve? Develop more of a movement message around your work and people will be more interested in funding it.
Finally, don’t reach out to people you haven’t seen in forever with your crowdfunding ask. This instantly turns people off. Reach out ahead of time and let them know you are working on a campaign. Ask them if they resonate with the message, ask them for their input, and ask them how they are doing. If you spend more time making those in your community feel like actual people and not numbers on a perks claimed page, they may be more likely to support your project.
Crowdfunding is a wonderful tool when used to build community around a powerful idea that helps others.
It can also torch your relationships if you are not careful with how you use it.
Use it wisely.