I’ve watched two interesting TED talks on crowdfunding that were brief, but nevertheless useful.
Crowdfunding today, tomorrow, together
John Trigonis is a movie maker and now also seen as somewhat of a crowdfunding expert. He says that engaging a crowd is an art. And I have to say from what I’ve heard and seen so far he is right.
“The pitch is the invitation, perks the incentives and promotion the interaction with your crowd.” – John Trigonis
He tells that when you do a campaign video you should always tell the following to your crowd:
You should tell who you are
What your project is all about
Why your audience should fund you
You should speak to your audience like they are a friend. A very personal approach is needed to get your crowd enthused and willing to spend money on you and your project.
Victoria Westcott talks about crowdfunding in relation with her youth. She was a very entrepreneurial spirit and still is. Out of the experiences she had in her youth with selling all kinds of things, like lemonade in her street, she gives us 5 lessons. Five lessons to live by when you do a crowdfunding campaign.
Make something awesome
sell to your audience
Don’t ask for charity
They might just give you tips
In summary you should just make an awesome project that people want to be involved with. You need to grab them by the hair so to speak. You need to sell. Persuade them to buy the product from you. Let them see you want to improve something through the realisation of your project. Remember that it’s not charity that you do with your project. Stand behind it. Be persistent and be kind and be changeable in the way you present your product.
Two things that I see constantly with building a crowd and achieving your goal. Be persistent and be very personal in your approach. We tried this during our whole campaign and you can see the outcome of that: Success!
Showing the positive effects of economic integration
Creating a community
Having a successful crowdfunding campaign
Associate the brand with creativity, entrepreneurship, success values
Disseminate no borders philosophy and equality values
(HOW) Placing Delitelabs in the startup ecosystem
2. TARGET AUDIENCE
Smart educated refugees between 20 and 30
Unemployed local people between 20 and 30
Companies with a social department to fund initiatives
People that are related with other initiatives involving tech, business and innovation
Is easier to startup a business after the program
Our program helps to develop economic integration
Delitelabs is a professional education
Delitelabs is a big step to develop yourself: professional and personal
We want to empower people who don’t get much chances
We tell personal stories
Geographical Scope: Amsterdam, Nederland, Europe
Tone: Smartass tone.
Super smart responses in a super nice way.
Open mentality to criticism. Questioning
Suspense. People are exciting to know what’s next
Resourceful. We get the things done
Hands on and learning by doing
An event on the 29th of September where we will have a public lecture given by Founders
The prototyping week at the University of Twente the 10th till the 14th of October
The final pitch event which will be on the 19th of October
Youtube / Vimeo
It is important to standardise the visualisation of the different communication means. Although these may differ for each communication tool we use, in our case a set of social media platforms. Which are the following media outputs:
Greg Jacobs explains in this talk with Chris. How he has used crowdfunding to fund his products. The crowdfunding campaign that he has ran got backed for a little over $500.000. He reversed engineered it in the same way our students learn in design thinking. In other words he used the crowdfunding as an experiment if people were interested in his product. With the new trend of digital crowdfunding he could now do this without spending enormous amounts of money on manufacturing costs. He analysed the manufacturing costs of the product and used crowdfunding as a marketing tool to see if it was viable to create the product. And you could really say he was with a funding of $500.000.
Keep me posted!
He says that still 9 out of 10 crowdfunding campaigns fail. According to him the reason for this is that many people just put the crowdfunding campaign online and do nothing else with it and wait till the money rolls in. Use your networks to spread the word to as many people as possible. Be proactive and provide updates and attractive content so you pull people and they stay interested.
Another interesting thing what was said during the movie is that crowdfunding solves a problem. People that normally couldn’t fund themselves can because of crowdfunding. Normally they could have gone to a bank or an angel investor or even family. The problem is that angel investors and banks aren’t lending you always the money that you need and family most of the time just doesn’t have the capital for it. So to fund your projects or products through crowdfunding really enables people that otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to fund themselves.
The three biggest obstacles in crowdfunding
1. Product Selection and Niche
He says there are basically two groups of people who want to use a crowdfunding campaign to offset their product. Some people try to view a crowdfunding campaign as a purely entrepreneurial endeavour. This means in his words that they create a product that I can sell the most from and you can get the most money from. Other people, which he calls inventors, which could say phrases like “I have this idea for years and I want to get it out there”. He says the “entrepreneurial groep” usually doesn’t have a big problem with doing this because they adjust to the market to sell their product. The “inventors” on the other hand can experience sometimes problems because they want to market to mold to their vision. A smaller chance of success, but if they succeed they usually do it grandly.
2. Getting the prelaunch traffic
If you just throw your crowdfunding campaign online than 9 out of 10 crowdfunding campaigns fail so you have to have a coherent plan before launching. You need to get as much traffic to your page, but this crowd needs to get build up even before launching the campaign.
3. Product delivery
Product offset in other words. Backers need to know what the product is all about. They need to hear the story behind it and feel interested about it.
The contra intuitive way to go about crowdfunding
Let me start of by quoting Greg Jacobs: “The biggest difference between the failures and the successes in crowdfunding is that the successful crowdfunding campaigns have always a good prelaunch.” To prepare for a great prelaunch is to know where the first 50% of your backers are going to come from. The other 50% Greg calls crowdfunding groupies that you don’t know, but are very enthused about crowdfunding and support many projects. Once you are sure about the 50%, you have a very high chance to score big on your crowdfunding.
The way to go about crowdfunding is to not go for the money but go for the reached goal. If your goal is reached this has many benefits.
The two biggest reasons to go for reaching your goal in stead of the precise amount of money that you need is that firstly is that people are more likely to fund your project if your goal has been reached very quickly. Second is that the reach of a goal triggers certain algoritmes of the crowdfunding platform that will generate organic traffic for you.
A couple of very good tips that were mentioned I would like to try and implement in our own crowdfunding campaign. Get more prelaunch traffic. We are already doing this but we could use more ways to try and implement this in our communications. The remark Greg made about setting your target amount lower so that you know you’re going to reach your goal is very helpful. This is the other point we can try and implement, although it will be hard to get a good estimation of the amount of people that will back us. And keep updating is his advice. Keep posting and keep selling your story. We’re on our way!
This workshop, attended at the Filmschool of Amsterdam was a couple of months ago, luckily I’ve written down the notes for it. During the negotiations with our former moviemaker I had also a couple of workshops on the preproduction and postproduction of a movie.This workshop was particularly for montaging principles that you could use and why and when you should use them, also with a little help from some links I found.
During this workshop we talked about two types of cuts in a movie, sensible cuts and non-sensible cuts. But before we get into these there should be a small explanation or digression of movie theory. Let’s talk a little bit on how a movie can be dissected.
Three Acts Paradigm
Almost every movie can be divided into three main parts, derived from the theory that was created all the way back to the Greek philosopher Aristotle and is called the Three Acts Paradigm. This says that every story has in the basics three parts:
During this act all the major characters get introduced, the setting of the movie will be shown and the confrontation or problem of the main character will be introduced. This act could also be called the introduction because it introduces all the main elements of the movie.
The confrontation is by far the longest act. This is where the story gets unfolded. Here the stakes escalate. The last part of this act is mostly a situation where “all hope seems lost”. Just before going to the next act, which is the resolution act.
Mostly this is the shortest part. The part where the final confrontation with the villain is being played. The last fight of Bane and Batman in Dark Knight Rises for example.
The two types of Cuts
Montage is all about cuts. But why even cut? Well there are practical and dramatical reasons to do this.
There are a couple of practical reasons to cut. Cutting, montage or editing is what makes a movie come to live. The two practical reasons to cut are to:
Turn to another scene
Keeping moving persons and object in the view
You want to make your audience feel a certain thing. Here you can also play with the montage of your movie. How you montage it is closely linked on what of an impression people get from it. A very quick edit you often see in action scenes and improves the feeling of excitement of the watcher. Here are the main two reasons that I got from the workshop that could help to dramatise your movie/plot.
Letting the audience show the imagery from another perspective (literally as figuratively)
The Kuleshov effect is a very interesting effect documented by Lev Kuleshov, a filmmaker in the early 20th century. This has everything to do with the editing of a movie. When a neutral face is been displayed and the next shot is food, we perceive the person as being hungry. When the next shot is a woman, we think the person is in love or when the next shot is a graveyard we tend to think that the person is sad. So we link the way of editing or the way the montage was done subconsciously to an emotional attribute we give the person on the screen.
Some of the principles of this workshop I knew already, but it was a good refreshing of my memory. I try to implement this in the movie we are going to make, so this might be a very handy refreshment to have. To see the movie I’ve made for the crowdfunding campaign click here.
There is a youtube video of a talk given by a man by the name of Darren Marble, the CEO of CrowdfundX. He has shown that there is a method to the success of a crowdfunding campaign. He mostly talks about equity crowdfunding, but the three principles he talks about in his talk are just as applicable to other crowdfunding campaigns. You’ll see in a minute.
The three elements of Crowdfunding
Crafting a story
Producing the story
Distributing the story
Part 1: Crafting a story
There are a couple of things he tells about this, but the most important one is that you have to create a story that emotionally connects with the audience. The impact of your company, product or service has to be much bigger than just making money for yourself. You should ask yourself the question: “What is your contribution to society?” and be able to answer this very concretely. In other words, as Simon Sinek would have asked it, “Why do you do what you do?”. If you have the specific and concrete answer to this question you can start with step 2, that is producing the story, preferably visually.
Part 2: Producing the story
And a visual one at that, at least that’s what I got from the talk. Darren talks again about a couple of questions you need to ponder on as a business to really know what it is all about and why your story is more compelling, better, funnier or just more authentic than that of the other. The questions to ponder on are:
What does your company really do?
How are you different than your competitors?
How are you going to make money?
How are you going to return the money to the investors? Or in our case: how are you going to show our backers that it is not only for a good cause but it creates the impact they want to see. Another way is to provide perks. Small or large gifts that come as a counterpart of the donation.
Why the backers need to take action now? In other words: How do you create an urgency with your crowd that they feel they have to give money this instance.
This is one of the more important and cognitively more difficult challenges to counter when you have a campaign I’ve already seen. Now the part where it is actually all work.
Part 3: Distributing the story
In this part they explained or better said Darren explained what they exactly did to distribute the story. He shows that the best campaigns make a huge community. To create this you need to do a lot of different things. He talked about PR and blog outreach, the journalists and bloggers they helped out, two months of preparation, email marketing, lots of press hits and with this creating a huge community.
For example the amount of effort putting into this one CF-project they had. They spend 50.000 on the campaign and roughly got 1 million back.
During this campaign they reached out and try to use 1000 journalists and bloggers to write about the project, had dozens of press releases, used digital marketing tools like: thunderclap, reddit, AMA check, product hunt campaign and hacker news.
Darren also talks about paid media. 80% of their budget goes to Facebook ads. To lock the target audience. With this you can target your audience very specifically. So if your definition of your target group is valid, it can have amazing results. The way to do that is to check your first 500 investors. Get their emails. Facebook matches them u to people that own the profile and does an analysis of the demographics of this baseline audience. This creates a look alike audience/persona and Facebook gives you 500k to 1 million people with the same demographics. Then buy 100.000 ads and use them to target new investors.
One of the last tips he mentions and als adds that it is maybe one of the most important things to consider when doing business with another company is: “You have to believe in the company you’re doing business with”.
To get a very large community in a small period of time for a crowdfunding campaign you need to invest money into Facebook ads and a large enough team to execute the other activities that will be needed. Creating a target group, structuring and creating your story, setting up a list with journalist and bloggers, contact them all try to draw attention from the conservative media and much more.
Since we don’t have a budget, or at least a very small financial source we can use for this campaign, we aim to use the other mentioned methods. We’ve been busy with many things that are being called under the attention of this movie, which is, I think, a good thing. For example we have made long contact lists, have used and are using digital marketing (social media and mailing), We have created a storyline and with that a tagline “We take them to the starting line”.
I think it would be very interesting to see how Facebook in this sense works. I’ve only had the liberty to check out Facebook insights these last couple of weeks. This was very helpful, but I think when you have some budget to spend on it it becomes even more interesting. The ideal place to find, communicate and getting involved with your target audience.
An interview with Jordan Pijnenburg. I find it so interesting that when you dive in a subject that you tend to find the people that are connected to that subject. Some people say it is the universe answering your desires, others say faith and there is a group that calls it the Law of Attraction.
The mechanisms of these thought experiments tend to work for me, but I have to say the theoretical framework of most of these metaphysical concepts I find not very meaningful. For me they don’t give a satisfying answer to these questions. But I get distracted.
I met Jordan on the street when I was working at a sales job that I’ve been doing the last couple of months. Jordan works in sales as well, but after a couple of minutes it became very clear to me that he had a lot more experience in the field of digital marketing as I had. Not long after this I asked him if he was open for a chat on this, where I would show him how we worked at Delitelabs and if he had any tips that he could share with me. He was more than happy to go over a couple of things and so it happened that we planned an interview. Yet another expert I could learn from!
Before the interview started I wrote down on one page on what I wanted to go over with him. I wanted to show him our Social Media output, our blog, I wanted to know about frequency of Social Media output, SEO and some tips on efficiency and effectiveness of digital marketing in general.
The blog & SEO
We started out with the blog. I showed him our blog and what we did already did to improve the awareness and engagement of our business. We showed him a couple of things that we did to improve our blog and make it more noticeable for our readers.
One of the first tips I got from him was to have contact with other blogs. Try to write about what you read about other blogs and point out what you like about those blog posts. If you connect in this way you are more likely to create awareness for yourself BY providing traction towards the other blogs. In other words “be nice to others”. Also the other way around. When you would write an article about a subject like entrepreneurship or a personal story about one of our participants that is good enough, ask the blog you’re connected with to post this on their posts. Ramit Sethi also talks about this and he calls it “guest posts“. This is how he creates lots of new likes, clicks and therefor impact.
There are a couple of plugins you can use to check and measure how well your SEO of your blog is. Luckily we already have two of these tools built into the blog of Delitelabs.
Facebook, Engagement and Awareness
There is also a lot to say about Facebook. Facebook has a lot of features you can use to improve your company page. We could see that our page was the last two weeks degrading in worth. Worth as in the amount of people that have been reached and engagement in our page. From around 4000 that we reached in a week to 1750 people right now. He advised me two very general but important things to take into account.
First, we have to look at who is our main user or target user. Male, female, old, young, newcomer, etc.. We can check this in the analytics of Facebook. This can be very interesting to see. Below is an overview of these statistics and I’ve also done a couple of other posts on this, but here it is again as an overview of our target audience.
Here you can see that our target audience is almost a fifty/fifty rate between male and female. That most of our target audience is between the age of 25 and 34 and that most of the people that come to our pages are located in the Netherlands. Interestingly, but also very logical is that the second group is from Spain, because we had also a settlement in Valencia.
Another great feature of Facebook Insights (analytics) is that you can view at what time and day your audience is most active. Below two examples of our Facebook page. This is very important because this effects your engagement and reach/brand awareness. The first example is a graph that shows the general times of the week that people are active and the second is an example of a specific day compared to ‘the normal day’.
The normal Day
Engagement and Awareness
We talked also a great deal on engagement and awareness. He said that it was clear, and I could concur this from other well known entrepreneurs that I follow, that awareness doesn’t necessarily means improving engagement. But Engagement definitely improves awareness. We talked about ways I could increase the engagement of our Facebook page for example. One of the ways is to create discussions on our page. We can do this by asking questions to our audience. Another thing is that you can have small questionnaires that people can fill in on how they feel about a certain subject.
Actuality and inspiring communication
Two other points of of communicating with our Facebook page is look at actuality and react to it. As in, if there is something very interesting in the news that a lot of people follow or watch, try to combine this with your brand. Another thing is when we continue on this s when there is something that is happening in our niche (refugees & entrepreneurship) than you can also immediately share this content and you’ll be thanked for the spreading of interesting content for your followers.
This also goes for inspiring messages that you put out yourself, e.g. the story of our refugee students. That’s another tip I got. Emotions work and sell. Try to get under peoples skin. Try to be inspiringly persuasive with your messaging. This works.
Conclusion of this interview
I had a couple of things that I want to go and implement more in our own way of spreading good messages and improving our following. I want to link more with other blogs about entrepreneurship. I already have a couple of blogs in mind that I find interesting and have a lot of content to share about starting your own business (Ramit Sethi, Tim Ferriss, Tai Lopez, Simon Sinek and Emily Wapnick)
Follow ups / New Research
As a few tips Jordan gave me also a couple of new follow ups to consider. Moz.com is a website that has many articles on how to be more visible on the web. Especially their youtube channel I should be looking at in his opinion. In the episodes that are called: “Whiteboard Friday” they go over a large range of subjects that all have to do with online visibility. From SEO, to link building, from content creation to Google Analytics. So I’m going to go over a couple of these videos and see if I can get a better grasp on what we can do in terms of spreading and SEO.
A Hashtag Trick
One last tip that I got from him in regards of Twitter and Instagram which I really liked he called “cheating hashtags”. When you put something out on twitter, you should load it with relevant hashtags. But what you also could do as in cheating, and you should be careful with this, to put hashtags that are really the trend right now in the comments of your Twitter/Instagram post. Bots will give likes to it, because they only react to posts that use hashtags that are really popular at the moment. At the time you have a lot of likes you delete the comment and you have a lot more awareness without your brand image getting degraded. And this is the tricky part. If people find out, this could also cause damage to your brand. But this is definitely something to think about of doing.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more interesting information regarding crowdfunding and digital marketing tips!
Steve Vick is de founder van non profitally. This is a company that helps building a non profit from the ground on up. They take you through the whole process. One of the subjects also discussed on the site in deeply, luckily, is how to successfully run a crowdfunding campaign. There are a couple of videos on this and one of them gives a very good overview of what a crowdfunding campaign in essence always needs, unregarded on what type of project you want to start a crowdfunding campaign for.
This is him, Steve Vick. In the Youtube video: How to start a crowdfunding campaign? He lays out a couple of ground rules if you really want to launch a crowdfunding campaign. There is actually a whole lot more prep work than I initially thought. Not only man hours have to be put in to execute the things that needs to get done, but a lot more strategically think work that you need to get your head around before executing. Here are a couple of things to ponder on, that I will get into later:
Set period of CFcampaign and target amount
These are the subjects he touched upon and where very helpful to have an overview of the activities that we have to spend time and maybe money on to make it a success. So I’ll go over them step by step. First of…
Because there is so many activities to get done you really have to get a team. If you don’t find one. Defining the roles of the team is an essential part. If you define the roles and responsibilities beforehand the activities that need to get done will be so much more efficient and effective, so very important to divide the roles that need to get done. Roles that need to be divided are: Content creation, phone calls that needs to be made, managing and enlarging your network (making a crowd), the creation and maintenance of the webpage, devising a story (and creating perks and incentives). All these things have to be done and handled by the team and if you don’t have your roles and responsibilities well organised the effect will be a lot less than it can be.
Set a period for the CF-campaign and target amount
This is another essential part of running a crowdfunding campaign. The donator wants a couple of things. Before he donates any amount of money he wants to know if the campaign is for a good cause, if the amount will be reached (or if it is likely to be reached) and there has to be an urgency.
The urgency that we, as the creators of the CF-campaign, need the money ASAP. You can say we’ll run the CF-campaign for 5 months, than we’ll have plenty of time to get funded, but the research has shown that the results of this strategy is counter-intuitive. The incentive or urgency for the funding is out of the window. Most successful CF-campaigns run a period of 7 to 9 weeks.
Some people will answer to the question: “For how much would you like to get funded?”. “As much as possible”. But normally this is a bad incentive for the donator. You have to show them why you need that kind of money. You can do this with a couple of things. The most successful CF-campaigns they also have the most interesting and beautiful videos. They show you quality, beauty and most of the time the credentials that back up the quality that they already shown. Tell your audience who is going to benefit from the money that they give, most campaigns on Kickstarter have perks that they give away for a pittance price for example. So also think about how it will help the donator. Will it only make them feel good by contributing or like the projects on Kickstarter let them also buy an interesting new innovative product? So make your target amount reasonable and feasible.
PR and Marketing
There are many things that you have to and can do when it comes to PR and marketing of your CF campaign. But if we get to deep in the matter it will be gibberish for your so I thought to myself how can we make this a bit easier. To do this here are a couple of questions you should ask yourself that will keep you starting with the PR and marketing the same as we have done. Guided by this video and a couple of others. Here are the questions that you should ask yourself when you’re working on the marketing:
How much pre-made content has been made for every (social) media output that you are going to use? (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Phonecalls, mailing)
What content should you spread and how should it be structured? Check this link to learn this.
Which tools are you going to use to systemise your media output so that you can be more efficient and effective? (think about the social media named above, but also tools like Thunderclap, Mailchimp, Hootsuite, Heroes&Friends, Nouncy, etc. Check this link if you want to know what these tools can bring.)
Who are we as a company, what is our mission and how are we going to convey this message?
When are the milestones of your campaign and how are you going to let your crowd know when these have been reached?
Have you written a Pitch text that is inspiring for people to listen? (max. 500 to 800 words long)
Before you go into the platform here are also many things to consider before you choose the right one. Ponder on the following questions so that you can make a better decision on what the best platform would be for your campaign.
Does the platform allow multimedia (video, pictures, integrated social media functionalities, etc)
How much effort (amount of clicks) does a potential donator has to do before he can actually donate? This really is a huge factor in how well your campaign will go.
Can you import a mailing list in the platform?
What are the fees that are being asked? (AKA how much money keeps the owner of the platform in what situation, success or fail?)
Can you keep the money even if your campaign does not reaches its goal?
Can you place updates (e.g. about milestones) on the platform?
Is the page customisable?
Is it also a customisable url?
30% of the platforms needs an approval process. How long is this process?
I hope this was a good read for you guys! If you have any questions, remarks or suggestions just let me know!
Since a few weeks we have a new team at DELITELABS. We have a couple of new members that can help us with setting up the course and everything else to help the organisation. Therefor there have been some interesting changes in the way we work.
The biggest influence on the team is now a woman from Valencia, Violeta Garin. She has done a many projects involving social entrepreneurship and is an expert in communication. We are very lucky to have her. Since she has so much experience in the area of communication we have set up a couple of new systems to work way more efficient.
Trello and Hootsuite
We have talked about things like Trello a activity managing tool, using Hootsuite only for Twitter, setting up a blog on our website and explaining how we can use the other social media (Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn). Because she does set up systems to work from everything works so much smoother and more efficient since she’s in our team. We even made a Communication plan to see what we want to convey, how we are going to do that, which media we should use and who our target audiences are.
We had two meetings about this, yesterday and today. We divided roles and responsibilities within our three-man-strong communications team. I’ll be responsible for the output in Twitter. This doesn’t mean I have to do the 200 posts all by myself or that I don’t have to take any other activities for my part. It means that it is my responsibility that it has to be done before the deadline. So if I need help or are having trouble with it I can rely also on the others.
We set a goal for ourselves for the different social media. For Twitter it is to post 200 posts in the coming 5 weeks. This means about 4 Twitter posts a day. 80% of the posts will be with one of the hastags that are created: #adayatdelitelabs, #delitelabsisforyou and #refugeestakeaction. The last one will only been used if it is a post about the collaboration between Delitelabs and the organisations that teamed up with us, like Refugee Startforce, Hack Your Future and Refugee Company for example.
Facebook & Blog
Facebook will be linked to the blog and will mostly contain the links to blogposts. We will do three Facebook posts per week that will be mostly out of our blog. The blogposts will contain success stories of our former students, posts on why we should be more entrepreneurial, a review like a diary every day, interviews with acquaintances of Delitelabs and the speakers of the week. The blog was an idea that Violeta came up with. She used it already in one of the projects that she did in Valencia and that was pretty successful. Especially the interviews that she did for the blog where by far the most effective in terms of reach and involvement. Here is her blog.
On Instagram we are going to do two things. Post beautiful pictures that we made in, around or with the people of Delitelabs and we want to do a quote with that. At least one post per day. The advice Violeta gave us was that Instagram was about making the most beautiful pictures possible. This means we have to be very selective of the pictures we will post on this medium.
LinkedIn is probably the most serious of the Social Networks that we will use. The output on this medium is at its minimum. We will only post something here if we really have a great article on our blog or found one on the web that is really helpful or interesting to the crowd that we have on LinkedIn. At the most we shall post 2 articles a week.
There is a new wind in the company. An actual communications team is put together. Jana, me and Violeta are part of it. We all have our own roles within this team. I’ll be responsible for the output provided on Twitter. Second, we are going to use Trello. This is a management tool that will help us with internal communications. In the following post, this one, I’ll show you how a communications plan looks like.
Another part of the research I’ve been doing is what type of crowdfunding platform we are going to choose for our CF campaign. I didn’t know this before but there are actually quite a lot out there, even in a small country like the Netherlands there are whole bunch. I first started my investigation overall. So, I looked at a couple of comparison websites, like top10crowdfund.nl/. This website gave the overview of crowdfunding websites that are active in the Netherlands. The website estimates that there are 92 crowdfunding platforms operating in the Netherlands.
What should we choose?
There are very many different crowdfunding platforms to choose from. Some very specific to a certain topic or a specific way of funding (e.g. just by lending instead of donations and rewards) and some are more generic like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. I’ve looked into most of the popular ones, but most of them looked like a saturated pool to me.
The two golden questions and a bit of myself
It was nice to have an expert, which I interviewed before this research,to give me advice on this subject. Eric Heesen, the founder of Crowdfundy, told me two golden questions I should ask myself before chosing a crowdfunding platform. First “Wat was the topic our crowdfunding would be about?”. The second question was “What type of financing system did we want to have?”. In crowdfunding there are four different kinds of funding: equity, loan, rewards and donations.
What I also saw on many crowdfunding platform that there is a certain fee that you have to pay beforehand or afterwards. These fees depend on wether or not you have successfully achieved your goal and how big your goal was. This is called “placement fee” and “success or failure fee”. I’ve put these also in the description for a more detailed overview.
The answer that our team had answered to these questions was that: “We were a social enterprise and worked with refugees and inspired enterpreneurship.”. So three topics I could search for when looking into the “right” crowdfunding platform.
And the second answer was that we didn’t want any lending crowdfunding campaign, nor do we want convertible lends (loans that can be converted into shares). We want to go for the rewards and / or donations. Ideally a mix between the two.
So I set my two parameters to these conditions and out of these came four platforms that we are going to discuss at large on the first of September, which is this Thursday. A quick note, I’ve put the financial details of the platforms at the bottom so it is easier to compare.
OnePlanetCrowd is a platform that is stationed in Amsterdam. Their main topic is social sustainable impact. So, it is ideal for our organisation to take into account, because our organisation is similarily concerned about the same topic. Their main target group is social entrepreneurs, which we also are. Further than that, everything that falls into this category is allowed. OnePlanet has a few criteria that we would have to take into account.
The project has to have an positive impact on man or nature
There is a concrete, urgent and clear communicable spending target
The financial needs must be between the 1.000 and the 1.000.000 euro’s
The campaign has to be totally led by the one who started the campaign.
If you don’t get your goal, every penny is send back to the investors
Another thing to take in account is that the platform is mostly based on projects in Germany and The Netherlands.
This is also a crowdfunding platform that is stationed in Amsterdam, but other than the previous platform, the one%club is internationally oriented. It spreads the message that the projects that are being put on the platform all do ‘something good’. This can mean anything, but is in the realm of social projects. For example there are projects in Zambia that fund a new sustainable school, support refugee employees in Greece or support a sailing school just in the Netherlands.
The target amount must be between the 250,- and 1.000.000,-
Successful or not, you will always get your money with this platform
Chuffed is an Australian platform that is internationally oriented. And it was actually interesting to see that this page was one of the few, that had a tab especially for refugees. And since our core business is helping refugees, I was compelled to look into this one. The more I read the more I liked it. To quote Chuffed:
“We only crowdfunds non-profit and social enterprise projects. That’s it. That means we know what works for social causes, and our community is only interested in projects like yours.”
The website is very suitable with a lot of information on how to promote your own campaign. Luckily One%club has the same policy, but the afore mentioned onePlanetCrowd does not have that at all. What makes it a more difficult choice is that this is the only platform that is not stationed in the Netherlands.
This platform is different from the rest because it is the only platform that is completely Dutch oriented and is stationed in Utrecht. It is all about social entrepreneurship. They assume you are one, of course, and they stretch the importance of the network that you already have. They say they offer much support during the campaign. I called this company as well and they advised me to check what kind of finance system we want. If we want to go on to (convertible) loans we should look at a platform like OnePlanetCrowd. When we want to do it more based on rewards and donations it’s better to choose a platform like us, more peer-to-peer based.
Placement campaign: €200 + 1% target amount
Transaction costs: €0.50 (only paid if campaign was a success)
Based on these examples I have chosen 1%club. Especially since we get started sooner than expected. With one%club you get your money, either way. One%club is also Dutch, and is centered in Amsterdam. It has the same overarching mission as we do, “doing something good”. Since this is our first campaign as a company ever, and we still have a lot to learn about how to do a good crowdfunding campaign, one%club is a logical option to take. This needs only to be discussed with the team.
The day was a couple of months back. I had a long day of work behind me and I just got back from a course on storytelling. The course indeed was pretty interesting, given by a man called Eldridge. Me and Michaela Krömer, one of my supervisors, went there to learn more on how to present and tell a good story. I think we both walked away a bit wiser on this topic.
Two flies in one hit
Excuse me for my bad Dutch translation there. But to begin… It was already 10AM when Eldridge finished and luckily I had arranged that I could stay at a friends’ house in Amsterdam. Me and Michaela walked together towards central station where it went wrong, but I’m glad it did. I had taken the wrong fairy, which took me like an hour more to reach my friend. But in that time I’d met a very interesting person. Chris Mueller, an German entrepreneur and the owner of Creatando.com, was working with software that creates apps. One of the most interesting people I’ve met in person. A very creative person with an even more pragmatic mindset. Thinking in effective and efficient solutions that could be provided through the internet. I was flabbergasted and exchanged numbers, in the first place so he could give a lecture at Delitelabs. Later I heard that we were already completely booked till the beginning of September. I found this a pity, to wait for so long for a person who clearly had an interesting perspective on doing business. So not long after this I contacted him and requested if I could have an interview with him. He accepted and so started a very fruitful and intriguing dialogue.
What questions to ask an expert?
I had made a whole list of questions I wanted to ask him. Part on crowdfunding, but for the larger part questions about internet marketing, in the broadest sense possible. I wanted to accumulate as much as I could from the man. Therefor it could be that I could have been a bit more effective the next time if I demarcate better when I look back at the way I’ve done the interview. Nevertheless, it was a very interesting talk where I learn very much from. We started talking about his business, what he does, how he came about it and why he found the internet business so interesting in the first place, which was money. Later on it became abundantly clear that this was not the case, at least if you don’t have the right strategy.
He devised a piece of software together with a few other software engineers that can actually create an app in a few minutes or less. Really extraordinary software and I immediately saw the immense benefits of the the type of working. Software as it supposed to be. Quick, easy to use and for everybody beneficial. The creator of software, the user of the app and the buyer of the app. During this conversation he also handed me a couple of websites he uses himself to optimize and automate certain necessities as in content, posting, doing research and finding customers.
Useful Websites for internet marketing
archive.org is a website that is being used to look for the layout and content of a website a year or more ago, even before it existed. With this tool you can easily see when the owners have made changes and hereby you can estimate how the business is doing and if it is for example a potential client.
Another is buzzsumo.com. An awesome site, if you have the money for it, that can provide you with content that is about to go viral. You can search for the content by category, theme or keyword. You can imagine the interesting things you can do with services like this when you have an internet marketing company.
buffer.com is another awesome website, which is a bit similar to Hootsuite, which I describe in another post right here. Buffer.com provides you with a social media control panel. You can load your social media in here and can create, design and schedule your posts to be send to a broad audience. Hootsuite has the same functionalities only is a bit limited on the designing of your content, which is as basic as the social media you are already using.
A couple of questions on entrepreneurship
Do you see a difference between the entrepreneurs a couple of years back and now?
“Well the new entrepreneurs are working less for money. Most of the entrepreneurs that I encounter only are involved in projects that they actually like. I have the idea that ten years and more back there were actually more entrepreneurs who were doing it mostly for the money they thought they could earn when making it big. Many entrepreneurs nowadays have more heart for the projects and outcomes that they can achieve by setting up these projects. Also there is way more sharing in ideas then there was in the past. In the past people were way more secretive about there ideas. Now they really want to share and with a good reason. Most of them see the benefit of constantly grinding and remoulding their ideas, so they can evolve into better ones. “
What would your advise be to new entrepreneurs who are now starting to search of create new businesses?
The most valuable or important things to keep in mind are I think two. First of all you have to do the opposite of what everybody else is doing. That’s is how you divide yourself from the saturated crowd. Secondly, you have to have a very specific skillset and match the very specific topic or theme your are very interested in. When you mix this skill with a very specific topic or theme you’ll be able to provide very unique product and therefor you’ve created a very specific niche market for yourself. This way you have more enjoyment in the work you do and you will have way less competition.
A couple of things on crowdfunding
We also talked on the subject of crowdfunding. A few things I already had read or heard myself, but Chris was able to provide me with a nice overview on a couple of ‘rules’ or guidelines on what to do with a crowdfunding campaign.
Have a website with a landing page and a video
Contact bloggers to write about your crowdfunding campaign and your product or service
collect as many email addresses as you possibly can so you can use these when you start a crowdfunding campaign.
the first three days a successful crowdfunding campaign will accumulate 20% of its goal amount
Use as many contacts as needed, in as many media needed to achieve your goal, which is most of the time a financial goal
As a conclusion
To revise myself already a bit, the interview I did was exhilerating, fun, very interesting and I have learned so much of it. To take in account for the next interview is to demarcate as a said the topics that I want to talk about and the topics I don’t want to talk about. When I do that I can have a better outcome of the interview probably. This interview was a great interview as I look at it through the perspective of personal growth and the understanding of marketing, but was pretty poor on the specific subject, crowdfunding. Next time I’ll try to prepare myself more in the spirit of crowdfunding.
The things I want to implement that I have learned from this interview are for example:
If we have the CFvideo, post it on our landing page to attract attention.
Contact more bloggers and other journalistical professions to write about us.
Collect as many mail addresses as you can to spread the word of our campaign.