Choose the correct platform
Choosing your platform is very important. High profile platforms are appealing but you may get lost in “the mix”. Hosting your campaign on a dedicated platform ensures you get the appropriate exposure and support.
- For example within the world of film making the independent films can not get as much exposure on a large site like Kickstarter (Edward Panos, who co-founded IndieFilmFunding.com, said that those existing crowdfunding platforms have too broad of a focus”. He cofounded the IndieFilmFunding.com, dedicated to raising funds for Independent Films. Emily Best, the company’s founder and CEO, said they selectively choose which projects they work with. “We can put time and energy into every campaign, and we know we’re working with campaigners who are really ready to reach out to their community.” http://www.backstage.com/news/crowdfunding-gets-more-crowded/)
We at FutSci are dedicated scientists who understand the environment in which you work and also what it means to work within the public sphere such as the NHS; we are aware of what the “public” want to know, what affects them and what they may care about.
This is 'soft' money, so less kudos
Money to fund a project is still money
- will only accept applications affiliated to recognised Universities/Institutes
- peer reviews your application,
- will help you as much as possible with regards budget costing, campaign planning, launching and running.
So you’ve got your project; you know the science behind your research - NOW you need to plan your campaign.
You would never dream of embarking on a marathon without some preparation, this is how you need to think about your campaign
There is such a thing as launching too early: “The problem with 90 per- cent of crowdfunders is they all launch too early,” said Danny Kastner, CEO of Crowdjammer, which consults on crowdfunding projects. He goes on to say, “Your friends, they’re your initial fan base; then it spreads out. If you pre-build some following, then you go out to the following and say, ‘This is what I plan on offering.’
You need to get people to care about you and your research. What will happen to you and the future of the research project if you don’t manage to get the project funded? Don’t forget “backers” are you and I, if you are not convinced by what you say and put on your site no one else will be either.
You have probably never done something like this and it may feel strange to be so personal but this is what will attract backers-:
- Can they trust you to do what you say you will?
- Why should they care? You need to help them understand why.
- How are you going to get people to visit your project page and give?
Most crowdfunding campaigns have 3 phases to it: the launch, the majority of time within the campaign and the end. We think that the pre-launch phase of your campaign is as important as the launch itself and may well determine the success of your campaign
The pre-launch of your campaign can be seen in two phases:
- Science content-
- Is your science robust?
- Is there too much text?
- What is the translational aspect of your project, even if it is years and years away?
- Personal content –
- Do you have enough photos so they know who you are and where you work for instance?
- Do you have a friendly video?
- Images from your actual science or your laboratory environment can help people to connect with you
- Is your campaign personal or distant and remote? Although we don’t suggest cute kittens you know that videos of cute kittens are abundant on the Internet; we are still not sure why! (http://mashable.com/2010/10/21/why-does-the-web-love-cats/)
- Think outside the box, of innovative ways of intriguing and drawing people to see what you and your project are all about
It is not just a matter of posting your project and people will come…(It is not Field of Dreams where “you build it and they will come…” you need to plan how you can encourage people to come, stay on your project page and back you.
This link can help plan your social media set up at this pre-launch phase and connecting to social media – one of the ways in reaching your audience http://www.ianmack.com/5-ways-to-build-an-audience-before-launching-your-crowdfunding-campaign/
NEVER forget that face-to-face publicising and getting friends, family and colleagues to spread the word is as important as your social media avenues; now is not the time for shyness- if you believe in your project approach any and every one and tell them you are about to launch and that even £1 will be of value. Even if they don’t give in the end they may well give you helpful feedback on what it is that you are proposing.
Take any opportunity to publicise what you are doing, why it’s worthwhile and why people should care about your research. Are there departmental seminars at which you can talk? Can you write in the blogs in the University/Institutional pages of the intraweb? Can you do podcasts?
Evidence has shown that the more work you put in to drive people to your site the more backers will give http://fourhourworkweek.com/2012/12/18/hacking-kickstarter-how-to-raise-100000-in-10-days-includes-successful-templates-e-mails-etc/
You must never launch your campaign and then forget about it, or worse still go on holiday!!
It may seem like a lot of effort, (almost as bad or even worse than an actual grant writing process for a charity or research council) BUT don’t forget once you set this up it continues to work for you and will be so much easier for other campaigns that you run in the future. The number of avenues that will start to use crowdfunding to raise capital has been estimated to rise exponentially over the next few years. It may well be the most efficient way in which to raise funds http://www.nesta.org.uk/publications/crowding
The pre-launch phase ensured that you got as many people as you know to think about your project before it went live, now is the time to let them know that your project is LIVE!
Connect to the provided FutSci Facebook and LinkedIn pages and Twitter feeds
Use your personal/professional Fb and LinkedIn pages to connect and direct people to your site
Pick up the phone and call everyone you know; get you family to call their friends and so on and so forth
Get on Twitter and start a dialogue
Remember the power of the IceBucket challenge and nomakeupselfie?
Keep updating your blogs in the University/Department and campus
Ask the University for help in contacting the local press, local radio