We’ve launched “1923” – our first attempt ever at crowdfunding, on the spur of a moment. It was one of those 5am ideas, fueled by what most would call “too bold of an ambition”. I call it “thinking outside the box”.
This project is only a dip of toes into the sea of crowdfunding and already a week in we’ve learned a few things:
Kickstarter, as a platform, is suboptimal
The threshold for pledging is simply too high. First of all, a backer must create an account to pledge. I mean who has got the time to make accounts all over the World Wide Web? When you’re enthusiastic about something, the most natural way to express it is spontaneously. That’s why “Likes” were invented. Nothing kills enthusiasm like a registration form does.
“Credit Card Required” puts pledgers off
Whilst many liked our campaign and have behind the scenes expressed their intention to back it up, they were stopped in their tracks as soon as they reached Kickstarter. Why? Because of the reluctance that arises at the sight of the “Credit Card Required” condition. In this day and age surely there must be less weighty methods to peg down a backer. Leverage enthusiasm first, ask for a Credit Card later!
Only one pledge per user allowed
We’ve only activated seven backers so far. One of them was a friend who generously offered to pledge for two rewards. Great, right?! Well, guess what?! That’s unfortunately not an option on Kickstarter. The number of times someone can pledge is limited to one. Wouldn’t a campaign reach its target much quicker if backers were allowed to pledge more than once? Doesn’t limitting the number of pledges defeat the purpose of crowdfunding?
Social Entrepreneurship: it’s not about the cause, it’s about banking on political pain points
350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. 1923’s mission is to help alleviate it for 1923 people a year. That’s a cause. Yet, since the topic is not nearly as “hot” as for example the issue of displaced refugees, it is not attracting nearly as much backing.
When a political issue is weaved in, backing goes through the roof. Take the Syr campaign for example: A Dutch man will join forceswith a Syrian refugee to start a restaurant. The fact that he’s helping one family of refugees, has banked him 100% of the €165.000 target from 550 pledgers ahead of the campaign’s end date. Conclusion: it pays to couple an ambition with a political context.
What are some of the lessons learned and tips to make a crowdfunding campaign successful?