I believe that Crowdfunding is the most significant new fundraising tactic for entrepreneurs in the past decade. In fact, it might be one of the most important fundraising tactics ever.
In this essay I will let you know exactly what Crowdfunding is and how to get it.
What is Crowdfunding?
According to Wikipedia, “Crowd funding (sometimes called crowd financing or crowd sourced capital) describes the collective cooperation, attention and trust by people who network and pool their money together, usually via the Internet, in order to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.”
In layman’s terms, Crowdfunding is getting a group of regular individuals (versus banks, venture capitalists or angel investors) to collectively fund your venture.
What are the 3 Core Types of Crowdfunding?
I have identified three core types of Crowdfunding.
The first is debt-based Crowdfunding also known as peer-to-peer lending. This is offered by sites like LendingClub.com and Prosper.com. On these sites, entrepreneurs (and individuals) can solicit loans from other individuals. Because they are loans, they must be paid back. Generally these loans are capped at $50,000 per year.
The second type is equity-based Crowdfunding. This is offered by sites like ProFounder.com and GrowVC.com. With these sites, individuals who give you money become investors and own equity in your company.
The final type of Crowdfunding is donation-based Crowdfunding. This type of Crowdfunding is the most popular and is offered by sites including Kickstarter.com, RocketHub.com, IndieGoGo.com and several others.
Donation-based Crowdfunding is my favorite since you neither give up equity nor have to repay the debt you receive. And it’s MUCH easier to raise since there are tons more potential funders than funders of debt-based or equity-based Crowdfunding.
However, there is an important caveat with donation-based Crowdfunding. Which is this: generally people don’t donate money to your cause simply out of altruism. Rather, the companies who have successfully raised donation-based Crowdfunding offer rewards in return for donations.
Specifically, these rewards typically include the product or service the company intends to produce and/or offer. For example, San Francisco’s Peter Dering wanted to raise money for a new product he conceived called the Capture Camera Clip System (an accessory for photographers that secures their cameras to their other gear).
So, as a reward to those who donated $50 or more, he promised to ship them the Capture Camera Clip System product when it was developed.
So, as you can see, this type of Crowdfunding is essentially pre-selling your products or services to your customers. Which is really the same as customer financing, which has been around for a while. But, with the internet, it’s so much easier to reach tons of prospective customers.
What I also love about donation or rewards-based Crowdfunding is that it is amazing market research. I mean, if customers are willing to buy your product or service before it’s even available, you clearly have a winner on your hands.
Oh, by the way, just last month Peter Dering raised $364,698 in Crowdfunding for the Capture Camera Clip System. Yup, it works!
And in case you were wondering whether donation or rewards-based Crowdfunding can work for you, below is a sample of companies who have recently raised funding with it:
- An online magazine who raised $3,895
- A mustard manufacturer who raised $4,293
- A cupcake retailer who raised $7,240
- A butcher shop who raised $16,405
- A portable hot water heater which who raised $60,642
- A speaker company who raised $88,321
- A bike lock which raised $108,065
- A video company who raised $120,514
- A cell phone accessory which raised $131,220
- A battery charger which raised $145,034
- A digital camera which raised $169,209
- A tablet stand which raised $190,352
- A social networking company who raised $200,642
- A coffee temperature device which raised $306,944
What are the Steps to Attaining Donation-Based Crowdfunding?
Below are the 14 steps I’ve identified that are critical to successfully raising donation or rewards-based Crowdfunding.
1. Choose your Crowdfunding platform
2. Create an account
3. Create your funding project
4. Categorize your project
5. Create your project tagline
6. Create your project teaser text
7. Create your full text project summary
8. Determine the right fundraising amount
9. Determine the right donation time
10. Develop your list of rewards
11. Create your project visuals
12. Create your project video
13. Promote your project to your network
14. Maintain and update your project
Follow these steps and you can get hundreds or thousands of individuals to donate money to your venture. And then you’ll be off to the races.
I recently developed a simple-to-follow program called Crowdfunding Formula.
The program is a series of videos I recorded that walk you through each of the 14 steps to raising donation or rewards-based Crowdfunding. To access Crowdfunding for your business, check out Crowdfunding Formula now.