The key to any successful crowdfunding campaign is momentum. It is like riding a racehorse freshly sprung from the gates… you have to keep guiding and ushering your campaign on, or it will eventual slow to a halt before the finish line. Fortunately, if you’ve followed the steps outlined in this course, maintaining your campaign should be relatively easy.
When it comes to maintaining your campaign, knowing how to pace the publication of pre-made content along with real-time engagement is important. While some parts of this process will be dynamic and require improvisation (e.g. interacting with people on social media or posting your milestones), many of them can (and should) be planned out on a set time-line. Your campaign strategy should include the following elements:
Social Media Updates
Ideally, these should happen at least once per day on your chosen social media platforms. Be sure to respond to every comment you receive, and make the time to engage in conversations with donors and supporters. Having a tech-savy volunteer manage your social media activity can be super helpful. Whatever you do, don’t neglect social media. Likes, “reblogs”, shares, etc. are the heart of crowdfunding success.
This is one of the areas of your campaign strategy where content may need to be created as you go along. You should post updates on how your campaign is progressing on your blog, website, and/or your campaign platform page. Remember to keep these updates positive (even if when things are going slow). Do your best to find something newsworthy about your campaign and share it as an update.
Perk Award Announcements
If you offer perk awards for your donors you may want to “roll-out” new ones as the campaign progresses. This has been a successful strategy for many crowdfunding campaigns. Adding a new perk award a few weeks in to the campaign can motivate people to donate. It also gives you one more piece of content to publish on your blog and social media platforms.
Even if you don’t roll-out new perk awards, you can still use them as part of your content strategy. Simply reminding people that certain gifts are available to donors can be enough to inspire people to take action and donate to your campaign.
As a part of driving engagement (and therefore momentum), you should include video updates in the form of thank yous, milestone announcements, celebratory videos (such as contest outcomes), and so on. Video is an essential medium for developing the interactive aspect of your campaign, as it includes personable elements such as tone of voice, eye contact, and body language. Consider going the extra mile and responding to questions and comments in video form. This will help those who are interested in your campaign to feel recognized and give them an opportunity to know you personally.
Thank You Notes and Emails
Remember, every donor should receive a thank you email! If you’ve followed the advice given in previous lessons, you will have a template email on hand to make this task relatively straightforward. If possible, you should also send handwritten thank you notes, particularly to those who are getting a “perk” reward. Adding a personal touch truly shows your appreciation.
A Weekly Newsletter
Every week, you should send out a newsletter updating your email list on the status of the campaign (plus any relevant news and items of interest). This reminds people that the campaign is still ongoing and gives you a chance to insert another “call to action” asking your supporters to donate and spread the word about your campaign.
Be sure to keep this list up to date. You will likely be getting new supporters throughout the campaing. These new people should be added to your email list.
Various Contest Initiatives
As covered in previous lessons, contests are one of the best ways to create user engagement. If you notice the momentum of your campaign flagging, create an appealing graphic promoting your campaign and post it along with a request that people share it. Offer a prize to the person who happens to be the 30th individual to share it. Or you may simply select someone randomly from the list of those who join in.
Another contest idea is to ask people to post their own video testimonials to your Facebook page. And then randomly select one for a specific prize. Be creative. (Remember the Ice Bucket Challange?). Contest can be fun for everyone.
Scripted Phone Messages
If you have a phone list of supporters, try to call each one. You will usually get his or her answering machine, so make sure to have a script which contains relevant information about your campaign. Begin with a “thank you” for his or her existing support, then describe the highlights of your campaign and end with a call to action that encourages people to donate. (Note: this may be something you have already done in the launch stage. If not, now is a good time to take this task on).
Scheduled Press Releases
You should have already created multiple press releases (about three) to mark important milestones in your campaign’s progress, e.g. 1/3rd of your goal amount funded. Don’t assume your press releases are not effective if you aren’t getting any response from the press. In general, you won’t get much interest until you are about 2/3rds of the way funded. The press wants to report on successes rather than gambling on campaigns which may not reach their goal.
Consistency Pays Off
In general, the key to maintaining campaign momentum is to consistently attempt to engage support without succumbing to the “hard sell”. Provide interesting content, feedback, and valuable incentives to keep people returning to your campaign page. Keep in mind that momentum is not only about finding new donors. It also includes gaining more social media followers, adding people to your mailing list, securing recurring donations, building awareness in your community and strengthening the messaging of your mission.
Timing Your Content
You should post your best content first (phase one) and save another surge of quality content for the grand finale of your campaign (phase three). Remember the bulk of donations come in at the beginning and at the end of most crowdfunding campaigns. Create “mini-campaigns” or stories (like a three posts series of testomonials), and use these in the middle of you campaign (phase two).
Celebrate and Motivate
As a final note, remember to take time to encourage yourself and your team. Running a campaign may feel long and stressful – especially when donations lag – but with consistent effort and positivity, you will reach your funding goals. Celebrate every milestone with your donors, volunteers and staff. Your enthusiasm will motivate your audience and help you feel upbeat and ready to tackle the full duration of your campaign.
* Statistic Source: Fundly