Crowdfunding is gradually gaining traction on the African Continent much like it has over the past decade in the USA and Europe. Quite a number of campaigns have reached their targets allowing creative projects, new businesses, community and social works to move forward. Looking at the success of campaigns, the picture looks blurry, because only about 30% of campaigns are successful. So how do we ensure success in Africa when it comes to Crowdfunding?
There are thousands of articles online giving ‘top ten’ tips to running a successful crowdfunding campaign. Tips such as ensuring your video is excellent, asking for exactly what you need and being transparent about your financial needs are very valid points that are necessary for a successful campaign.
But I believe that the most important tip for a successful campaign is building a committed network of backers before launching your campaign.
Whilst the internet is amazing and there is an opportunity to be a lucky exception, it is unlikely that your campaign will be successful without a committed network of backers. As I have said there are exceptions to this whereby someone with an excellent video has gone viral and seen success.
You cannot afford to rely on luck and therefore you need to ensure your success through excellent planning and an existing crowd.
NOTE: This is not an easy exercise and if you are not willing to put in the hours of work, cold calling and networking then it is best you find someone who is willing and able to do this for you or stick to your day job as a source for raising capital.
You are most likely asking yourself, “Okay so that is all fine and well but how do I actually do this?” “How do I build a crowd of people?”
Before I explain this I want to give the logic around this.
Human beings generally prefer to avoid any risky behavior. We have built systems into our brains to keep us safe and any campaigner need to keep this in mind when engaging with people. Although people do like to back or support the underdogs they need to know that there is little risk attached to their decisions to back them. Therefore, with a pre-built committed crowd you will be able to raise a significant portion of your raise in the first few days.
Researches from campaigns show that if any campaigner raises at least 30% in the first few days of a campaign, his/her chances of running an overall successful campaign will significantly increase. This means that when people outside of your crowd see a campaign that has an encouraging traction, they are more likely to back because they see a high level of safety because others have already backed it.
Also, an encouraging or trending traction on a raise will attract the attention of media and this further add to the credibility of the raise. This solidifies that engagement with the media before your raise will make all works in your favour!