All startups need money, unless the owners are loaded. Where does that money come from? From fundraising efforts, both offline and online. Online fundraising is a lot more effective because of its sheer reach. Here are several tips for startups on how to obtain crowd funding for their projects.
Register your online fundraising efforts with the appropriate officials in the office of your state attorney or secretary of state. If you’re going to try crowd funding in other states too, check the legalities first. You don’t want to begin your startup activities by attempting illegal crowd funding. You can learn more here - Go Get Funding - a leading online fundraising website.
2. Create A Donation-Worthy Website
Create an attractive, professional, navigable website. Let your logo, colors and byline stand out. Integrate a payment gateway to accept donations. Create a bold Donate Now button and put it above the fold on all pages. Upload team pictures, videos and the story of your entrepreneurship.
3. Register on AngelList
AngelList can help you connect with your industry’s movers and shakers. Get a member to refer you, build relationships with influencers and invite people to volunteer for your crowd funding effort.
4. Publish An Intro Video
Use tools such as PowTown to create a professional, fun and clever video showcasing your product to impress users and investors. Address consumer pain points, explaining how your offering will change lives.
Roll out email newsletters, post articles, and create attractive marketing collateral. Create dedicated channels on YouTube and Vimeo and also FaceBook Page and FaceBook Group. Include a Donate Now button on your site, blog, social media pages and in newsletters.
6. Provide Multiple Ways To Donate
Allow people to donate and communicate by mail, social media, and smartphones and so on. Also, allow people to donate via their PayPal accounts, checks, credit cards, debit cards and even cash if possible. Be sure to share your company’s physical address so that people can send checks.
7. Showcase Donors
Upload donor testimonials, photos and even video interviews of donors at regular intervals. Thank donors publicly for their support, unless they wish to remain anonymous. Describe exactly what each donation means to the success of your startup in clear terms, so that donors are motivated to recommend your startups to others.
8. Segment Audience
Segment your audience based on various demographics – gender, age, interests, income, previous donation history, geography and so on. This will help you to develop targeted email campaigns to address each segment effectively. Be sure to track results to know how to appeal to each segment for donations.
9. Use Donation Crowd Funding Platforms
You can use several crowd funding platforms, such as Rally, IndieGogo and Kickstarter to showcase your product and get the public to donate. Promise prizes or heavily discounted products as reward for donations and deliver on your promise.
10. Demonstrate Integrity And Confidentiality
Maintain honesty when you pitch your need for funds to a potential investor. You may not have all the right answers but don’t cook up something on the spot. Investors can always spot a fake. Also don’t reveal the details of one investor to the other, unless you have permission. Demonstrate that you can be trusted. Create an attractive presentation showcasing the credentials, connections, background and family values of yourself and your partners.
11. Articulate Your Vision
Let investors know that you’ve thought about the future, that you know exactly where you want to be in, say, 10 years’ time. Entrepreneurs who think small don’t succeed in snagging the biggies. Demonstrate your target market’s potential, key trends, and the factors that drive your market. The more knowledgeable you are about your market, the more you will impress your potential investors.
12. Show Consideration
Whether it’s a donor or investor, you need to demonstrate the right attitude of respect towards them. Don’t spam them with repeat requests, or needless hints or unnecessary news. There’s no need to tweet them every day, or send out emails. Balance your fundraising portfolio well and spend equal time on all your efforts, so as not to overwhelm donors in any particular area.
13. Encourage Volunteers
Getting people to volunteer is one of the best methods of donor cultivation. Indeed, a study from the Association of Fundraising Professionals found that people who are asked to give of their time before being asked to donate will ultimately give more money to that organization.