A Few Tips to Start Your Crowdfunding Campaign

By Julian Steinforth, Expedition PR


Crowd Funding Button.

Crowd Funding

To find out more about crowdfunding best practices, I recently attended the webinar “Learnings from Crowdfunding” with and the author Johanna Lehmann, author of “How to Love San Francisco” who is currently running her own campaign on Indiegogo. The webinar was hosted by EFactor Webinar.

Here is a quick recap of what companies should do to run a successful crowdfunding campaign.

A successful crowdfunding campaign needs planning in advance. There are three different stages that you have to consider, I) activities before the campaign II) activities during the campaign and III) activities after the campaign.


 I. Before the campaign

To ensure coverage of your crowdfunding campaign, start engaging with bloggers, reporters and journalists before you launch the campaign. Similarly, you need to build your social media channels prior to the campaign in order to have the reach to create some buzz at the launch. Facebook and Twitter are both highly effective channels for promoting a crowdfunding campaign. Invest some time – and maybe even some money – in your video. The funding community will most likely decide if they want to support you while watching the video. If they don’t like your video, they probably won’t even read the campaign’s summary. Also use crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo and if your campaign is film related we suggest Seed&Spark. People trust those platforms.

 II. During the campaign

Don’t aim too high for your financial campaign goal. You can run a series of crowdfunding campaigns; which means that you launch your first crowdfunding campaign to collect, for example, money for your prototype. In a second campaign you collect money for marketing activities. Remember that 30% of the donations will most likely be from friends and family. So make sure they know about your project first and contribute early on. This initial interest will encourage others to follow suit.

Your campaign summary should be as visual as possible; try to be emotional and give your campaign a personal touch. Do not use “Please guys, I need your help” sentences. Instead tell them why they should support you and what value you are bringing to them.

Try to offer exclusive or limited perks in your campaign. Don’t offer more than nine different perks. Also, think about cross marketing – is there another crowdfunding project with which you can exchange perks? Are there companies or friends you can partner with to offer exclusive perks?

To support the first days of your campaign organize a launch party for friends and family a day before you officially launch your crowdfunding campaign. Invite them for brunch, dinner or a glass of champaign and make sure they will support you during the first days after your launch. Put some thoughts in finding the right day for the launch of your campaign – usually Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days for crowdfunding launches. Schedule your campaign during a week in which YOU are not too busy, as running a crowdfunding campaign takes time. You will be busy promoting the campaign via social media, e- mail and phone calls.

After your campaign started, update your campaign about three times a week. Add new photos, introduce new perks or update the video and summery text.

III. After the campaign

If you were successful – good for you! But the work is not over yet. Make sure to thank everybody, send out the perks, and let them know what you are using the money for.  Stay in touch with your supporters. Think about what worked well, and what can work better next time. For example, what channel was the most successful to attract supporters?  What perks were the most popular? Chances are, you’ll be running another crowdfunding campaign, and you can perfect the art of running a crowdfunding campaign with every time.


Crunch Time for Holiday Giving: Three Charities to Consider

by Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR


by: Network for Good (http://bit.ly/Jumuoq) and philanthropy.com (http://bit.ly/1ijflpW)

by: Network for Good (http://bit.ly/Jumuoq) and philanthropy.com (http://bit.ly/1ijflpW)

The end of December is crunch time for nonprofit organizations. The Chronicle of Philanthropy together with Network for Good, a platform that helps nonprofits raise funds for their cause online, is tracking online-fundraising totals for more than 14,300 charities by the day. The daily fundraising data is compared to 2011 and 2012.


Not surprisingly, donations steeply increased in the last days of September in 2011 and 2013, with 2013 outranking 2012. The Chronicle’s tracker recorded about US$ 8 million of daily donations on December 31, 2012, a sweet US$2 million increase compared to December 23, 2011 (shortly below US$6 million).

So, if you are among the ones that are planning to give in the next couple of days, here are three of our favorite nonprofits to consider.


DonorsChoose:  This is an excellent way to help public schools. Teachers post projects that need support on the site. You can become one of the multiple project donors, or fund an entire project. The site lets you search projects by priority, region and type, among other criteria. So, you can donate to schools that are in your community, or school projects that need help for the type of projects that you support. The process is transparent. You get proof that your donation is going directly towards the project and helping children get a better education. Take a look at funding projects at http://www.donorschoose.org.


S.O.S. Children’s Villages International:  Donations go towards child care, education, and health care to children and their families in 133 countries and territories. S.O.S. children’s villages offer a home and family environment to children in need.  You can directly sponsor a child’s education or support an entire children’s village. For more information, go to: http://www.sos-childrensvillages.org/.


The Lelt Foundation:  Started by parents that have adopted children in Ethiopia, this charity gives nutritional and educational support to impoverished children in Ethiopia, and enables their parents to start their own sustainable small businesses. The organization has a matching gift campaign running until December 31. For every dollar you donate, a group of Lelt supporters will match it, up to $15K.. See http://leltfoundation.org/holiday-donations/ for more details.


JOBS to Open Up Equity Crowdfunding, Tread With Caution

By Andrés Uribe, Expedition PR

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, commonly known as the JOBS act, is inherently a great thing for small businesses. Part of this piece of legislation will serve to amend archaic rulings regarding the advertising of equity issuances to the public. This is aimed at allowing ordinary unaccredited investors the opportunity to have startups advertise their equity offerings to them, and it will also serve to make it easier for accredited investors to invest in early stage companies. These rules will eventually change the options available to small companies when they seek crowdfunding dollars.

crowdfundingWhile these initiatives sound true to their name in seeking to help ‘Jumpstart’ startups seeking early stage investors, the legal ramifications of such amendments are tricky to say the least. The laws that the JOBS act is attempting to amend were put in place in the 1930’s to help protect grandma and grandpa, or any unaccredited investors making less than $200,000 annually or who have less than $1 million in assets, from being swindled out of their retirements by a questionable small business seeking investments. It is for this reason that lawmakers are moving with caution as they attempt to fine tune the amendments that the JOBS act is calling for while still protecting all potential investors.

Without reading all of the crowdfunding exemption of the JOBS Act, here are a couple of points you will want to be vigilant of before you decide to invest in an equity-based crowdfunding campaign.

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The Future of Crowdfunding is Mobile!

By Andrés Uribe, Expedition PR

It’s undeniable that the rate at which Americans are adapting to mobile technologies is impressive to say the least. Currently, according to Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2013, 56% of American adults are now smartphone owners. This number increases dramatically when you look at American adults between the ages of 24 – 35 earning $100,000 or more a year; over 87% in this category own a smartphones. Coincidently, when you look at who is contributing to crowdfunding campaigns, according to the American Dream Composite Index, it’s 24-35 year olds earning $100,000 or more.

See the full article on Crowdsourcing.org


The Art of Rallying the Crowd: How Creating an Online Community Helps Crowdfunding Campaigns Succeed

By Emily Kuo, Expedition PR

Crowdfunding has become an increasingly popular method to raise money, for businesses and individuals alike. According to a study by Massolution, in 2012 alone, crowdfunding raised about US $2.7 billion and funded more than a million projects across the world. This is nearly double the estimated US $1.48 billion that was raised in 2011. Crowdfunding campaigns are becoming more diverse as well, as we see more and more platforms developing across all four of Massolution’s categories of crowdfunding platforms (CFP): equity-based, lending-based, reward-based and donation-based. They’re not just used to fund non-profits and individual products, but also to start small businesses and improve existing ones.

At the same time, the use of social media has also been on the rise. According to a webinar hosted by Aaron Strout, there are more than a billion users on Facebook, 60% of whom log in daily and more than 80% of whom reside outside of the US. Twitter was the fastest growing social network in 2012 with more than 200 million users. 20% of adult internet users in the US are on Twitter. Linkedin has 2 new users sign up per second, and more than 200 million users in 200 different countries. As we move our social lives online, our other habits change as well. Social media isn’t just for keeping updated with friends anymore; we track our favorite TV shows, stores, restaurants, news and more.

Many crowdfunding campaigns have used social media to create a network of supporters of the project. Building this community of donors helps draw in the crowd and rally even more support. Not all campaigns succeed in raising enough money to get funded. Indiegogo saw that in 2012, 64% of campaigns had pitch videos, and of those, the ones with videos that were under 5 minutes were 25% more likely to succeed.  People stop watching pitch videos at 2:20 minutes, according to Emily Best, CEO and Founder of Seed & Spark and one of Indiewire’s 2013 Influencers for Independent Film. This means that any information past that is lost and exemplifies the importance of conciseness. Keep in mind that not all campaigns are able to raise the funds needed, but a consistent social media presence can make or break a successful campaign.

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Emily Best of Seed&Spark Named indiewire Influencer

Support Seed&Spark’s Crowdfunding Campaign to Get Access to More Independent Films

By the Expedition PR Team

Congrats to Emily Best, founder and CEO of Seed&Spark, for being named to the 2013 Indiewire Influencer list.   She is out to change the independent filmmaking and distribution for the better.

Indiewire’s list is dedicated to 40 of the people and companies who are driving the new face of independent film, and Best is considered an “Early Adopter.”

As the world’s first crowd-funding and digital distribution platform created for indie films, Seed&Spark has raised $300,000 in feature financing for 17 films since its launch in December 2012.

But like many indie film endeavors, the company is running things on a shoestring budget.

So, Seed&Spark is looking to grow and is using crowdfunding on its own site to secure some of the money it needs to expand.

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Shared Economy: from ZipCars to “ZipDog”?

By Dennis Anderson, Katja Schroeder

Sharing is not new.  Entrepreneurs always thought of ways to save or make money with things they owned but not used all the time, such as renting out unused office space or large machinery. Some businesses are built on the premise of temporary sharing, such as the fence rentals for construction projects and events. Pop-up stores and hotels, temporary stores and lodging at unused spaces, have perfected the concept of sharing.

The concept of sharing is the basis for new products, services and markets

The concept of sharing is the basis for new products, services and markets

It makes perfect sense in any economic market situation.  And we have so much to share, even at home: There are spare bedrooms, bicycles that are only used once in a month, a tuxedo that you wear once a year, a tent for the camping trip over Memorial Day, and a collection of gadgets that work perfectly well but are unused as you moved on to the latest and greatest.

In our consumption-based society, we accumulate more than we need.  There are ways to “recycle” things like cloths, gadgets, and furniture, at Sunday garage sales, on Craigslist and via eBay.  Our consumption habits have also sparked new entrepreneurial ideas, making sharing more economically and green.

One of the first companies to take this concept to the masses was ZipCar, offering an alternative to traditional car rental in large cities with membership-based car sharing. ZipCar has become the world’s largest car sharing and car club service. Other companies followed suit, with different approaches.  Instead of having its own car fleet, RelayRides, Zimride, Spride, and Getaround built an online platform that allows users to share the cars they own with others. In Europe, Carpooling.com services more than 1 million people each month. The company says that since their launch they have saved “1,000,000 tons of carbon emissions, 500,000,000 liters of gas, over 1.5 billion Euros, and more than 16 marriages.”  Lowering carbon emissions is very attractive to large enterprises that are looking for ways to meet their sustainability pools.  Increasingly large companies are offering car pooling services to employees and encourage ride sharing. For example, Colgate University offers an online tool called Purpool to organize car pools. The second example is airbnb.com, which allows you rent a place in “34,183 cities and 192 countries.” Continue reading