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Crowdfunding Basics: Top 5 Things you should know before you even think of launching your crowdfunding campaign

by Patty Lennon on October 24, 2012.

Less than two weeks ago I kicked off my first crowdfunding campaign.  It has been a wild ride!  Crowdfunding has become a popular financing option among entreprneneurs and artists alike.

Despite its popularity the crowdfunding space is still a bit like the wild, wild west.  Traditional rules don't always apply.  The campaign is not over but statistically speaking we are doing well.  It is day 12 and we were at 80% funded. 

I've been getting plenty of questions about how to do this crowdfunding thing the right way.  I'm not sure there is a "right way." There is no "right way" but I thought I'd share what I've learned so far on the journey:

1. Do Your Research:

There is a tremendous amount of information available on the internet from people who have successfully launched campaigns, as well as, those that haven't.  No need to recreate the wheel.  Read what they have to say.  I don't think I found a single article or blog that didn't improve my campaign in some way.

2. Choose Your Crowdfunding Platform WiselyHands with dollars

There are many options in crowdfunding platforms from Indiegogo to Kickstarter  and beyond.  Spend some time at each one.  Get a clear understanding of the platform's focus, any limitations and decide on the platform that works for you.   Early on we had planned to use Kickstarter without doing any research, simply because it was the name we heard the most.  I almost said the name of "kickstarter" in my video!  When I started to actually do my research I came to find that Kickstarter didn't have any space for campaigns that funded events like ours.  Turns out Indiegogo was the perfect platform for us.  Do your research!

3. Build a Solid Team

I interviewed as many crowdfunders as I could get my hands on.  Inevitably they fell into two camps:  Exhausted and Elated.  The people in camp Elated had a strong team helping them every step of the way.  Team Exhausted tried to do it alone.  Please don't try to do this alone.  Whether you pay your team or not, enlist people who care about what you are doing and will be there for you every step of the way.

4. Make an emotionally compelling video

Campaigns with videos raise 114% more than those without.   Although it is tempting to tell people all about your project its unnecessary.  Videos of successful campaigns don't focus on what the project is about, they focus on why the project matters.   When crafting your video appeal to the why not the what.

5. Have a project plan

Crowdfund TeamIf you are the type of person that likes to fly by the seat of your pants the world of crowdfunding is probably attracting you like a moth to the flame.  For the love of all that is good in the world do not follow your instinct to just "jump right in." 

Take the time to write out what needs to get done every step of the way.  Know when tasks need to be completed and who will be completing each task. 

Project management is a discipline.  Unless you are an uber control freak it is probably not on your top 10 list of things you like to do but do it anyway.  There are technology platforms to help you create a plan.  We used Basecamp to build our project and have been thrilled with how smoothly everything has run.

My team has also appreciated it.  I am by nature a "fly by the seat of my pants" kind of gal so I know how fun that can be but I've also run multi-million projects in corporate America and I can tell you a project plan is the way to go.  For the sake of your team.  For the sake of your sanity.

If you are interested in checking out a few campaigns that I have found personally fascinating in their scope and success you can see them here and here and here.

As the campaign winds down I'll be back to share more tips, tricks and insights I picked up along the way!

Patty Lennon is the CEO of Mom Gets A Life and the founder of the Mom Gets A Business Conference.  If you’d like more information on the conference or the crowdfunding campaign to fund her conference visit:

About the author:

Patty Lennon

Patty Lennon LLC- CEO, Founder

Before launching two successful businesses, Patty Lennon, M.S. enjoyed a 15-year career at one of the world’s largest banks, Citigroup. Promoted to VP at a young age she learned early on that an entrepreneurial attitude creates success in every environment. During her corporate years sh...

Older Comments

Patty Lennon said:
posted on on November 18, 2012

That is such great info Sharon! I've been getting tons of questions on the how, what and when of crowd funding - I'll be sure to share this with many!

The science kits have tremendous potential through crowd funding!

Sharon Thompson said:
posted on on November 17, 2012

Congratulations Patty Great job!! Exceeding your goal!!!
I would like to pre-sell science kits for kids through a kickstarter campaign!!
so I am going to the event.
If other women are considering doing a crowdfunding campaign.
There's a meetup with Kickstarter about
How to run a successful campaign on
Tues. Nov. 27 at 7pm at
University Settlement (in Speyer Hall)
184 Eldridge St. at Rivington St., New York, NY

Patty Lennon said:
posted on on November 12, 2012

Caroline - Thank you for being such an awesome commentor! Sorry I missed your comment earlier!

Patty Lennon said:
posted on on November 11, 2012

Lisa - Take the leap! Take the Leap!

Lisa Gundersen ~ Umansky said:
posted on on November 10, 2012

Congratulations and Thank you Patty for sharing!
This might make me take a leap of faith....

Caroline Ceniza-Levine said:
posted on on October 25, 2012

Patty, thanks for sharing these lessons so we don't have to reinvent the wheel!

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