Six Tips for Running a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

A little planning—and advice from the experts—could be the difference between boom and bust.

Crowdfunding is a little like growing crops: You can’t just plant the seed and expect it to sprout. Follow these six tips to increase the odds of reaching a bumper crop of backers and hitting your funding goals:

  1. Access Available Resources: Most crowdfunding platforms offer resources to help plan and execute a successful campaign. Barnraiser, for example, conducts webinars and offers one-on-one phone consults to farmers.
  1. Set the Right Funding Target: Choose a financial goal that covers the cost of the project as well as the costs associated with delivering rewards and running the campaign. (Crowdfunding platforms charge a fee based on the amount of funding raised, which range from 4 to 9%; creators are also responsible for fees associated with payment methods like PayPal or credit card payments that backers use to support a project).
  1. Tell Your Story: Backers connect with stories, not desperate pleas for cash. Use the crowdfunding platform to share information about the farm; adding a video will help backers connect with the farmers and the project. Indiegogo, another crowdfunding platform, found that campaigns that included videos raised 114% more funding than those without them.
  1. Establish Rewards: Eileen Gordon Chiarello, founder of Barnraiser, notes that, “Rewards should be both small and simple to fulfill.” As part of their 2015 Kickstarter campaign, Minnesota-based Shepherd’s Way Farm offered lamb note cards to backers who contributed $25; a selection of cheeses for a $50 contribution; and a private tour and tasting event in exchange for a $1,000 pledge. Remember to consider the time it’ll take to fulfill rewards: Jodi Ohlsen-Read, farmer and cheesemaker at Shepherd’s Way estimates she’ll spend 10 months fulfilling rewards.
  1. Engage with Backers: In addition to sending out press releases and posting social media updates to spread the word about your campaign, it’s essential to share news with backers who supported the project. Crowdfunding platforms have “updates” sections to help backers feel connected to the project. Indiegogo found that creators who write updates at least once every five days raise 218% more than those that don’t update as often.
  1. Celebrate Your Success: Whether you’re building a new barn, buying a new tractor or expanding your herd, remember that crowdfunding made it possible. (And don’t forget to share the details of the completed project with your backers)!

<< See the full story, “Crowdfunding the Farm”