Indiegogo organised a tour of Britain to raise the awareness of what crowdfunding is and to help those interested to crowdfund more successfully. The “Go Crowdfund Britain Tour” is a million pound mission to get Britain’s best ideas, coolest inventions, brightest young businesses and the most creative music and arts projects crowdfunded on Indiegogo before the end of 2014.
“Go Crowdfund Britain” started on 23rd June 2014 with Indiegogo visiting 10 UK cities over three weeks to gather individuals, groups and companies with big ambitions and show them how to crowdfund successfully on Indiegogo. Starting off in Manchester, the tour visited Birmingham, Swansea, Bristol, Norwich, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle and finished in Edinburgh on 10th July 2014.
Anastasia Emmanuel, Indiegogo’s UK Marketing and Community Manager, gave a great presentation to an audience of over 50 people in Norwich. She defined crowdfunding as “The collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the internet, to support the efforts initiated by other people or organisations.” She explained that it wasn’t a new concept, but has been made popular by the founding of organisations such as Indiegogo.
Anastasia Emmanuel presenting
Indiegogo, with its headquarters in San Francisco, was founded by Danae Ringelmann, Slava Rubin, and Eric Schell in 2008, with the ambition to democratise finance and allow anyone with an idea to sign up and raise money. There are now many different crowdfunding platforms out there, such as Kickstarter, Crowdcube and Seedrs, but the choice of these depends on your reason for crowdfunding. Anastasia explained the reasons to use Indiegogo, which is based on gifts and rewards (perks) rather than an equity stake in the idea:
(1) Global – Indiegogo has run over 200,000 campaigns from 224 countries/territories and operates in 5 currencies and 4 languages
(2) Open – there is no application or approval process for an Indiegogo campaign, it is merit based and covers entrepreneurial, creative and cause campaigns
(3) Customer Focused – Indiegogo has a Customer Happiness team available 24-7 to support its campaigners, they produce a lot of guides and videos to help campaigners and they offer both fixed and flexible funding.
Anastasia emphasised the benefits of crowdfunding with Indiegogo as being able to: validate your idea, gain awareness for your campaign, connect with customers, create evangelists and raise money. She explained that often the money raised was the least important of the benefits. She then gave a few case studies to illustrate the benefits that other campaigners had realised.
London’s first cat café was financed through Indiegogo. Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium in Shoreditch raised £109,510 against a target of £108,000 to open its doors in 2013.
Tens: The Real Life Photo Filter is an Edinburgh-based sunglasses brand that set an initial target of £9,400 on Indiegogo and went on to raise over £350,000. They had met their initial target within hours of posting their campaign and the exposure from this and the validation of their idea really helped them take the product to the next stage.
Misfit Shine, a personal activity tracker, was another example of an American campaign that was able to do real time market research and connect directly with the customers that would buy their product. They had a goal to raise $100,000 and ended up raising over $800,000 from nearly 8000 funders from around the world. But, possibly more importantly, they learnt a lot through the campaign that influenced the final design of their product and they secured a strong customer base.
Norwich has had its own successful campaigns too. Stuart Ashen, a Norwich-based YouTube comedian raised over $73,000 against a target of $50,000 to make his first feature film “Ashens and the Quest for the Game Child”, which was about 41% of the overall film budget. Stuart joined the Norwich leg of the tour to share his Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign experiences and tips. He encouraged the audience to develop their ideas sufficiently before launching a campaign. If you look like you know what you are doing and what you need the money for, people are more likely to give.
So how do you develop a successful pitch? First remember that a higher goal does not mean more money! People want to give to successful projects and so setting a lower and more attainable goal works better as you will more quickly raise a higher percentage of your goal (this is nicknamed the green bar effect on Indiegogo). There are no penalties for exceeding your goal, you keep all of the money raised, and people will keep contributing even after your target has been met. You need a good pitch video that is short (about 3 minutes), explains who you are, what you are raising money for and provides a clear call to action. Make your pitch text easy to read, with pictures and infographics that help to sell your product or product.
Anastasia then went on to share the 6Ps of successful crowdfunding:
(1) People – they want meaning in their lives and they like to support projects and causes that they care about. Make it easy for them to see the opportunity in your project
(2) Perks – campaigns with perks raise more money. Limited quantities of perks create demand and provide a thank you to contributors
(3) Passion – you need to find ways to show your passion for your project and then it will generate passion in others
(4) Pride – people want to feel proud of having supported a campaign – what will make them proud to join yours?
(5) Participation – people like to participate in successful projects and your perks can also provide motivation for people to participate to get an exclusive product
(6) Promotion – you need to think carefully about how you will promote your campaign. Start with a soft-launch and get your family and friends to donate (approx 30% of your target) in this phase so your project starts to look successful before you go to full launch. Have them ready to do this. Run your campaign for 21 to 45 days and launch on a Monday or Tuesday. Email and social media are the best ways to raise contributions and also contact the press, bloggers and do live events. Campaigns usually start well and then drop off a bit, so plan to have some perks for this quieter phase. Send out regular updates and celebrate the milestones as you reach them. Campaigns that send at least 3 updates raise more cash!
After the energetic and engaging presentation, there were plenty of questions for Anastasia and Stuart and an opportunity to network before heading home much clearer about how crowdfunding could help to bring a multitude of ideas and projects to life!