Part 1: How to kickstart your farm or food project to a crowdfunding campaign win

February 1, 2015 by Frontline Copy
Crowdfunding success for farm and food projects

 

by Faith Attaguile

Are you a food or farming entrepreneur looking for money to fund a business goal or project? Then listen up. You can raise the money you need through crowdfunding.

crowdfunding success for farm and food projects

 

Kiss the Banks Goodbye

These days it isn’t easy to find hard money when you want to bring your great idea to fruition.

Even if you have a business track record to die for, great community support and the passion needed to get the job done—big banks are turning a deaf ear to the needs of small businesses in the food and farming sectors (and most other small business niches, for that matter).

But there’s money available for you outside the banking world. It’s called crowdfunding. This model bypasses the banks to raise money from ordinary people.
Crowdfunding success for farm and food projects

 

Hug the Crowd Hello

Get this: In 2014, project funds raised via crowdfunding platforms totaled $16.2 billion. This is a whopping 167% increase over the previous year.

Who are the funding backers on these platforms? Ordinary people like you and me, including:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Local community
  • Regional/state/national community
  • Extended world community

All have proven they’ll donate money if they’re convinced of a project’s worth and feel confident they can do some good by backing it.

But don’t be fooled. The term “crowdfunding” doesn’t mean your crowd is out there just waiting to throw money at you.

To get the funding you need for your project, you must actively grow a supportive community around your idea before—and throughout—your crowdfunding campaign.

You can’t just throw up a campaign page on a crowdfunding site, then sit back and wait for the crowd to come with the money. That’s a recipe for failure.

But there’s good news. If you have and use the tools you need to build a successful crowdfunding campaign, your chance of reaching (and perhaps even exceeding) your goal is very high indeed!

crowdfunding success for farm and food projects

 

Assemble Your
Crowdfunding Campaign Toolkit

No-nonsense planning and preparation are key to a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Here’s a secret: Do your homework and Lock in 90% of the work before your campaign page goes live. Complete the pre-launch planning steps with the tools outlined here and many of your post-launch activities will be put on autopilot.

What are these tools? When do you use which ones? How do they work?

Answers to the first two questions are in the below list. Answers to the third question (How do they work?) will come in my next posts.

By the end of this series of posts you’ll have a valuable toolkit to guide you through a kickass crowdfunding campaign.

So, let’s begin. Here’s a comprehensive list outlining the action tools you’ll need to conduct a successful campaign:

Crowdfunding Campaign Action List Toolkit

Pre-launch planning: Decide on the basics

  1. Gather your team.
  2. Find Your Crowdfunding Platform.
  3. Set the length of your campaign.
  4. Choose your campaign launch date.
  5. Nail down your crowdfunding goals.
  6. Select your donation amounts/rewards.

Pre-launch planning: Tell your project story

  1. Know your backer audience.
  2. Design an identifiable brand for your campaign.
  3. Coin a compelling project and elevator pitch.
  4. Develop your project story and lay out your campaign page.
  5. Produce a video for your campaign page.
  6. Build your crowdfunding website.

Pre-launch planning: Build your crowd

  1. Round up contact info from all team members for inner circle (family and friends), acquaintances, business associates and influencers.
  2. Pick your campaign social media outlets.
  3. Forge a strong media list.
  4. Generate pre-launch buzz.
  5. Create autopilot templates.

 

Food and Farm project crowdfunding campaign

 

Live Campaign Workout

Launch day

  1. Send out initial backer launch reminder email (template).
  2. Send out initial contact list launch announcement emails w/twitter templates (template).
  3. Put up flyers around your community.
  4. Hold a celebratory launch party on launch night.

First 24 hours

  1. Send celebration tweet announcing 20% funding in first 24 hours.
  2. Send celebration email to initial contact list announcing 20% funding in first 24 hours.
  3. Send celebration update to all backers thanking them and announcing 20% funding in first 24 hours.
  4. Send special thank-you email to initial backer team (first project donors).

First 48 hours

  1. Send emails to all contacts/backers re success buzz of first 48 hours.

Daily

  1. Engage with your primary contact list through email/telephone contact.
  2. Send out daily tweets to:
  • Promptly thank all new backers.
  • Recognize big donors.
  • Tell funny stories about the project.
  • Give new backer numbers.
  • Announce project pledge totals.
  • Share new media coverage.
  1. Promptly thank all who tweet/retweet or share your campaign on social media (template).
  2. Actively connect with your backers by answering questions and engaging in conversation.
  3. Continuously update backer contact information and to keep them in the loop regarding your project’s progress.

¼ Benchmark

  1. Send ¼ campaign benchmark emails (template).
  2. Send ¼ campaign benchmark tweets (template).

½ Benchmark

  1. Send ½ campaign benchmark emails (template).
  2. Send ½ campaign benchmark tweets (template).

¾ Benchmark

  1. Send ¾ campaign benchmark emails (template).
  2. Send ¾ campaign benchmark tweets (template).

Last 48 hours benchmark

  1. Send emails to non-donors on contact list asking for help (template).
  2. Send emails to backers asking for “stretch” help in reaching funding goal (template).
Crowdfunding success for farm and food projects

 

 


Post-campaign pursuits

  1. Send thank-you emails to all backers.
  2. Deliver donation rewards to all backers.
  3. Keep backers updated on the progress of your project.

So, now that you have your Crowdfunding Action List Toolkit, what should you do first?

Gather your team

Don’t fool yourself: Undertaking a successful crowdfunding campaign takes work and commitment. So, the more help you have the better.

Some have done it by themselves, but if they’ve been actively running a campaign through its duration, they are probably pretty done in at the end.

You want to avoid that if you can.

Thus, at minimum, find at least one other person who can help you. Assuming equal motivation and passions about your project, two heads are always better than one!

Will a business partner be part of your crowdfunding campaign? Will you hire a crowdfunding consultant? What about a virtual assistant to undertake some administrative and daily tasks?

Can family, friends or community members volunteer time? If so, how much? Agreement on time commitments is important for volunteer team members.

You know the saying, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Don’t be left holding the bag (or paving the road to hell).
One more thing…

Download your copy of the Crowdfunding Campaign Action Toolkit; then download and open your Campaign Plan Worksheet.

This is the worksheet you’ll use to plan and develop your own project campaign according to the unique action list items you need to pursue. Customize it to your own requirements, continuously updating it as you go along.

The next four posts will address each action item in greater detail. As you read through them, decide which ones you think you should incorporate into your own project. Then enter them into your Campaign Plan Worksheet.

Once you decide on your campaign launch date, figure out how much pre-launch planning you’re going to need and count back from there to know how much time you must give to pre-launch planning of your project.

Keep the Campaign Plan Worksheet handy to use as a guide throughout your crowdfunding campaign. Refer to it each day to see at a glance what needs to be done and what’s coming in the next days.

As the campaign proceeds, review and update your worksheet as necessary.

Remember, this is your roadmap—or perhaps more appropriately, your campaign GPS. Without it, you might get lost. So, keep it close!

Stay tuned for my next post. I’ll be talking in depth about Item No. 2 in your Crowdfunding Toolkit: "3 steps to finding the best crowdfunding host for your farm or food project."

Have I left anything out? Add your thoughts in the comment box below to start a conversation.

Not sure about the details of each step? Not to worry! My next posts will reveal all. Stay tuned …

Need help starting a crowdfunding campaign now? Don’t wait! Get in touch with me here and let’s begin!

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