Crowd funding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are all the rage these days…and for good reason. People have raised millions of dollars through these platforms, but there is more than just luck involved.

Ask Maya Stein and Amy Tingle. Their Kickstarter campaign, Type Rider II: The Tandem Poetry Tour, raised over $8,000 in 3 days. Amy and Maya will be biking 1,400 miles across the U.S., writing spontaneous poetry and building Little Free Libraries along the way. Impressive, right?

Their campaign is concise, compelling and upbeat.  But they still need more funding to reach their goal of $26,000. 

View the campaign and donate here.

How can you be as successful as Amy and Maya? Here are some tips we have picked up along the way:

  • Very important: Set a conservative, reasonable goal.  Remember, if you do not meet your goal by your deadline on Kickstarter, all the pledges are returned and you do not get funded.  Indiegogo has a different system.  But either way, it’s better to exceed your lower goal than to fail to achieve a goal that is too high.
  • Create a clear story and make a video that portrays it powerfully – What is your angle? Why is what you’re doing special and why would other people want to be involved with it? People are more likely to donate to your campaign if they can relate to your motivations and struggles. Once you know your story, make a short video (no more than 4 minutes) that is as honest and enthusiastic as possible. Draw on the aspects of your story that will engage your audience, and use meaningful images (not stock photos) to draw people in and keep them watching.

    Amy Tingle and Maya Stein of Type Rider II: The Tandem Poetry Tour

  • Learn from other people’s mistakes – Do your homework. Search for other successful campaigns that are similar to yours (here is a great example of a Little Free Library campaign from North Carolina that raised over $10,000) and take note of what they did. What prizes did they offer? How long was their project description? Did they have a video or just photos? What donation levels did they use?
  • Promote yourself, then ask others to promote you too – Who actually donates to Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns? Mainly friends, family members and acquaintances of the person running the project. So how do you keep momentum going once those people have donated? Ask them to tell everyone they know about your campaign. You need to reach outside your own network to be successful. Brainstorm who would be interested in your project (for example, Maya and Amy contacted local poets and biking groups) and reach out to them personally. There is no substitute for a handwritten letter or face-to-face conversation, but a thoughtfully written email works, too.
  • Have a strategy before you launch – You will likely see a lot of activity in the first few days of your campaign. But what happens when you hit a lull a few weeks in? How will you keep people engaged? What kind of prizes will you offer for different donation levels? Don’t just offer whatever you have lying around, or even something that you in particular would like. What would someone interested in your campaign like to receive? What is meaningful to them? Is it something tangible (bookmarks, magnets, coupons, discounts, t-shirts) or intangible (a matching donation to another organization, a handwritten thank-you, items donated to a community in need)?

With a little thought and planning, you can drastically improve your chances of reaching your fundraising goal. We know you can do it. Go for it! P.S. One way to thank Maya and Amy for these lessons learned is to pitch in to Type Rider II.  Click here and be a part of something wonderful!

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