Crowdfunding 101 Blog Series – Part Three: Crowdfunding Campaign Checklist & Tips


Happy Friday Digital Sisters!

As promised, Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) is continuing its Crowdfunding 101 Blog Series in preparation for the upcoming Blogalicious Weekend Conference panel discussion on CrowdFunding: The Financial Backing for Your Project Is at Your Fingertips! that will take place on Friday, October 4 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Part One of the Crowdfunding 101 Blog Series provided an overview of crowdfunding. Part Two discussed Leeke’s crowdfunding journey with Kickstarter. Today’s blog offers a crowdfunding campaign checklist and tips for setting up a campaign. They incorporate the lessons she learned with her two Kickstarter projects and best practices she identified while supporting and studying other successful crowdfunding campaigns. They are also based on excerpts from her upcoming book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online.

Crowdfunding 101 Blog Series – Part Three: Crowdfunding Campaign Checklist & Tips

Now that you know more about crowdfunding and Ananda Leeke’s Kickstarter journey, we thought you might like a checklist and tips to help guide you through the process of developing your own crowdfunding campaign. See below.

Crowdfunding Campaign Plan Checklist

1) PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Describe your crowdfunding project in 140 characters or less. Give it a name that sparks interest. You will be able to use this short description as a springboard for writing your full campaign description (narrative or story).

2) FUNDING GOAL: How much money do you want to raise?

3) FUNDING PLEDGES: What types of pledges are you seeking to receive from donors ($1, $5, $10, $20, $30, $40, $50, $75, $100, $200 or more)?

4) CROWDFUNDING MODEL: What type of crowdfunding model works best for your project: fixed funding or flexible funding?

5) CROWDFUNDING PLATFORM: What crowdfunding platforms are best suited for your project (GoFundMe, Indiegogo, Kickstarter or others)?

6) CROWDFUNDING PROJECT BEST PRACTICES: Identify five or more examples of similar crowdfunding projects. Watch the campaign videos. Read the campaign descriptions. Check out the pledge amounts and types of rewards. Review any updates that were sent to donors. Take notes on what you like or dislike.

7) CAMPAIGN LAUNCH DATE: When will you launch the crowdfunding campaign?

-Can your launch date be tied to a major awareness event or during a month when you think your audience will be more interested in supporting you?

-Will you launch the campaign with a special online event (Google+ Hangout video chat or Twitter chat) or offline event (meet up)?

8) DURATION OF CAMPAIGN: How long will you run the campaign (number of days you will use to raise the funding)?

9) CAMPAIGN TEAM: Who will help you manage the campaign (interns, social media enthusiasts, marketing/PR professionals or volunteers, family members, and friends).

10) CAMPAIGN COMMUNITY (AMBASSADORS AND DONORS): Who are the members of your campaign community?

-Make a list (use an Excel spreadsheet) of your blog readers, email list members, e-newsletter subscribers, Facebook fans, friends, and group members, Google+ friends, Instagram followers, LinkedIn members, Pinterest followers, Twitter followers, and YouTube and Vimeo subscribers, and other social networking site friends.

-What organizations and groups do you belong to? Do you have the contact information for the organizers and the group members?

-What conferences or events do you regularly attend? Do you have the contact information for the organizers and the people you have met at the events?

-What groups of people will be interested in your campaign? Do you have the contact information for the groups (web site, email address, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other sites)?

-Your campaign community members are your donor base. Ask them to donate to your campaign.

-Your campaign community members are also your potential ambassadors for your campaign. Ask them to share your campaign information, social media, and video with people in their online, email, and offline networks.

11) YOUR CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN FULL DESCRIPTION: Why is your campaign project needed? How will your campaign project make the world better? What makes you the person to lead your campaign project? How do you plan to spend the money once you have raised it?

12) CAMPAIGN REWARDS: How will you thank your ambassadors and donors for supporting your campaign? What rewards will you offer your donors?

-Research the rewards offered by other crowdfunding campaigns.

-Develop a list of 10 creative and personal rewards you can offer.

-How much money will it cost you to deliver the rewards (factor in shipping and packaging fees)?

13) CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH STRATEGIES: What tools will you use to communicate with your audience? Are you going to create a video or use any photos (I say DO BOTH!)?

-Identify where your audience members spend their time online. Hopefully, you have established an online presence on the sites.

-Use Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest (create a board for your campaign), Tumblr, Twitter, Vimeo, and YouTube to promote your campaign, drum up positive media coverage from bloggers/e-zines/magazines/newspapers, and recruit new campaign community members (ambassadors and donors).

-Brainstorm ideas for your videos. How will you make your videos (web cam flip camera, phone camera)? Where will you record the videos? Who will help you make the videos? Will you use any music or photos in the videos?

You may want to do three short videos (one to three minutes) during the campaign. The first video could be used as your pitch video (two to three minutes). Your pitch video tells your story. Watch five to seven pitch videos created for successful campaigns. Make note of why you like them. Try to incorporate some of their best features in your video.

The second video (one to two minutes) could be a status update about the campaign which includes shout outs to campaign ambassadors and donors (one to two minutes).

The third video could be a final thank you to your supporters.

-You may want to prepare a short script for your videos. Keep your script simple and easy to understand. Practice what you will say several times. Record three sample videos and ask several people to critique your presentation.

-When you record your video, make sure you wear clothing (and hairstyle and make up) that compliments you. You want to look relaxed, down-to-earth, and friendly. Have fun!

-Create an editorial calendar and sample posts that you will use throughout the campaign. Include dates for submitting press releases about the campaign (status updates with any successes).

-To make the lives of your campaign ambassadors easier, send them sample posts or tweets that they can share with their networks.

14) ADDITIONAL CAMPAIGN FUNDING SOURCES: Will you use PayPal.com to collect donations from donors who may not want to use your crowdfunding platform? Will you accept cash and personal checks from donors who may not want to use PayPal.com or your crowdfunding platform?

15) CELEBRATING YOUR CAMPAIGN SUCCESS: How will you celebrate your campaign’s success? Will you host an online event (Twitter chat or Google+ Hangout) or a local event (open house, meet up or happy hour) in your city or town? Will you send a video thank you, email thank-you notes, or mail personalized thank you notes?

16) POST CAMPAIGN OUTREACH: How will you keep in touch with your campaign community of ambassadors, donors, and supporters? Will you send them monthly or quarterly updates via email or an e-newsletter? Will you post a series of updates on your campaign update page, blog, or Facebook page?

Crowdfunding 101 Blog Series – Part Two: Ananda Leeke’s Crowdfunding Journey with Kickstarter


Happy Thursday Digital Sisters!

As promised, Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) is continuing its Crowdfunding 101 Blog Series in preparation for the upcoming Blogalicious Weekend Conference panel discussion on CrowdFunding: The Financial Backing for Your Project Is at Your Fingertips! that will take place on Friday, October 4 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Part One of the Crowdfunding 101 Blog Series provided an overview of crowdfunding. Today’s  blog discusses Leeke’s crowdfunding journey with Kickstarter. It is based on excerpts from her upcoming book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online.

Photo Credit: Kickstarter.com

Photo Credit: Kickstarter.com

Crowdfunding 101 Blog Series – Part Two: Ananda Leeke’s Crowdfunding Journey with Kickstarter

Ananda Leeke’s crowdfunding journey began with a challenge from her Ameriprise Financial financial advisor Judy Weathers during their first quarter meeting in 2010. They were reviewing Leeke’s self-publishing expenses for two books published in 2007 and 2009, and estimating the expenses for a third book. Weathers asked her if she could find investors or alternative funding for the book. At first, she thought Weathers was asking her to do the impossible, but a small voice inside convinced her to be open and pursue alternative funding.

Ananda Leeke and Judy Weathers at Ulah Bistro on U Street, NW in DC

Ananda Leeke and Judy Weathers at Ulah Bistro on U Street, NW in DC

Months passed without Leeke lifting a finger to identify alternative funding. Then, it happened. The light bulb went off during an episode of Digital Sisterhood Radio. She was moderating a panel of creative women in social media when Abiola Abrams, author and founder of AbiolaTV.com, referenced an Essence article that discussed the power of using Kickstarter to fund books and films. After the show, she visited Kickstarter.com and learned about several authors who used it to raise money for their books. Their success inspired her to take the plunge.

Here’s what happened: she created two Kickstarter campaigns for her self-publishing package and photography fees to support her Digital Sisterhood book. Using video was a must for her. So she recorded an eight-minute video with her laptop’s web cam that was very simple and shared her reasons for writing the book and using Kickstarter. She included the same information in the description section of her campaign page. She also offered seven pledge options ($1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, and $200) with rewards that included:

  • $1 Pledge: Donors names will be published in the book as supporters.
  • $5 Pledge: Donors will receive everything mentioned above and access to the behind-the-scenes video & audio updates that will document the creation of the book.
  • $10 Pledge: Donors will receive everything mentioned above and access to a live author chat on UStream.tv during the book writing and publishing process.
  • $20 Pledge: Donors will receive everything mentioned above, a personal thank-you note with book logo and signed by author, and an invitation to participate in the online book release party via UStream.tv.
  • $50 Pledge: Donors will receive everything mentioned above, an invitation to vote on the book cover design, and a Digital Sisterhood mug.
  • $100 Pledge: Donors will receive everything mentioned above and an autographed copy of the book.
  • $200 Pledge: Donors will receive everything mentioned above and a private one-hour author chat via Skype or telephone with the author.

With the support of her generous donors (backers is the Kickstarter term), her first campaign raised $1,159 in 2010. Her second campaign raised $701 in 2011. She also received donations via PayPal and from friends who gave cash and check donations.

Leeke’s funding goals were very conservative. She wanted to make sure she received every dollar she raised because Kickstarter only offers fixed funding, an all-or-nothing approach. That means if you don’t reach your funding goal, you don’t receive any of the money you raised.

The biggest challenges she faced with her campaigns were writing a book while she was conducting two fundraisers and underestimating the time it would actually take to publish the book. Her underestimation caused a three-year delay in her delivery of rewards to her donors (she is in the process of delivering rewards over the next two months). To maintain communication with her donors, Leeke posted regular updates about her writing process in 2011 and part of 2012. She slacked off in 2013. Fortunately, her donors have not complained. They are a great group of people who have a lot of compassion and patience. They taught her that crowdfunding is rooted in generosity. For that, she is truly grateful.

As a result of her experience, Leeke believes crowdfunding is rooted in:

  • Passion for a cause, project, or venture;
  • The experience of connection, relationship building, and social capital within a community;
  • The power of asking;
  • The act of generosity; and
  • The practice of gratitude.

Stop DSN’s blog tomorrow for Part Three of the series. It will offer a checklist and guidelines on how to conduct a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Celebrating 28 Black Women’s Digital Sisterhood Leadership in Creative Crowdfunding Projects


DSN_LLL150

Happy #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday!

Black History like Women’s History is made every day. During the month of February, Black History celebrations are held online and offline to recognize the contributions of Black people in America. Today, Digital Sisterhood Network’s Leadership, Lifestyle, and Living Well Initiative is celebrating 28 Black women who are making history as they use crowdfunding platforms to bring their creativity and dreams to life with art, books, blogs, creative learning opportunities, dramatic performances, films, music, photography, social entrepreneurship, webisode series, and travel experiences. These women represent the best of Digital Sisterhood Leadership. Their efforts are AMAZING because they inspire and empower others to dream and act bigger. They embody our 2013 theme, “Too Bold for Boundaries = Fierce Living.” See the list below.

We encourage you to get to know them and their work by visiting their web sites and blogs regularly in 2013. Talk about them to your network. Support their creative efforts. Follow them on Twitter. LIKE them on Facebook. Connect with them on Flickr, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Vimeo, YouTube, and other social media sites. Celebrate their beauty, brilliance, courage, creativity, and leadership in the digital space!

About Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding is a web-based financial model that allows individuals to network and pool their money in community to support projects and ventures initiated by other people and organizations. gofundme, indiegogo, and Kickstarter are three of the most popular reward-based crowdfunding platforms. PayPal is also another platform people use to collect crowdfunding donations. To learn more about crowdfunding, click here to see Ananda Leeke’s Crowdfunding Pinterest board of resources.

Celebrating Black Women’s Digital Leadership in Creative Crowdfunding Projects:

Photo Credit: girltank.org

Photo Credit: girltank.org

1) Crowdfunding Projects You Should Know About

gofundme.com

gofundme.com

2) gofundme Campaigns

indiegogo.com

indiegogo.com

3) indiegogo Campaigns

kickstarter.com

kickstarter.com

4) Kickstarter Campaigns

NOTE: This post is an excerpt from Ananda Leeke’s Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online (2013). If you would like Leeke to facilitate a workshop, give a presentation, or speak about crowdfunding, please contact her at kiamshaleeke@yahoo.com or 202.607.3509. Visit www.anandaleeke.com.