7 Tips for Crowdfunding Success

Having made films for two crowdfunding campaigns that raised a total of £28k I thought I’d offer you some tips on how to make use of this potential goldmine. I did one for The Hackney Pirates to renovate their building (£14k raised online and £6.5k offline) and one was for The Holborn to create a print edition of their online magazine (£8k raised).



My seven tips are:

1. Tangible outcome – like creating a product or building a school
2. Group mentality – create a feeling of doing something together
3. Personal connection – people often care more about the person who’s fundraising than the cause
4. Recognition – making people feel good about giving
5. Keep up the momentum – most people give at the beginning and end.
6. Allow enough lead time
7. Make a video that communicates your passion


1. Tangible Outcome
You need a really well defined thing to be fundraising for. One of the most successful fundraising initiatives of all time is sponsoring a child through school, because it’s universally recognised as important and it’s very clear what your money is being used for (at least in theory!). In these examples the Hackney Pirates were homeless and wanted to create a beautiful space for them do all their activities in, with a pirate ship theme. We showed the unrenovated building in the film and had the children saying how they imagined the finished ship would look.

The Holborn wanted to create a beautiful print magazine that could become a collectors item and reflect the fact that they write about people who create beautiful products such as clothing, jewellery and so on. We showed mock-ups of the new magazine in the film and created a second film of two of the artisans they’ve written about.

Be as clear, specific and visual as you can about what the money is being used for.

2. Group mentality
Often when you give to charity it’s something you do in private. The idea of crowdfunding though is that you feel that you’re part of a group who are all banding together to make something wonderful happen. The team effort is something you should have as a theme throughout your campaign.

3. Personal connection
The Hackney Pirates help 9-11 year olds with their literacy. Overtime they’ve made connections with organisations who’ve given them grants, teachers, parents and volunteers. The Holborn Magazine had its readership to drawn as well as all the artisans and small business that they’d written about, who had a vested interest in the campaign succeeding.

Make list of pretty much everyone you’ve ever been in contact with and work out what you will ask of them for and how.

4 .Recognition
The prizes are really important. People like to feel good about giving – and so they should! The Hackney Pirates put donors names on their website and gave them a free drink in their cafe, gave away postcards, badges, guidebooks to Hackney and the top prize was a candlelit dinner on a boat with ‘top movers and shakers’ in education.

The Holborn offered to print your name in the first edition, give you a tote bag, a Holborn pub guide and the chance to request for them to publish an article on an artisan of your choosing.

It’s important to plan the rewards carefully to think about which type of people will go for what thing.

5. Keep up the momentum
Generally people give at the start and the end of the campaign, so here are some things from the two campaigns did to keep up momentum:
● A big launch event and a mini event halfway through
● A media plan to get supportive blogs, fashion companies and radio stations to publicise your campaign
● Roughly 30 emails a day to potential supporters, the more personalised the better
● A social media strategy
● Asking people to be champions for further fundraising once they’ve given themselves

6. Allow enough lead time
The process of planning, scripting, shooting and editing the film alone usually takes a minimum of a month.

The Holborn started contacting media and supporters about two weeks before the campaign, and put in about half a day’s work on each other the thirty days of the campaign.

The Hackney Pirates spent a month planning, with an intern working on it for about three weeks in the middle (two weeks planning and one week kick-off) and it took about another month to finish off the campaign and send out the rewards. Even more lead time would have helped, they said.

It’s also worth noting that with Kickstarter, which the Holborn used, if you don’t make the target you lose all the money. Hackney Pirates didn’t hit their target but Indiegogo allows you to keep whatever you raise.

7. Make a video that communicates your passion
It doesn’t have to be fancy. The key thing is to tell your story, communicate your passion and make people feel emotionally engaged with your cause. People don’t give money based on information, the give based on emotion. It also helps a lot to demonstrate the impact your work if it’s a service or show the product.

With the Hackney Pirates we told a story about a group of children wanting to help adults to have more adventures in their new ship. We also had some powerful testimonials from the kids about how the charity had boosted their literacy.

In The Holborn film we showed what the magazine would look like, had the editor explain why he was passionate about creating a physical magazine and made a second video about two of the artisans that they’d written articles about.

I hope that’s helpful. If you want to discuss creating a crowdfunding video then email me at andy@hixmedia.co.uk or call me on 07825 953 484.

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