Where do pledges come from? It starts with the people around you.
Crowdfunding is all about connecting with people. As it takes place online, it can be easy to forget that behind each pledge is a real person. In this piece we’re going to look at how to find your crowd of supporters for your crowdfunding project.
To make your project a success, you’ll need to engage with a wide and varied network of people. This might sound like a big undertaking, but we can break it down into manageable tasks. To get started, you’ll need to identify your crowd, their motivations and how you’ll connect with them.
Why people support projects
Your crowd is made up of people who support what your project is trying to achieve. They may have different motivations for supporting your project, but they all want to see your project succeed. Let’s look at the three key reasons why people support crowdfunding projects:
- You have a close relationship, so they want to support you personally
- They believe in your aims and think it’s a worthwhile project
- They want to get their hands on one of your rewards
These three groups should be the starting point when mapping out your network. While people can fit into two or even all three groups, we’ll keep things simple and look at each one in turn. You might want to draw this out as a mindmap on a big piece of paper, jot it down as a list, or even make a detailed spreadsheet – whatever works for you.
These are all the people that are likely to support your crowdfunding project just because you are the one doing it. This group of people will look a little different for everyone, but here are some examples that commonly feature.
- Partners, husbands and wives
- Parents and grandparents
- Siblings and their partners
- Colleagues and managers
There might also be subcategories within some of these groups that you can list. For example, within your list of friends, you could include school friends, university friends, friends from a sports club or group you’re involved with. Once you’ve listed as many different pockets of people as you can, make sure you take the time to go through and jot down individual names. This will probably take a little while, but it’ll be worth the effort later.
This next group is really important to spend some time mapping out. If you can harness the support of people who believe your project is worthwhile, you’ll be well on your way to success. The shape and nature of people that fit into this group will vary depending on the focus of your project. Let’s look at an example to show this.
Haircuts4Homeless is a registered charity building a community of hairdresser volunteers who give their time free of charge to provide haircuts for people suffering from homelessness in the UK. They were crowdfunding to print a photo book documenting their work over the last two years. If we were to map out the pockets of people that could be motivated to support this project, because they believe it’s worthwhile, it might look something like this:
- People who have experienced homelessness
- Friends and family of people who have experienced homelessness
- People who are passionate about the issue of homelessness in the UK
- Hairdressers who have been involved with the project
- Friends and family of hairdressers who have been involved with the project
- Hairdressers who relate to and admire the project
- Other volunteers and staff
- People who follow Haircuts4Homeless on social media
- People who live near to a Haircuts4Homeless location
- Fans of Jack Eames’ photography work
- Collectors of unique photo books
The list could go on and on! As you can see here, each of these groups has something that connects them to the project in question. It could be a passion, interest or just physical location. Make sure you list out every little cluster of people that you can think of for your own project.
Motivated by rewards
For most crowdfunding projects, their rewards are closely linked to what they’re aiming to achieve. As we haven’t looked at rewards in too much detail yet, you might decide to come back to mapping out this part of your crowd later. In the meantime, take a look at 55 reward ideas to get a good sense of what makes an attractive reward.
If you’ve already pinned down the rewards you’re going to offer, the next bit is easy. Go through each reward in turn, listing out any additional groups of people that might be interested in pledging on it.
By now, you should have lots and lots of people on your list. This is the basis of your crowd! Remember, your crowd is always growing, so add additional people on as you go forward.
If you’d like to take this exercise even further, you can start to highlight any key people whose support could be really critical to your project. This might be someone who is well-respected in your community, a team captain or coach, the boss at work, or anyone else who has clout or influence. These are the people whose support is likely to unlock support from others.
There you have it – your crowd!
Looking for more guidance on your crowdfunding project? Head over to the Knowledge Hub.