Photo: John Morgan, Creative Commons.
Photo: John Morgan, Creative Commons.

So you’ve got a great idea that’s going to change the world, and you’ve decided to crowdfund it. You’ve created a pitch and uploaded it to the Internet. All you need to do is sit back now and just let the money roll in, right?

Not exactly. Like all other methods of fundraising, crowdfunding projects only succeed if managed and executed properly. Here are a few useful tips to take into consideration when planning your project pitch.

1) Appeal to your audience

It doesn’t matter how wonderful your project is. If the public doesn’t understand it or see how it benefits them, your crowdfunding will never succeed.

According to designers Arif Rafhan Othman and Faros Amzas, the project offered has to be made relevant to the public. The two, together with fellow designer Tintoy Chuo, are the minds behind T-shirt company TeeSomethingNice, whose crowdfunding program raised seven times its target.

“Create a story around it to ensure the offering has meaning to your targeted market. If you were approaching organisations for support, highlight the added value, and align their cause to yours so they will see that your offering can benefit their organisation,” Arif says.

“People will not think twice to pledge anything they can relate to. It could be the simplest thing. The product we pitch shouldn’t be just about us, our principle and our dream, it should be theirs too,” adds Faros.

2) Create a good video, and feature yourself in it

“If you want support from the crowd, they need to know who you are. You need to be seen, to speak, to make an emotional appeal. Don’t just make a corporate video, with just a description of your product and no one in it. People need to see you have passion,” says Kashminder Singh, co-founder of local crowdfunding site Pitchin.my.

“We encourage everyone to make a video. From our experience, videos build credibility, and show people they can support you,” added fellow Pitchin.my co-founder Sam Shafie.

3) Pre-promotion

“Before you pitch, you should spend at least a month talking to people about your project. You should prepare them for the eventuality of you coming in to crowdfund. If you start talking about your project only when you launch it, you have wasted a lot of time. You should educate people about your project before that, so when its live, people know about it, and can just give you money,” Sam says.

He recommends using all forms of social media available to get the message of one’s project across.

 4) Set a smart funding goal

Research is crucial in this area: you should not confuse how much money you’d like to make with how much is actually needed for your project to succeed. Speak to experts, speak to potential backers, and if possible, look at similar pitches to determine a realistic amount for your goal.

Occasionally, some sort of compromise may be needed. Yes, your product would be a lot better with a few extra features. But if these features hike the cost up too much, would that affect the pitch’s success? No matter how much money you raise, you only get your funds if you manage to hit your goal, after all.

5) Personalised rewards

“All rewards must be connected to your project. You can’t do a book project, and give people coffee vouchers. It doesn’t work that way,” Sam says.

“They also should be personalised. For example, if I’m writing a book, it could be: pay RM20, and you get a copy of the book. Pay RM40, and you get a personalised message in it. They should be packaged in a way that appeals to people,” Kashminder said.

Sam cited a recent example of Scrubs star Zach Braff, who mentioned the names of everyone who backed his film project in specially made trailer videos. His pitch, the film Wish I Was Here, raised $3,105,473, and was funded by 46,520 people.

Terence Toh