1. Protect yourself
Rule #1: don’t lose money. Sounds obvious enough, but if you’re preparing for a crowdfunding project it’s quite likely that you don’t actually know what your costs are going to be yet.
Figure it out, because if you wind up with 1,000 backers waiting anxiously for their rewards and you find out that shipping to Singapore is going to cost 4x what you had budgeted, you’ll be in some serious pain.
2. Your goal is arbitrary
Let’s get real for a minute here. You could pull off your project for a pretty small sum of money. But you want it to go big, so you’re thinking you’ll set a high goal. Here’s the question you need to ask yourself: “if I raised 25% of my goal, would I take it?”
If the answer is yes, then lower your goal! Lower it until you legitimately cannot or would not complete the project without that amount of money, then make that your goal.
Don’t feel the need to be a hero.
3. Low goal = major shock & awe value
We ran the crowdfunding campaign above, which still has 6 days to go at the time of writing this post. Right now we’re at $20,672, which is decent, but not terribly impressive compared to the six and seven digit raises that occur often.
However, when we get asked what our goal was, and we respond, “one thousand dollars,” people go nuts! A $20k raise with a $20k goal is ok, but a $20k raise with a $1k goal seems incredible!
Your goal, though probably arbitrary in the real world, gives people a reference point by which to judge your success. Bloggers and reporters are suckers for this stuff, too. It’s much easier to get an article written about a project that’s 2000% funded than one that’s 80% funded, even if they’ve raised the same amount of money.
4. Low goal = “popular algorithm” hacking
If your project winds up in the popular section on Kickstarter, it will receive a significant amount of visibility and, hopefully, pledges. You definitely want to be categorized as most popular.
The algorithm takes several variables into consideration, but the second most heavily weighted is percent funded. A project that’s raised $100k with a $50k goal won’t be ranked as highly as a project that’s raised $100k with a $10k goal, and raising $100k with a $1k goal would be unstoppable.
So hack it. Set as low a goal as you can in order to juice your percent funded and rise in the popular rankings.
See a more in depth post on the popular algorithm here.
5. “Small projects” brings 20% more pledges
While not all crowdfunding platforms have a category like this, Kickstarter does, so we’ll talk about that.
In their sidebar, there’s a category for small projects. This category features projects that meet the “small” criteria, and bring them added visibility. In our experience with three Kickstarter projects that all met the small criteria, we’ve seen 10-20% of all pledges come from the small projects category.
In order to be included in the small projects category, a project must have:
- a goal of $1,000 or less
- a timeline of 30 days or less
- a video
So if you can pull it off with those constraints and it sounds like it’s worth doing, go ahead and add another 20% to your total pledged.