Personal

Crowdfunding – What I learnt – Moving On


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Some of the rewards we were offering our supporters.
Some of the rewards we were offering our supporters.

A couple of years ago, a colleague and I ran a crowd funding campaign to install solar panels at the sewing unit in India which we remotely manage from the UK. We did not reach our target. But we have learnt some invaluable lessons along the way and I have been sharing them over the past few posts.

Like ours, a substantial number of crowd funding campaigns fail. We don’t know exactly how many, since the platforms that host them are so varied, but it would be safe to say that more campaigns fail than meet their target.

This happens for a variety of reasons, it could be that there wasn’t enough planning behind it, there wasn’t enough engagement with the supporter base, it was too ambitious in its target, it was too ambiguous in what it was setting out to achieve, the campaign did not include a video (ahem!) and so on. It was most likely a combination of all of it.

When our campaign failed, we took it badly. The result did not surprise us entirely but still, it was not pleasant knowing that our supporters had not backed us all the way. And that impacted the entire project. We trundled along the next few months listlessly wondering what to do about the critical shortage of power which we were hoping to address through the solar panels.

We eventually found our mojo and got back to our usual energy levels but not before it gone through a definite slump. Since then, we have also done an autopsy of the campaign to find out where we went wrong and how we’d do it differently.

While it is natural to feel upset and even bitter about the unfavourable outcome of your campaign, it is important to remember that you could try again and again. With the benefit and time and hindsight, you should be able to include the learning from your campaign to attempt to reverse the earlier setback.

So much so, I have become a keen advocate of the crowd funding model and often suggest that as an option to small charities struggling to keep afloat. What’s more, I offer to do the video for their campaign while acting as an unofficial crowd funding consultant at the same time. How’s that for a putting lessons to good use?

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