Back in my university days, I studied a great deal of Eastern philosophy and even taught general, but weighty lessons in Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism in my “past life” as a humanities professor. This taught me just about everything I know about life, the universe and everything. Interestingly enough, it also taught me all I know about crowdfunding.
Whereas my book Crowdfunding for Filmmakers illustrates the keys to successful crowdfunding from a Taoist perspective, here I present crowdfunding from a Buddhist point of view. So to help us attain crowdfunding Nirvana, here are the Four Noble Truths of Crowdfunding, which are much more empowering than the Truths unveiled by the Sangha at Deer Park during the days of the Buddha.
1. Crowdfunding is a full-time job. Aside from your actual full-time job, crowdfunding requires time and attention, so you need to be sure you can put in the time it will take to successfully crowdfund what matters to you.
2. It starts with you. The misconception that many people have is this: Once they set up a campaign, money will start coming in. Crowdfunding starts with you and your inner circle (friends, family, and loved ones). Only when you’ve gotten all of your closest supporters funding your campaign will you be able to successfully tap into your outer network (email list, social media, and press).
3. It is not only about the funding. A colleague of mine at Indiegogo has a great saying: “If you’re crowdfunding for the money, you’re doing it wrong.” There’s so much more to be gained from crowdfunding, like market validation and, of course, making a deeper connection with your audience.
4. Follow the Eight Ways of Crowdfunding to achieve success. In Buddhism, it is said that “the best of paths is the Eightfold,” which is represented by the symbol of a wheel with eight spokes and consists of things like Right Understanding and Right Purpose all the way to Right Concentration. Similarly, crowdfunding has its own eight ways that pave the way to crowdfunding success, which I present as follows:
- Right Goal: Choose the right target. For a little help in this department, give my blog post “Goals vs. Commitment in Crowdfunding an Indie Film” a read. (Just take out “Indie Film” and it all works the same.)
- Right Team: Build a team of people who have certain skills that you can make good use of during your campaign, like a social media strategist and a campaign manager, in the event you as campaign owner already have a full-time job.
- Right Time: Pick the right time to launch your campaign, and set the right duration for which to run your campaign. Campaigns usually start off strong, lull by the middle, and end strong. The question to ask yourself is how much time do you have to keep your audience interested in your campaign. And that leads to the importance of the…
- Right Strategy: You want to take time to strategize your campaign so that the “Lull” that you’ll ultimately encounter midway through your campaign doesn’t lull the campaign to a halt. Always plan ahead in crowdfunding.
- Right Prep: Planning ahead means preparing for your campaign ahead of time, and one way to do that is to build a social media following much earlier that two weeks before (or even the day of) your launch.
- Right Pitch, Perks, and Promotion: Those of you who’ve read my book know that I harp a lot on what I call the “Three Ps of Crowdfunding,” which you can read here to gain a better understanding and tons of examples on how to craft a compelling pitch video, unique perks, and promote properly across your social media channels.
- Right Etiquette: Yes, there is such a thing as etiquette in crowdfunding, which includes basics like saying thank-you to your contributors and not spamming people on Twitter and Facebook. For a further look into the world of crowdfunding etiquette, give a read on my “Practical Guide to Crowdfunder Etiquette.”
- Right Fulfillment: The end of a successful crowdfunding campaign signals the beginning of its most important stage: Fulfillment. For if you take too long to mail off your perks, how will you ever be able to start another crowdfunding campaign if you haven’t built up the reputation for delivering on your promises? Plus, it does wonders for your crowdfunding kharma, too. Checkout the helpful tips mentioned in Four Ways to Make Fulfillment Easy.
Keep these Four Noble Truths and Eight Ways of Crowdfunding Success in mind before starting your next campaign, and you’ll be on your way to a successful experience along with many more to come. For additional tips, you can also download Indiegogo’s Field Guide to Crowdfunding.