November 28, 2011 · Tips & Insights

Owning your Campaign: Part 1 – The Campaign Begins!


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I’m Melissa and I’m an IndieGoGo campaign owner here on the blog to write a series of posts about my first crowdfunding experience.  This includes everything that I do, questions that arise and areas I wasn’t expecting, from pre-launch preparation to what happens after my campaign is over. My case is a special case because I also just so happen to work here at IndieGoGo! This means that I have a bit of an “inside scoop” on the campaigning process and will pass along everything I learn to you through this series. 

Why I'm Doing This: I Want to Kill it at the SMSW!

Every campaign starts with an idea. Whether it’s a creative pursuit, a business endeavor, a community project, or something else; the goal of every campaign is to raise money to make something happen. My campaign is no different.

The Supermarket Street Sweep (SMSW) is an annual bike event in San Francisco that benefits the San Francisco Food Bank. Participants race all around the city picking up groceries that they donate to the food bank at the finish line.

2011 will be my third year involved with the SMSW, and I want to go big this time! I volunteered the first year, and even in that position I was quite moved by the attendance, effort, and enthusiasm for the event. Last year, I competed in the cargo competition. I had intended on riding in the speed category up until the very last minute- when my riding partner signed up for cargo event – so I did too. This year, I wanted to think ahead and prepare well for the event. I gained access to a bike that can carry 1,000 pounds and am raising money on IndieGoGo to help offset the cost of the groceries I’ll buy during the SMSW.

On Your Mark: Planning Assets For Launch

Before I started, I knew I needed to provide certain information about my campaign. I needed to set a funding goal and an ending date for the campaign, write pitch copy for my campaign web page, gather some images for my campaign page, and describe the perks I would give in return for contributions.

My goal was easy to estimate since I had done the SMSW before and have a general understanding of the cost of groceries. I also knew when to set my ending date because the SMSW event was already organized and announced, and I wanted my campaign to end in time.


Here are a few resources from the IndieGoGo blog that can help determine some of your planning:

1. How to best figure which campaign length is best for you 

2. Designing the length of the campaign and how to calculate your goal


Get set: Producing Assets for Launch

I love making all kinds of art.  Since the event has to do with bikes I decided to offer a range of different kinds of bike-themed art work (or bike “inspired” art, or bike “related” art – watch my pitch video to get the reference!) as perks in return for contributions. (I’ll get into way more detail about how to “do” perks later!)

After reading this IndieGoGo blog post about the importance of having a pitch video, I knew I wanted to shoot one for my campaign. I didn’t want to read from a script or anything, because I didn’t want it to sound fake or rehearsed.  I had to make sure that my campaign was made clear and I covered everything I wanted to talk about; so I wrote a little outline for reference.


Following the outline, I immediately shot a take of the video using the video recorder in Photobooth on my laptop. It was a little bit awkward at first, but after a couple more takes it was pretty close to perfect!

Making a list of discussion points and putting them in an outline-style order before you start shooting will totally help make your video easier to record.

Here is some further info to help with pitch video creation:

1. Six tips on how to make an awesome pitch video

2. A few examples of simple yet effective pitch videos


GoGo: Launching my campaign!

After the video uploaded to YouTube, I was all set! I excitedly hit “Go Live!” right before I left for work on a Tuesday morning. According to this IndieGoGo blog post, launching on Tuesday is a popular idea, but might not be the best way to go. Although I didn’t see that post until after I launched, it still gave me lots of good ideas for going forward which I will totally use to help my campaign be the best it can be!

I was so excited about my campaign that it became all I could talk about! I posted it on Facebook and Twitter immediately after launching, and a few friends responded pretty quickly. I managed to bring up the subject of my campaign with just about everyone I talked to: from people at bike shops and bike events to strangers on the subway and in line at coffee shops! After I scrambled several times to write the name of my campaign and my contact info to people interested in my campaign, I decided to print little info cards to hand out.


My cards have been super well-received and makes me feel really professional about my campaign! I feel like people are already starting to take me (and my campaign) more seriously because of them.

This is a Marathon, not a Sprint!

There’s strategy and work involved at different points in the campaign, the pre-launch prep stuff is just the beginning. What I do during my campaign is just as – if not more – important than what I’ve done so far. I’ll be posting more about what happens during (and after!) my campaign. Stay tuned!