Everyone that posts a project on Kickstarter or GoFundMe is hoping that their idea will get people to donate. That's the purpose of crowdfunding: to raise money to make a product or project possible.
Some products have been hugely successful, while others have flopped miserably. What's the difference? Below, we'll take a look at three highly successful crowdfunded projects, and see why they worked where others failed:
Project #1: Save Blue Like Jazz
The project: Raise enough money to turn the book Blue Like Jazz into a movie. The project had already been underway, but the funding they had dried up before it was complete. The Kickstarter project has been called the largest crowd-sourced creative project ever.
Why it worked: Millions of fans. The book had already been hugely popular, and there were millions of fans hoping to see it as a movie. There was already a base of supporters, and the fact that people received goodies for their donations made it even more popular. Donators received pages from the script, posters for the film, and even a personal call from the director thanking large investors for their contributions.
Amount raised: $345,992
Takeaway: Establish a fan base before you release your product. Offer tempting incentives!
Project #2: The Glif
The project: Raise $10,000 to fund the production of The Glif - a tripod designed specifically for iPhones and other mobile phones.
Why it worked: It met a need. The majority of the photos on Instagram and Flickr tend to be iPhone/smartphone photos. Most amateur phone photographers wanted a device to help them take better pictures, and The Glif was just what they needed. The product was also released to Gizmodo and Daring Fireball, two highly successful tech blogs. For the techie readers of these blogs, it was a solution to a very real problem. Plus, contributors actually received the product in return for their donation.
Amount raised: $137,417
Takeaway: Meet a need with your project or product. If the product is affordable, offer it in exchange for a donation. Get the product placed on the right marketing channels, and it stands a better chance of succeeding.
Project #3: Punk Mathematics
The project: Create an accessible, entertaining "punk" mathematics book. Dreamed up by math professor and improve comedian Tom Henderson, the book was conceived as a way to make learning math a bit more enjoyable.
Why it worked: It was a humorous twist on a dull, boring part of everyday life. Millions of students learn math every day, and making a book that would teach it in an enjoyable way definitely attracted the attention of potential investors. The concept was posted on tech blogs, which helped to get the idea out to the millions of people that could benefit from the product. As an incentive, those donating more than $42 received his personal cell phone number and were granted permission to call at any time to ask math questions.
Amount raised: $28,701
Takeaway: A new twist on something old and familiar can go a long way towards making your crowdfunded project more successful. The more unique it is, the more people will take notice.
There is nothing that will guarantee the success of your crowdfunded projects, but there's always the chance that the right product will hit the right market at the right time. Learn from these projects above, and you may just have that successful product!