Ok, people, I’m taking off the kid gloves. No more Mrs. Nice Guy. Get this message now or you will fail. You must find backers before you launch. Let me say that again in all caps: YOU MUST FIND YOUR BACKERS BEFORE YOU LAUNCH!

I’m not kidding here. If I get one more call from someone mid-campaign asking for help rescuing their campaign after they launched thinking everyone would just miraculously show up to support them, I might do something rash…like write this blog.

The world is a busy place. People are not waiting around for your email or Facebook post or Tweet or Instagram or Pinterest pin. They are living their lives. Add to that the onslaught of junk email communications we are bombarded with each day, and you’ll begin to get the picture for why they are “ignoring” you. (Yes, ignoring was the actual word used by someone who called me.) Maybe you are not posting anything interesting. Maybe all you do is post things about yourself. Maybe all you post is a request for their money.

Here’s a stretch. Put yourself in their shoes. What kinds of things do you like in your Inbox? What kinds of posts do you click on and read/watch from start to finish? What compels you to take action? I’m going out on a limb here, but it’s not usually the post that is begging for things. We want things that are funny, intriguing, sassy, supremely human, a bit crass, and heartfelt. Is this how you are reaching out?

You don’t believe me? Let me get some backup from Seed&Spark, a film-only crowdfunding platform. In my opinion, Seed&Spark is doing some of the best work on the street of educating project creators on how to succeed in funding their projects. Check out the resources under the “Crowdfunding Class” tab on their website. Crowdfunding GOLD! And you know what the heart of their education is focused on…how to build an audience.

To quote Max Silverman, Head of Product at Seed&Spark, “Crowdfunding is an exchange, not charity.” So my question, what are you giving people in exchange for the time they will spend learning about your project? You need to do THAT first before people will want to give you their MONEY in exchange for a reward or perk. And this kind of content creation takes time. Time to develop and time to communicate.

Seed&Spark recommends reaching out at least six weeks before you launch (and even gives you a handy guide on what to do during those six weeks on their website). For a whole lot of you out there thinking of crowdfunding, six weeks is not nearly enough time to build your audience. Think 3-12 months. You heard me…3-12 MONTHS.

If you strategically build your audience for 3-12 months before you launch, you will not only be more successful in raising your funds, but you will have built an audience that will support you over time. Meaning, not just this project, but everything you create going forward. That’s a two-for-one deal that you should not ignore.

Agree? Disagree? I want to hear it all. Spill it!

Editor’s Note: Crowdfund Better is actively working to solve the issues around crowdfunding education for all. We’ve developed The Crowdfunding Opportunity online course to help you navigate the crowdfunding ecosystem to fund your business.

Updated: May 2023

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Showing 7 comments
  • Kris Cahill

    Great article, Kathleen! Your ability to pinpoint what it takes to launch a successful crowdfunding campaign is so helpful, grounding, and needed. I love your workshops and have learned a lot about what is needed before I launch my first campaign next year. Thank you!

    • Kathleen Minogue

      Thank you, Kris. Really appreciate you taking the time to post a comment. And I’m glad you find my approach to crowdfunding helpful. I want project creators like you to make their ideas real in the world. That does take a bit of grounding. Looking forward to working together to launch your campaign when the audience is there waiting to support your success!

  • Peter Jarvis

    Awesome article. Why couldn’t i find this before launching my campaign. I will definitely try and build a database of prospective backers before my next campaign. I am only 5 days into my campaign and it’s stalled. Not 100% sure why. Thanks for taking the time to write this arcticle Kathleen. Very helpful. Have a great day.

    • Kathleen Minogue

      Peter, I am glad that you found the post helpful. Thank you for taking the time to read it. Most campaigns do stall at about 5 days and stay pretty flat until the last week if you don’t take action to invigorate your campaign. I checked out your campaign page and have an idea to get you started. I’ll contact you directly to share it.

      • Peter Jarvis

        Wow, thank you Kathleen, I would really appreciate that. I will pay it forward and create an illustration for you to say thank you. 🙂

  • Bill Huston

    Kathleen, great article. Crowdfunding is a compound word and if you don’t build an excited and engaged crowd you won’t get the funding! Crowdfunding is all about building the crowd. I am working with a group of local pastors in Louisville and this is the point that I am trying to drive home. Let’s find a common cause that we can all rally around and build the crowd. Thanks for your great insights into the crowdfunding industry you always bring thoughtful insights.

    • Kathleen Minogue

      Thank you, Bill. Yes, bringing a crowd to your funding campaign is the key! Crowdfunding is empowered by technology, but ultimately all about building relationships. Appreciate the work you are doing to bring this knowledge to communities that don’t yet understand its power.

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