11 Ways to Get Your Passion Project Funded Online

Tips to scoring financial support on your crowdfunding project

(Image: File)

Question: What’s the key to getting your passion project funded on a site like Kickstarter or Indiegogo? (Name one tip.)

Convincing Video

“Both sites stress videos for every project; after all, it’s the first thing that people see when looking at projects. Having a passionate, high-quality video can make a huge difference in getting funded.”

- Ben Lang | Founder, Mapped In Israel

Study What’s Already Working

“Research what similar projects have been funded, and reverse-engineer their success. What was their hook? What did they offer to donors? How did they market their crowdfunding campaign on social media sites? Key point: don’t reinvent the wheel, just put your own unique spin on it.”

- Pete Kennedy | Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Main Street ROI

The Right Incentives

“On crowdfunding sites, you’re selling products. Part of the product is the ability to associate yourself with a cool project — but the incentives are just as much what buyers are interested in. The Pebble E-Paper Watch raised so much funding because backers wanted to buy that specific watch, and Kickstarter will be the only way to get it for quite a while.”

- Thursday Bram | Consultant, Hyper Modern Consulting

Offer Something Tangible

“While you might have a great idea, it won’t necessarily attract an investment. Build something to show off — an early prototype or beta release. Not only does this make your presentation more exciting, but it also lets people know that you’re committed to the project and that their money is going into a credible venture.”

- Michael Tolkin | CEO, Merchant Exchange

Build Your Credibility

“Do what you can to build your professional brand and get word out about your project. Don’t just rely on the sites to help you get a project funded. The more credibility you have and the more people that know about your project, the higher chance of a successful funding round.”

- John Hall | CEO, Influence & Co.

Take It Off-Site Too

“The key to having your project funded is to not rely 100 percent on the funding site. Take it off-site and share it with everyone you know, and find creative ways to get people to head over to the site. Also, lot of people don’t even know what these crowdfunding websites are all about, so educating them on why you’ve chosen this platform and how it works will help build funding security.”

- Erin Blaskie | CEO, Erin Blaskie, Digital Strategist

A Solid Business Plan

“Have a solid, well-developed business plan in writing. Knowing exactly what you want to do with your funding will encourage investors to give you a closer look.”

- Jordan Guernsey | CEO, Molding Box

Tell an Epic Story

“People don’t a product, service or solution; they buy the story that’s attached to it. So tell them a rockin’ story. That includes an origin story of how this idea came to be, a story of why this project is so awesome, and a story of the people behind the project. Ultimately, it’s the story you tell that turns potential fans into true believers.”

- Michael Margolis | President, Get Storied

Build Momentum

“As with a social media competition, getting momentum is critical to funding any project on Indiegogo or another crowdfunding site. Make sure to engage your fans and advocates early on. Provide incentives that demonstrate clear value to your backers. Your goal should be to manufacture an echo-chamber in which your project resonates as THE thing to which people should pay attention.”

- Aaron Schwartz | Founder and CEO, Modify Watches

Share, Share, Share!

“Those who invest in Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects don’t necessarily care about market size or traction as traditional investors do. They want to hear your story — why you are undertaking this project and what it means to you. The more you share, the more potential funders can relate to you. If they can feel your pain and understand the problem you are trying to solve, you’re very likely to get funded.”

- Bhavin Parikh | CEO, Magoosh Test Prep

Convey Your Motivation

“The most critical bit of persuasive information you can impart is “why.” Make sure your network of supporters — family, friends, business associates, fans and anyone else who might potentially donate — clearly understand the intent and reasoning behind your project. People will rally around projects they understand, so you can build support by rousing the passions of potential benefactors. The more emotionally invested they are in the project, the more they are willing to participate, including donation and dissemination.”

- Nick Reese | CEO, Elite Health Blends

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

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