A Network Asset Map is the anchor to your campaign. It is your starting point, your reference, as well as your lifeboat when your campaign feels like it’s sinking into oblivion.
There are several ways of compiling a NAM, and it is dependent on whether you like to create visual mind maps, hand-drawn – or whether you are an excel spread sheet fiend. A NAM is simply a list of everybody you know personally and professionally;
Those who owe you a favour (great for thinking up rewards)
Those who owe you money. (great for first day donations)
Those who know somebody who knows somebody who may be interested in what you’re doing,
Those who are influential in your field through blogging or tweeting.
Friends and family
engaged networks in your area of interest
Organise your map into different categories and then split those categories into different methods of communication. There may be some who don’t use twitter or facebook but who are incredibly influential when they pick up the phone. Others may only communicate on LinkedIn or by email.
Next write in comments as to how you know these people and any other comments – this will help you to prioritise.
1 Around 70% of donations on a successful campaign are from friends and family. We take this to mean contacts who know and trust you (they don’t have to be close family and friends), so if you can identify and prepare as many people before you launch the crowdfund, the sooner you will reach 70%. From that point onwards those who don’t know you are more likely to trust your campaign and donate.
2 When things are quiet, you can scroll through your NAM and work out who you haven’t contacted yet. The team behind Medicine’s Dark Secrets had a NAM of 250 contacts. Half way through the campaign and when it was quiet we reminded them to go back to their NAM to see how many people they were still to contact. They still had over 100 to contact. Knowing this revived them, and they went on to exceed their target by over $2,000.
If you want to find out more about creating a Network Asset Map contact us here.
Now the most obvious blog for K would be about a rather famous crowdfunding platform that has in the last year extended into the UK. But no, I was determined to find our own K. So I came up with Killer Ideas. I’ll talk about platforms another time – wait for P!
Killer Ideas are what makes a crowdfund. They are the hook that makes people’s ears prick up, and then entices them to put their hands in their pocket. SoLoCo works on the principle that a crowdfund has pillars that you can base your campaign on as follows:
“hook, social media engagement, network, geography, capacity, reputation and branding”
Of these, the critical pillar is the hook – and if your product or service doesn’t have a hook you need a killer idea within your campaign to make one.
When we crowdfunded with Nucoco we wanted to raise funds to help a chocolate company afford its branding and packaging. At first glance you may feel this would be easy ‘everybody likes chocolate’. But do they like it enough to donate more than the sum of a chocolate bar? The product was delicious, but what would make them stand out from other hand-made chocolate houses? So, we had to create a hook. Our ‘killer idea’ was to sell handmade chocolate and cake bricks that at the end of the campaign would form an edible installation. So we went all Willy Wonka – even to the point of hiding a ‘golden ticket’ worth £1000 in one of the bricks.
If you’re product or service doesn’t make waves, think of your killer idea first and how to build that into your campaign. Remember the social media world is a noisy place. Killer ideas can help you to rise above it and be noticed.
Our friends who make fabulously nutritious pizzas have asked for our help with an idea of theirs. They desperately need a new van to keep up with demand at events for their pizza’s and to be able to go to new events. They thought crowdfunding would be a great way to help them reach their goals, so we have helped them prepare everything that they will need prior to their launch last week.
Whilst they have featured in the TV series The Entrepreneurs, that showed the ups and downs of getting their product to the wider market, and won many awards such as The Scottish EDGE, Best New Product and have also been acknowledged as a business with the highest impact, yet they still face tough challenges. As their blog shows they have had a particularly bumpy ride with their past sampling vans.
Like any crowdfund, there are several challenges faced and the key here is ensuring the tone of voice is appropriate. This is a highly visible start-up and they have their products in several supermarkets. However, they are still a start-up, and finding smaller amounts of funds for new projects is a massive challenge. Remember Nucoco? We crowdfunded £12,000 for their branding and packaging for the same reasons.
SoLoCo have helped with their campaign strategy, rewards and social media strategy up until the launch. Eat Balanced have taken it on from there, and I think they have hit exactly the right tone of voice, producing fun imagery to show what the funds can buy. It won’t be easy, but it is one to watch. I wish them well!
If you would like to support them and get your name on their new van – or spend a day with the Eat Balanced team and Professor Lean tasting pizzas, click here.
What’s under your feet? Could you be living above an undiscovered Roman settlement?
Archaeology Scotland are celebrating an important time in their calendar- Scottish Archaeology Month- and to kick it off they are planing a dig of national significance. The residents of Fairmilehead are being asked to explore a square metre of their gardens to dig for evidence of Roman habitation. Due to conflicting historical maps a group of archaeologists believe that a temporary Roman Settlement could have set up camp in this area. These findings would fill in the missing piece of a trail of roman settlements found across lowland Scotland.
The dig is mostly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund but for Archaeology Scotland to really do everything they want for the weekend they need to raise an additional £1500. SoLoCo is helping by giving them the tools and knowledge they will need to engage with their existing membership as well as by reaching out to new members to explore community archaeology; skilling up people interested in the past with the know-how to find hidden treasures in their own back garden, without needing a huge team of archaeologists behind them.
Contributors to the Roman Quest weekend will be taught how to dig and identify remains, they will also be invited to the end of weekend party and will get the chance to see what has been discovered and what those findings mean. And for those who fund £150 they can participate in a private dig with a Roman historian at their side.
The more households who can participate, the more information they can gather for the archaeologists and historians. If you live in that area, or know someone who does and want to join in then please contact Dianne Laing at Archaeology Scotland.
If you would like to contribute to the fund and join the after dig party, just click here!
Last month saw FirstPort’s Founders Fund successfully complete a crowdfund raising £4235, which was £1235 over their target. So, how did they do it?
SoLoCo helped them to work out their messaging, campaign strategy, social media strategy and appropriate platform to raise funds for the ‘Barry Ayre Award’, an award won by social enterprise City of Play.
The £3,000 target was to celebrate the achievements of the outgoing Chair and Founder of First Port, Barry Ayre as well as those of social entrepreneurs who FirstPort have supported over the years.
So this is what we did.
Helped to Create a Network Asset Map of all the social enterprises supported by FirstPort as well as other social enterprise network organisations in Scotland.
Identified the appropriate messaging based on the SoLoCo crowdfunding pillars: reputation, branding, social media engagement, networks, geography and hook.
Identified relevant rewards
Identified the appropriate platform – in this case buzzbnk.
Challenges and our solution.
Having identified the networks and how to communicate with them, we wanted to work on a strategy that counteracted the ‘big dip’, the time half way through a crowdfund where activity tends to ease off. The aim is to find something that will re-energise the campaign; you want to attract new audiences without boring those who funded you in the early stages and you really want to keep the momentum going.
Because the crowdfund was for an award, we announced the shortlist two weeks before the end, and those who donated could also vote for who they wanted to win, which meant that the friends and families of the shortlisted entrepreneurs wanted to join in and share the crowdfund too.
Really work on your network Asset Map. Are there people who you know you can call on to donate on Day 1. There is nothing worse than seeing a crowdfund with no money in it’s first week.
Work out what your hook is – why will people want to stick their hands in their pocket for you?
Make sure your rewards are relevant to your campaign. T-shirts and wristbands may be easy to organise, but is it really something that your target market wants?
What can you do half way through the crowdfund to revitalise the campaign, bring in a new audience? (if you’re bored, so are your followers!)
Ask around from other people who’ve crowdfunded – what is the customer service, technology been like to use?
If you have an idea and would like some help to crowdfund it contact us here
When you “don’t know what to do”, you seek information. Then you may know what to do, but the danger is you don’t do it. So, what we want to focus on is the WHEN to do it” because this helps you to avoid procrastination. The infuriating “should I” “could I” thoughts that take over your mental processes and permit you to rationalise your procrastination, delay your action to accomplish your goal.
If you check out the timeline at the bottom of the page you’ll see what you do in different stages of a crowdfund, from the pre-planning, all the way till after the crowdfund. We find this helpful when helping to coordinate successful campaigns. The colour differentiates the different stages, the upper block that runs consistently throughout is your engagement – We see honest engagement with your audience and networks as a core to sustainable enterprise development.
We have assumed that in the initial strategic planning stage you have already vetted your project/ idea as a good Crowdfunding opportunity (if you don’t know, ask us as we can help you to assess the feasibility of your project). Each stage prior to the crowdfunding is extensive in itself and deserves full attention to detail.
In summary, use this timeline to assess where you are in your process and what you need to do to get to the next stage. If you need any help, get in touch.
In crowdfunding and engagement campaigns this ‘calm’ isn’t so tantalising. We can’t stress more about our shiver of concern with regards to the pro-active and enthusiastic crowdfunder who only focuses on the things they’ll need for their profile page. He makes a compelling video, has a fair product and writes about his vision, and does a little due diligence in choosing an appropriate platform. Hastily, he jumps on, uploads, and sits on the edge of his seat and waits. With his fingers crossed, he envisions the success and the potential of the next 8 weeks of his campaign. However often, at this point nothing happens.
SoLoCo, was originally a crowdfunding platform, and we have seen this happen often! SO – why does it happen and what are things you can do to prevent it?
Is it a bad project? A lack of passion? One thing for sure is it’s not pessimism. One P-word to address today is the ‘Pre’. The Pre is for that meticulous part before the crowdfund. Assuming that all variables are fair; project, personality, vision, etc. The campaign should unfold to be a success; however, as ever your preparation and a well thought-out strategy is huge and will enable you to really launch your project with the momentum necessary to achieve your goal. In a well thought-out marketing strategy for crowdfunding there is always one primary emphasis – how and who can you engage with.
If you are curious or pro-active about doing this, then start by grabbing a sheet of paper and brainstorming all the contacts that you know. This means; business contacts, twitter followers, friends, family, friends of friends, linked-In members, associations you’re part of, etc; all folks that might be interested or that can help out; anybody who you know who is influential. These fundamental networks will be the foundation to the success of your project, they will stimulate the momentum and the seemingly ‘big hit’ effect that will trigger the followers to reach out after the crowdfund is launched. Remember people don’t just jump on a platform with £20 and think who am I going to help out today. So you want to aim to have a fifth or even a quarter of your goal already donated before the campaign is launched – that way, when it is launched people are drawn to your immediate success. After all, people want to be part of the next big thing, right?
I certainly am filling large shoes talking about this subject. I know there is already a tonne of information about which crowdfunding platforms to use and the differences in their perks.
Envisioning how you’re going to attract your early adopters, that stage of raising capital and literally bursting into the live .com stage is often quite a daunting and exhilarating thought, wouldn’t you say?
Despite the whole crowdfunding topic becoming quite a saturated space online, today I want to raise a couple of thoughts. Things to consider when it comes to YOU and the “Platform Choosing Time”. We all know that there are a dozen plus platforms available. Each platform provides a slightly different reach, has a couple of percentage points different with regards to the fee for hosting, and hosts for community specific genres and locations.
Dealing with numerous clients, this is always an interesting topic of conversation. We advise you to assess your choice through the segmentation of your audience; demographically, geographically and through your audiences values, ie. Where they’re based, what they believe in and things like they’re income, nationalities, gender and age – Think, what kind of person uses my product/ service?
Consider this; your value proposition is for your audience so it makes total sense to position yourself most visibly in all aspects or your segmentation. Secondly consider the purpose of your crowdfund – Are you looking to raise money through sharing equity or aim to raise money through donations or is your business considering the crowdfunding model purely for an engagement campaign?
We’ve made a Segmentation takeaway for you to jot some notes and thoughts down to help you decide which platform is best for you.
Here are some crowdfunding platforms that you may want to consider;
We are developing a series of crowdfunding and engagement workshops.
If you are thinking about crowdfunding but have no idea where to start, we run full day workshops through out Scotland.
The format of these workshops will be interactive, and we will need a minimum of 15 participants for each. You will get the chance to simulate a crowdfund at breakneck speed. So, be prepared! By the end you will have a better understanding as to how to communicate with a wider audience, what they think of what you’re saying, and what to put into your communications plan….
The cost of the workshop is £100 per person and includes lunch. If you would like help with funding for this, please visit the Skills Development Scotland site. For further details or to note your interest please Click Here to contact us by email.