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.
While we wish every great idea that turns to crowdfundng reaches it’s target, the reality is that you probably won’t hit your target. On kickstarter it’s only around 40% of projects that become fully funded and on Indiegogo the rate goes down to only 13.68%! (on the flexible funding option)
In our experience the key factor has been peoples lack of capacity. They simply don’t have the man power to have at least three people or around 15 hours to devote to working on the campaign every single day. Crowdfunding is not a last minute ditch to make some quick cash. It all comes down to your level of preparation, 3-4 months should put you in the right frame. During that time try and increase your social media presence but make sure it’s an engaged following where people and chatting, commenting and liking.
So here are some tips.
On launch day already have 10%.
2/3 of the way in have something new to say/ new angle
Your rewards have to entice and be worth the value your putting on them as well as relevant and of course fun names help!
Have a capacity of at least 15 hours per day to spend on the Crowdfund
In the articles I’ve linked to below they contribute the success to;
making sure you have a video- people like to see who’s behind the great idea for trust and reassurance
Your social media presence pre launch- they showed that the number of your facebook friends is related to the success rates
To try and get featured on the homepage- though this is pretty much up to the platform to decide
Setting your campaign to be 30 days not 60- You’ll get tired and bored just like your fans/customers
It defeats evil on a regular basis, has the majority of songs dedicated to it and if you’re lucky its what gets you up in the morning ( your love for your job that is). In crowdfunding there’s a lot of love, you’ve got to love the product/service your pitching and getting other people to love it too. People want to believe that what you are going to do with their cash is going to make a tangible difference to their world and they need to see the passion and conviction from you that will then lead them to connect emotionally with you and they will naturally want to help you out. It’s what gets them to dig their hands in their pockets.
It’s pretty tough trying to fake love so if you’re not being authentic you’re going to have an uphill battle on your hands. And if you don’t believe in what your doing you’re certainly not going to convince anyone else.
Plus if you’ve got these peoples love then you have to take care of it, to turn it into loyalty (another appropriate L word). You might want to do another crowdfund in the future and if you have used their money and not thanked them for it or shown them what you’ve been able to achieve with it they are unlikely to feel like giving you more. Brewdog are currently on their third equity crowdfund and they couldn’t have done it without an extremely loyal fan-base they’ve nurtured.
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.
The Glasgow Chambers of Commerce recognised the emerging trend of businesses turning to the crowd for funding and wanted to know what the scene was like in Scotland.
At the end of June 2013 the GCC received the hotly awaited report by Twintangibles detailing the crowdfunding market in Scotland.
What was a little surprising was the massive under-utilisation of Crowdfunding in Scotland. In the UK, crowdfunding was worth £200m and so if you were to take 8% of that- as Scotland is 8% of the UK population- you would expect to see about £16m being raised. However there is less than £1m being funded this way. In looking for reasons of this Twintangibles left this open to speculation.
Why aren’t there more platforms and money being raised in Scotland?
Well Scotland is starting its own platform crowd. We have the recently released SquareKnot that is a really flexible platform allowing businesses to choose between a combination of equity,reward based and peer to peer crowdfunding. Then there is reward platform Bloom VC which launched back in 2011 just after our own platform launch (please click here to read further). Next month will see the launch of ShareIn, an equity-based platform based in Edinburgh focusing on tech and bio-tech.
If we look across the water to the more high profile campaigns by Obama, Veronica Mars, Zach Braffs and Smosh they have allowed crowdfunding to become more commonplace in America. Whereas in Scotland the highest profile campaign we have is BrewDog and their excellent Equity for Punks campaign -although strictly speaking that was a public IPO.
It will be interesting to watch out for further research in this area as it could be a number of things- Are Scots just wary? Do we have smaller disposable incomes in the first place? Have they not come across a campaign that moved them? Is it a cultural thing that we’re a bit more reluctant to donate to business?
There are many possible reasons it could be but crowdfunding seems here to stay and as many organisations that hand out grants are looking for innovative ways to fund raise and banks can see it as proving a product or venture has real consumer potential, small businesses need to start getting in touch with the motivations of their customers or else they will be missing out on some serious cash.
This is a great Ted talk by Brian Solis – who you might remember from a previous post on the Conversation Prism. It looks at how technology, in particular social media is affecting capitalism and suggests a Generation C. What’s your relationship with customers like? He advocates that business is not so much business to consumer or business to business but people to people.
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
If your stuck on which crowdfunding platform to choose, the UK Crowdfunding Association (UKCFA) was established in 2012 and has a voluntary code of practice so you can be assured that your money is safe. They go beyond the rules imposed on them by the financial authorities and it gives you more piece of mind as it’s designed to protect those participating in crowdfunding. Members even allow you to have a cooling off period if you decide your donation was misspent.
There are 12 founding members but Trillion Fund have some great youtube videos explaining who they are and the different types of investment available for crowdfunds- the difference between donation, loan and equity. Here is a wonderful video on what crowdfunding is.
Each founding member has a slightly different target market so they can harmoniously work together in this national association;
– Is focused on renewable energy projects.
Bank to the Future
– Raise finance not just by donation/reward/P2P/Equity but a combination of these methods.
-Specialises in social venture crowdfunds.
– Innovative crowdfund platform that began from a story about an egg.
– Is an equity only platform.
– Utilises a reward based crowdfund platform to also call for peoples time and skills.
– Equity based platform for social and environmental businesses.
– A not-for-profit investment platform.
– Specifically for game developers.
– Best for start-ups.
– Connects individuals to existing companies for investment.
– For educational fundraising.
-Renewable energy focused in supplying low carbon energy projects.
We have gone slightly off piste with this post but it was so good that it got to skip the queue! I came across this Ted Talk and it reminded that this is what happens when you are engaging with people on a crowd fund. They believe what you believe and that’s why they want to be a part of it. Make the time to watch it, it’ll be worth it.