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Archive for September, 2013

Kate grabbing a quick moment to work on her campaign

Kate grabbing a quick moment to work on her campaign

My wife Kate has been running a crowdfunding campaign on StartSomeGood over the last three weeks, to launch the first offering from her yoga-focused social enterprise, Yoga for Change.

It’s been inspiring to watch her prepare, launch and run her campaign, and I couldn’t be prouder of her for her success in reaching her full goal of $2,000. This will allow her to set up her social enterprise, purchasing insurance, getting her first aid certificate and investing in mats to take to her classes, then running 5 morning classes at Hub Sydney from November 4-8, as part of The Changemakers Festival. (As of this writing the campaign has 16 hours to run so you can still contribute and get some great rewards!).

Watching the way she’s made this happen has given me a new appreciation for the work we’re doing at StartSomeGood to support emerging changemakers like Kate. As most of you know we have a 13 month-old who Kate has been taking care of full-time. So she only has limited snatches of time to work on her campaign when Bodhi is sleeping or with relatives. This is not so different from many of those using our site to pursue their dreams I think. While most wouldn’t have toddlers underfoot necessarily they often have full-time jobs they’re holding down while working on their social initiative on the side.

Watching Kate juggle her various responsibilities has made me see the importance of the way we approach things, and has been a good example of some of the techniques that help crowdfunding campaigns succeed. Here are a few things I’ve thought about:

You have to be brave

I remember when Kate’s campaign went live. She’d be preparing for this moment for weeks. She had good rewards and a solid plan. She’d lined up her first donors. But when the campaign was suddenly live on the internet she looked at me and said “I suddenly feel scared.” Crowdfunding is scary. You have to put yourself and your ideas out there. You have to do something people are often bad at, which is ask for help. You have to be personal and therefore vulnerable.

Only those who have the courage to try have the possibility of success.

It has to be easy (enough)

With Kate only having limited bits of time to make this happen it was abundantly clear to me how important ease of use and communicate is. A crowdfunding platform like StartSomeGood allows people to set themselves up and offer something to their community much more quickly and easily than setting up your own website and then driving everyone to it. That allows entrepreneurs to get on with telling their story and inspiring support without worrying about the technical stuff. Crowdfunding isn’t easy, it definitely takes hard work as Kate would attest, but where we can make it easier that’s what we’ll strive to do!

Support and advice matters

One of our values is being a partner to all those looking to use our site. This means we’re not just a self-serve platform, we’re a collaborator. We offer advice, suggestions and encouragement to all the projects using our site to help increase their chance of success. For Kate I think our advice around rewards and storytelling has made a difference.

Offer real rewards

Kate’s campaign offers rewards of real value. Obviously passes to the actual yoga classes but also tank-tops with “Yoga: Be the Change” on them and lovely sustainable yoga matts. With a business Kate is able to access wholesale rates, allowing her to offer these mats at approximately what they cost at retail, making it really easy for anyone thinking they’d like a new mat to purchase one via her campaign. She didn’t try to ramp the price up to maximise her return, she priced it according to what the market was used to paying.

When setting her campaign up she was undecided about whether to offer metal drink bottles or tank tops. She put the question out to her community on facebook and got 20 responses running heavily in favour of the tank tops, so that is what she offered. That’s 20 people who had input into her campaign and probably felt a greater sense of involvement than they would have otherwise, making them more likely to then contribute (to get the tank top they said they wanted).

Be generous

As part of her promotion Kate has written guest blogs for a couple of yoga studies, to better reach the Sydney yoga tribe. She’s done a lunchtime talk on personal sustainability at the Hub, the better connect with the people who work there. She’s also been running free yoga classes for friends in our home studio for the past couple of months, encouraging their generosity in return when her campaign launched.

Give of yourself and others will give back to you. Support your tribe and they will support you back.

Thank you to everyone who supported Kate’s campaign, I can’t wait to do yoga with many of you in November!

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