SeizeTheCrowd’s first campaign, Neighborhoodies on SmallKnot, finished up yesterday and was a big success all around. Their goal was $7500 and ended up raising $9450 from 72 different investors. I’m very happy for Lori and her team and proud of Josh (marketing/PR) and Dave (video) for helping them achieve this success. So, what’d they do right?
- Strong community-centric message: Neighborhoodies’ was raising money to fund a new line of higher-end sweatshirts but the message of the campaign was more about the social impact of supporting the new line. Namely, Neighborhoodies plans to do their production in Brooklyn, where they’re located, and contract with single mothers on a flexible basis. While the new line was prominent in their video and text pitches, I think they made the right move in emphasizing the ‘local economic stimulus’ aspect since it gave backers a common link beyond an interest in cool sweatshirts bought at a discount.
- Strong pre-launch effort: It’s well-known that the first 1/4 to 1/3 of a campaign’s supporters will come from the campaigner’s personal and professional networks. That is, strangers jump in and support only after they see that others have been willing to put their money down. To get the ball rolling campaigns need to do off-line pre-launch sales to their core supporters and make sure that this core group is ready to go when the campaign launches officially. Neighborhoodies did a good job with this.
- Intra-campaign flexibility and excitement: Another well-known fact of crowdfunding is that campaigns tend to stall a bit after the initial excitement has worn off and before the frantic final days begin. I’ve thought a lot about strategies to make the boring middle a bit more exciting and think that Neighborhoodies did a good job in this area. They tweeted and posted to FB regularly and, interestingly, they came up with exciting “news” to share with their community. A lot of the news came out of partnerships with other Brooklyn companies: The Mutual sweetened the rewards by offering free membership to campaign backers, others stepped in by offering to a host a party, et cetera. Each of these partnerships provided good reasons for Neighborhoodies to contact their community and effectively expanded their network since each of these partner-allies had an incentive to support the campaign.
As I said, I’m extremely proud of everyone who worked on this and am grateful to Neighborhoodies for the opportunity!