Prove demand for your product, your service, your mission, your vision, or your dream before you invest in supply. Test product-market fit without spending thousands of your own dollars to create a thing that nobody wants to buy into.
Drive much-needed, debt-free capital (cash) into your bank account to build your pilot, prototype, or proof of concept.
Pre-tail a product so you don't have to put up the cash to create the inventory. Instead, you are going to pre-sell the product or service to your first customers and fans!
Drive sales and marketing, or test a new product line in your already existing business.
Think about crowdfunding as a "bridge fund" of money you can use while you are raising an angel or seed round, i.e. cash to keep you going so you can continue to build your product.
Build buzz, awareness, and press through all of the content marketing you are going to do during your crowdfunding campaign.
Avoid going into debt funding your dream. Rewards-based crowdfunding on IFundWomen drives immediate cash into your bank account so you can get your idea off the ground.
Glossary of terms
Angels are typically wealthy individuals who invest in early-stage companies, in exchange for equity.
A campaign update is a direct message, in the form of an email you send from your campaign to all of your funders, at the same time, to tell them how you are progressing in your campaign. It's a smart idea to send one update per week so your funders can stay informed.
Crowdfunding is when you raise money for your startup, your small business, your passion project from a lot of people, typically in small increments of money.
Ownership of your company. IFundWomen is a rewards-based crowdfunding platform, so you are NOT selling equity in your company. This is important to understand, and why rewards-based crowdfunding is the best first step in getting your startup some seed funding. You will retain ownership of your company because you are NOT selling equity, i.e. ownership in your company.
Friends, Family, Followers, but really, everyone you have ever known in your life, and their extended network.
When you keep however much money you raise, regardless of your goal. You should choose flexible funding if your project can scale up or down, and you can deliver on your campaign promises even if you raise less than your goal.
Funders are generous people, who you know IRL, who will contribute cash to your IFundWomen campaign. You do not owe your funders anything in return for their contribution, except a) delivering on the promise you made in your campaign and b) a reward if they purchased one.
In real life. Most of the funding in your campaign will come from people you know IRL. It is rare when people give money to strangers to help start their businesses.
A loan is money you have to pay back, typically with interest. The funds you earn from your iFundWomen campaign are NOT a loan. You do not have to pay anyone back.
Stuff you sell, like your product or your service, early access to your app, branded artwork, or merch for the expressed purpose of raising money for your crowdfunding campaign.
A seed round is typically the first or second round of equity financing a company raises. Seed rounds are most often funded by venture capitalists who work in companies called VCs.
Slack is a communication tool that IFundWomen uses to communicate with entrepreneurs. The IFundWomen Slack Network is a tremendous resource for our entrepreneurs where they collaborate, ask questions, and share their fundraising successes.
Venture capital is financing that investors provide to startup companies, in exchange for equity, that are believed to have long-term growth potential.
Purchase a domain name/website for your business (if you don't already have one).
Create a lovely website that is on-point for your brand. Squarespace or Wix are easy to use website creators where you do not need to know how to code to create a pretty website.
Build up your social media presence. If you’re not already on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter now is the time to join. Don't make yourself nuts trying to rock every social platform. Pick two and be great at those that you choose.
Create and grow your email list. We use MailChimp because it's simple to use and free up to a certain number of customers.
Join and get involved in Facebook groups that are relevant to your brand. Start mixing and mingling with influencers on Instagram and LinkedIn in your business category.
Successfully crowdfunding is all about planning and preparation. Your pre-launch planning phase should be no less than three weeks if you are going to do it right. During this time, your focus should be on growing your network, telling everyone about your idea and building up your following. The more people that know about you, your brand and your concept, the better chance you will have of converting friends into funders. Do not rush your campaign preparation. It is essential to put in the pre-work before you launch.
When preparing for your crowdfunding campaign, the first and most important exercise is honing your pitch. As a Founder, it is your job to be able to articulate the mission of your company and the problem your product/service is solving, making sure whoever is listening fully understands why your business needs to exist.
A perfect pitch is not only extremely valuable for your crowdfunding campaign, but it’s also critical to getting your first customers, and eventually securing your next round of funding after your campaign.
Use either The IFundWomen Method Playbook to hone your pitch or this pitch honing template download.
You will hear us say this a lot: There are no magical money elves in crowdfunding, and in life. We wish there were, but there aren’t! And that’s OK. It’s better to know that now, then to think that those darned elves are waiting for you.
The majority of the people who contribute to your campaign are going to be people you know, so it’s important for you to evaluate your network ahead of launching your campaign.
Network mapping provides you with a realistic idea of how much money you can raise through your campaign. It's not an easy task, but it’s the best thing you can do to ensure you set yourself up for success.
Importantly, it gives you control over your crowdfund, and takes the emotion out of wondering who is going to support you, and actually puts pen to paper to map it out for you.
Use The IFundWomen Method Network Map to figure out who will support your campaign and hone in on your goal.
Crowdfunding rewards are the products and services you offer through your crowdfunding campaign, at different price points, in exchange for monetary contribution from your funders.
Crowdfunding rewards can be your product, your service, merch, fun swag, your side hustle, and basically anything you can monetize on your campaign page to get your crowdfunding campaign funded!
Your rewards should speak to the interests and needs of your network, and the network map that you just completed will tell you who your funders are and what they might want to buy.
Using the IFundWomen Method Playbook's Rewards P&L will help you figure out what rewards you are going offer and the pricing. At the end of this exercise, you will determine your campaign goal amount. If gross revenue and goal amount don’t match for your campaign, there is work to be done to expand your network or rethink your rewards strategy to get those numbers to line match. Remember, don’t pick a goal out of thin air!
A crowdfunding campaign is a force function for building out a marketing strategy for both your campaign and your business. There are some basic marketing principles to keep in mind as you prepare for your crowdfunding campaign:
Decide what you want your audience to “Think, Say, Do”
Get a head start. Start marketing your campaign early and often. Your campaign launch should not be a surprise to your network.
The Give, Give, Get mentality and 80/20 rule applies here as well. Make sure when you’re building your marketing strategy that you’re implementing ways to add value to your network in addition to making the ask.
Test, Learn, Iterate. While it’s great to plan ahead and have your marketing ready to go for your campaign, it’s equally important to keep an eye on what’s working and what isn’t. Adjust the language you’re using in social posts. If you’re noticing that your network really engages with a type of content, switch up your content strategy to ensure they receive more of that.
Incorporate a clear call to action with a link to campaign in all outreach.
Download these resources to get started with crowdfunding marketing:
My Communities worksheet
Audience messaging worksheet in The IFundWomen Method Playbook
Your pitch video is extremely important because it represents you and your brand. You are raising money to fund your business, so your video must look professional and polished. Here are 10 tried and tested tips on how to make a winning pitch video. Make sure to download the DIY video production checklist to help you plan your video.
Your pitch video should be under 3 minutes. People just don't have time to watch anything longer. If it takes you longer than 3 minutes to succinctly explain your idea, you need to stop and work on that elevator pitch before even thinking about making a video.
You may think everyone on social media knows about your passion project, but don’t assume people already know what your campaign is all about. Make sure your video answers these questions: Who are you? What is your idea? Why should we care? How much money are you raising? What exactly will you spend the money on? When do you expect your product to be finished?
Most likely, someone on planet earth, at some point, has done a crowdfunding campaign for a similar product. Search Google for crowdfunding videos in your category, and take notes on what seemed to work.
Writing your video script serves multiple purposes. First, it organizes your thoughts into a cohesive elevator pitch. This is important for your video, and when you explain the project in real life to potential supporters. Second, it forces you to keep your pitch video on point, in terms of both length and messaging. Finally, a script will show you what supplemental imagery you will want in your video to further help explain your idea. For script inspo, check out Cindy Gallop's video. #FundingFact: Cindy raised a $2M seed round after she crowdfunded on IFundWomen.
You need an opening that grabs the attention of your potential funders. Getting right to the point with a straightforward appeal is the best way to do this, like this one by ezza salon co-founders Alle Breuer & Kimberly Marsh, who BTW, raised a seed round after their IFundWomen Crowdfunding campaign!
Your funders want to see your face and hear your story from you. Why? Face time establishes trust, so don't just show us your project, show your audience the woman behind the idea. Here's a good example from Chef Amanda Yee.
Your funders want to know that you are an expert in your passion area, so prove it by showing photos, video clips, or testimonials of your work. Have you been quoted in the press about your topic? Great! Take a screenshot, and use the press clip in your video. Anything to establish your street cred in your field will help funders have confidence that you can pull off your project. Equality For Her Founder, Blair Imani did an excellent job of telling her story using imagery and video clips.
Make sure you are heard clearly. Sound quality is important, but don't let this scare you off – it's super easy and cheap to record a video with good sound quality. Spend $15 bucks and purchase a simple lavalier mic. that plugs right into your smartphone or DSLR camera. Find a quiet space to record your video. Use subtitles or captions in your video, so that people watching on Facebook with the sound off can understand what you are saying. Like this one.
Adding music that matches the vibe of your brand is an easy way to spice up your video. If you are using iMovie, there are free music tracks that you can lay under your project. It really makes a difference.
First, you should upload your video to Vimeo, make sure your privacy setting is on "anyone", and paste the link into your iFundWomen page. We like Vimeo because your audience won't see any annoying ads running before your video. If you are YouTube savvy, and you know how to turn OFF your monetization settings for your pitch video, and you prefer to do that, then go for it! We accept both Vimeo and YouTube videos. Once your campaign is live on iFundWomen, you should post your pitch video to Facebook, in the Facebook player, and shorter clips on Instagram, IG Stories, Linkedin, Snapchat, and wherever your audience lives! Sophie Ellsberg, Director of Old Habits, did a great job of posting video clips, images, and .gifs all over the Internet to get to her goal.
Your page helps your funders connect with you, and your idea, to help them understand why you are asking for their money. More information is better – information about you, your company, your team, your creative process, your business, your product or service, links to any press you’ve received, your sketches – anything that can help potential funders imagine what you are trying to create or grow. For inspiration, check out some of these beautiful and informative campaign pages:
1 - Featured Image: 1280 x 720 pixels
2 - Campaign Title: 40 characters
3 - Campaign Tagline: 140 characters
4 - Pitch: Consider this a blog post, complete with beautiful images, infographics, and text, that accurately conveys what your business and campaign are all about.
5 - Rewards: Incentives or thank you’s for funding your campaign.
Ok, so you're ready to launch your campaign!
You've honed your pitch, mapped your network, built your rewards, shot your video, planned your marketing, and designed your page. She ready!
Download this Campaign Launch Checklist to make sure the final housekeeping items you need to take care of before hitting publish on your campaign are done!
We suggest that when someone funds your campaign, you email the funder and thank them for supporting you. If they purchased a reward, ask them for their address and send their reward out right away. More about your rewards below.
iFundWomen has an exportable Funder Report that tells you the "who, what, how much, and where" of people who supported your campaign. Please be aware that many people speed through the checkout process, and do not put in their shipping address or make a size/color selection, so you will need to follow up with your funders to get this information if they do not supply it at checkout.
To find the Funder Report:
Create a simple Google form that captures the address and the size/color selection of rewards, and send that out immediately to your funders. This form can serve as both a thank you note and as data collection, for you to fulfill your rewards easily.
The information in these Funder Reports will include the name of the funder, the dollar amount they contributed, the reward they chose, their email address, their shipping address (if they entered it at checkout), and any notes on size or color of the reward.
These reports are constantly updated, so be sure you are consistently looking to see who funded your campaign, and who you need to thank.
Be sure to send your rewards out in a timely fashion to show your supporters how grateful you are for their contribution to your campaign!