How to Create Your Own Crowdfunding Profile

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You can raise money online for your project through crowdfunding.
You can raise money online for your project through crowdfunding. (Image: website image by 6922Designer from Fotolia.com)

Crowdfunding is a way to raise money for a project through online fundraising. It serves as an alternative funding source that emphasizes many small donations over a few big ones, and has been codified by platforms like KickStarter, RocketHub and Ulele which let you create a crowdfunding profile, interact with potential backers and process donations. The one drawback to such codified platforms is that they are inflexible. If you have an idea for a crowdfunding project but would like to do things your way, you can do so through your own own website or blog.

Choose a simple home page layout, with a header, main content area, sidebar and footer. If necessary, you can always add other elements later. Give your crowdfunding profile a compelling title. For purposes of brand consistency, make the title the same as the title of the project for which you are raising funds. Insert the title into the header.

Write a short tagline and insert it beneath the title in the header of your crowdfunding profile. The tagline should describe your project in a single phrase and grab the reader's attention (see Resources).

Write an extended description for the main content area. Make it tell a compelling story by following these six points:

  1. Tell who you are, what makes you so interesting, what you've accomplished so far, and what you stand for.

  2. Describe your project or goal as well as product, service and/or activities. Be concrete and project industriousness.

  3. Highlight exciting aspects of your project, including who benefits from it and how it will affect lives. Explain why you are the best or the only organization doing what you do, in the way that you are doing it.

  4. Explain why your project needs money and how additional funding will be used.

  5. List the tangible rewards backers will receive in exchange for putting their trust in you.

  6. Encourage the reader to fund the project. This is called the "action step." Tell them where to go, what to click, what to do, and how to contact you.

This formula generally follows the same description standards proven by crowdfunding industry leaders like Kickstarter and RocketHub.

Develop a tiered list of rewards: the larger the donation, the greater the reward. These can include simple to elaborate online acknowledgements as well as more analog gifts like T-shirt, coffee mugs and keychains. Expect to spend some of your funds on delivering rewards to all your backers as soon as the fundraising concludes.

Set a goal and state the amount in the uppermost portion of the sidebar. The two factors to consider when setting a fundraising goal are project costs and what your networks are potentially worth. Adjust your project goals as necessary and determine an attainable fundraising goal.

Set a deadline for your fundraiser and insert the date in your crowdfunding profile. A deadline shows potential backers you are goal-oriented and lends a sense of urgency to your campaign. Choose a deadline that you can realistically meet within one to six months.

Create a one- to 10-minute video and insert it into the sidebar beneath the stated deadline. However simple or complex it is, make it easy to understand, clean and actionable.Likewise, upload relevant photos and insert them into the main content area of the crowdfunding profile. Videos and images lend extra credibility and tangibility, both of which go a long way towards fostering engagement with potential backers.

Create five more pages for your crowdfunding profile:

  1. "About" page describing you and your project in greater detail
  2. "Acknowledgments" page for listing and thanking your backers
  3. Blog page for keeping your readers in the loop
  4. "More Info" page for miscellaneous and supporting content
  5. Feedback - to facilitate the conversations that are critical to crowdfunding success.

Create a payee account at a payments processing service such as PayPal, Amazon Payments or Google Checkout (see Resources). Insert an easy payment module onto every page of your crowdfunding profile. Be sure to incorporate the rewards into your payment module!

Get the word out. Tell everyone you know about your project, and give them the link to your own crowdfunding profile. Use social media to reach out to your networks and point them to your own crowdfunding profile.

Tips & Warnings

  • As your profile does not have the backing of an official crowdfunding website community, you must work extra hard to show people what you are doing. The benefit, however, is that you get maximum control over how you express and implement your crowdfunding project.
  • Do not offer equity in your business or project. As of this writing, Securities and Exchange Commission regulations state that equity-based crowdfunding constitutes an illegal IPO (inital public stock offering.) Stick to offering rewards, not a financial investment opportunity.

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