People who dream about a different world often don’t have another way of discovering their path other than just going out and doing it. We call it making the path by walking. For many fellow change makers and pioneering leaders, you’ll know just what this is like: that fine line between being “ready”, and just giving it a go. Yes being prepared is important, but in our experience if you wait until you’re 100% ready you can often risk not doing anything at all. Sometimes you have to just take the plunge and dive right in.
And that’s what we just did! We recently decided to jump into the crowd funding world – the online fundraising tool that emerged a few years ago that allows you to raise small amounts of money from a large pool of people. We were inspired by the success of projects like the one of our friends over at FlowHive, who launched the project on Kickstarter and met their $100,000 goal a month later.
While our campaign didn’t take off quite as much the others, we still believe it was successful: we learned a lot, we raised over $17,000 to support work that we believe will have a huge positive impact on the world, and we had fun while doing it!
And since many of you were part of making this campaign a success, we thought we’d share with you a little of what we learned about this experience.
- BE PREPARED
It’s the Scout’s motto, and it turns out it’s just as relevant here in the online world. In the lead-up to our online campaign, we spent a lot of time researching and studying, developing a strategy, finding out who key influences were. We spent about a month doing it, but in hindsight we probably could have spent even longer getting prepared.
- COMMUNICATION IS KEY
The highlight of the campaign for us is the video (that we produced ourselves). It was our first attempt to really communicate this ambitious, game-changing project to the world. This video got more hits then anything that we’ve ever done before, and got a lot of conversations started about Communiversity. High five. However, what we did notice that not everyone was watching the video through to the end. That’s right, we live in the age of short attention spans! Short. Simple. Messaging. That’s key. So we’re going back to the drawing board to work out how to get the message even shorter. You can expect a couple of bite-sized videos coming out over the next few months.
- WORK THE NETWORKS
Social networks are key. We kept up constant communication on our social network community, connecting with key influencers who were able to help us spread the word more. Over the course of our campaign, we increased our Twitter followers by 140%, and had 160% more Facebook engagement than previously.
- CROWD FUNDING NEEDS….WELL, A CROWD!
This may sound obvious, but it wasn’t so obvious to us until we had jumped right in. Our goal was $75,000 which, in the crowd funding world, is in the order of $10 from 7,500 people. But we don’t yet have that many followers, so we had to rely on those that know and trust us to reach out to their networks. Many of you did that, thank you, which allowed us to reach $17,286 so far.
It’s not easy. Our work isn’t as straightforward as building an orphanage or feeding the hungry. Our focus is on address the root cause of the problem through systemic change, so that those conditions no longer exist.
The message isn’t nearly as simple or sexy, but that’s our challenge if we want to do better next time around. We have to find a way to make our message heard through the myriad of messages out there, learn to use viral hacks that get that message in front of millions, appeal to those millions in under a minute. It’s a complex art, but we are committed to mastering it. One way or another, the SERES Communiversity is going to become a reality. Nothing is capable of stopping our stubborn search for a better world.