Saturday, May 17, 2014

How to successfully manage a crowdfunding campaign

We have worked on a number of crowdfunding projects and can offer the following guidelines. 
It is helpful to think of a crowdfunding project as a long-duration project, even if it is only three months long. Given this, "it is critical there be a continual flow of accurate information from team members, managers, partners, and the crowd concerning your project. Yet, our experience is that, almost invariably, bad news concerning how a crowdfunding project is tracking doesn't get to noticed until it is too late to do anything about it.
Most projects are run by one or two people, so this might be seen as surprising. Why is this? If we're talking about a project with a one or two-month duration, the temptation to ignore bad news is great. "Surely, the self-justification goes, we can work really hard, send a few emails, and things will come back on track. Surely, we can send some better tweets and make it up. Surely we can grab some attention somehow." 
So how best to deal with this? First and foremost, recognize the human realities of crowdfunding. Then develop and follow a plan to recognize and deal with bad news. In particular:
  • Never kill the messenger. Whatever the source of information (project managers, friends, email comments, tweets, blog postings) read them. Forward them to your team. Talk about them. "If you allow yourself to vent frustration and disappointment on the tool/person who brings a developing problem to your attention, nobody will."
  • Always ask specific questions. "If the core of your (crowdfunding) project status review meeting consists of 'So, how are we doin'?', the answer will almost always be 'Doin' great!' Instead ask questions like, 'What do we need to do to make a compelling video? Hell, have we completed the video? Have we gotten all of our emails out inline with our email plan? How is that tweet I sent yesterday doing? How can I make it better?'
  • Make it a habit to follow up initial broad questions with several more detailed and specific ones. Even if the answers to the above questions are yes, do not leave it at that. Instead, follow up with something like, "Does that mean the tweets are being favorited? How many emails did we send?"
  • "Do not wait for major milestone dates to arrive before asking for project status information. Treat every duration between milestones as if it were a project in itself, with the upcoming milestone as the terminal date. This minimizes the tendency for you to think you have plenty of time to make up for schedule slippage and budget overrun(s)."
  • "Do not throw fits when you get bad news. No matter how you're really feeling, keep a calm outward appearance and concentrate on developing workaround plans...Maintain an air of, 'We're all in this together', not one of, 'Get this straightened out, or get ready to hit the road!' "
  • Do not rely entirely on your crowdfunding project managers to evaluate project status. Spend time (hours) every day on the campaign page in order to see for yourself what is happening and what isn't. (This assumes, of course, that you understand what you're looking at.)
"None of these suggestions will be entirely new to you. Indeed, you can probably add several more to the list on your own. The suggestions are, however, worthwhile to refresh in one's mind from time to time, because they are too easily forgotten, or at least ignored in the day-to-day press of issues and problems." 
By following them religiously you will increase the chance of crowdfunding success. (Taken from an article titled "Why Executive Management Doesn't Get Bad News Until It's Too Late to Do Anything About It" by Phil Freidman.)

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