Being able to successfully crowdfund your collective is super hard. While you might benefit from some widespread internet love, you still need to find ways to convert their support into actual funding. I’ve done some campaigns myself and to compile these tips I also read suggestions from different forums and sites. I hope they are useful!
Prepare a plan
Yes, it’s boring and we all hate spreadsheets (well, most of us anyway) but having an outreach campaign laid out will go a long way. Make a list of people who might be interested, gather relevant blogs, forums, publications, identify online communities. Divide them in one-off and recurring backers/sponsors and build your strategy. Figure out who in your group is better suited to reach out to each contact. Here is a template you can use, modeled on the one my good friend Ben Knight sent me years ago for DemocracyOS.
Let the world know you exist
Fortunately nowadays no one believes that you can put up a site and people are gonna flock to it. You need to make sure they find out about you! Once your collective is looking amazing and you are ready to go, share it! Make sure you use all your networks and rally your besties to help you spread the love, ask your friends to share, RT, comment, blast… Make sure you reach out to communities who are relevant to your collective. When you pitch to the press, make it personal, don’t send them canned emails. Do a bit of digging around about the journalists’ interests and don’t send the same email to a whole newsroom. Above all, for the love of [insert preference] be nice, be mindful, don’t spam people.
Find your multipliers
Every community has people with a natural following. Reach out to them in particular and ask them to share your collective inside their communities. Taking someone out for a coffee will bring a lot of good karma. Something I learnt while doing Y Combinator: always — but specially at the beginning — do things that don’t scale.
A collective is not a sprint
It’s a marathon. We want collectives to sustain themselves in time, even beyond their original contributors. So pace yourself: set up campaigns, blasts, meetups, parties, during the whole year.
Say thank you
Whenever someone backs/sponsors your collective they will receive an automated thank you email from us on your behalf, but nothing beats a special mention directly from you every now and then.