Crowdfunding a good idea? ‘You really have to have an authentic story’ | NOW

Crowdfunding literally means: getting money from the public. You tell as many people as possible about your plans and ask if they want to invest in them. But how do you ensure a successful crowdfunding, and isn’t it inconvenient to ask for money?

“It felt a little crazy to ask for money,” says 31-year-old Karen Ertrachter. “You would prefer to pay everything yourself, but I didn’t have the financial space.” The originally New Yorker has lived in The Hague for 4.5 years and dreamed of a cafe with real New York bagels.

She started an online crowdfunding campaign. And with success: the goal of 15,000 euros was more than reached. In the end, she received 30,000 euros from 75 people, including a few loans.

“I really made use of my existing network and provided different options for donations, such as refunds or rewards. For example, with a bagel-making workshop.”

Low-threshold way to raise money

There are four types of crowdfunding. “Based on donations, a reward in return, a loan in exchange for interest or shares,” says independent adviser Bert Wams. According to him, it is increasingly used by entrepreneurs. “They are looking for financing to start or expand their business. That way they are less dependent on the bank.”

“It’s an accessible way to finance a new idea or a new product,” he adds. “Investors can start from a few tens. In addition, due to the low interest rate, it can be an interesting alternative for savings.”

“Trying to fund your trip around the world is completely different from a medical crowdfunding to treat a disease.”

Bert Wams, Independent Advisor

In addition, Wams sees that people also enjoy investing in a company from a social perspective. “For example, a bakery around the corner or a cozy coffee shop, which they help to realize. Crowdfunding creates a special bond between your company and the people who invest money in it. They often become loyal customers.”

So it is socially accepted to start a crowdfunding. “You can see it as a kind of collection where people choose to give of themselves,” says Wams. “But it depends on the goal. Trying to finance your trip around the world is completely different from a medical crowdfunding to treat a disease.”

You must have a good network

Entrepreneurs start their campaign via an online crowdfunding platform. Director Mark Laagewaard of the CrowdAboutNow platform emphasizes the importance of a personal mission and a network to make a campaign successful.

“People often think it’s their private network, but most campaigns are particularly successful with a network of fans, customers and partners. You really have to have an authentic story,” says Laagewaard. “Tell people what you do and why it’s important.”

“80 percent of the campaigns launched complete their crowdfunding with us,” he says. “The majority of the 20 percent who do not reach it do not succeed in activating a network. The trust of this first group is necessary to also reach new people and get them to invest.”

“We have a crowdfunding going on where we will definitely not reach the goal.”

Marianne Kimmel (50) from Saint Martin

Marianne Kimmel (50) from Sint Maarten also knows that a campaign cannot succeed. “We are running a crowdfunding where we will definitely not reach the target,” she says. “It’s for the Project Speak Now Foundation, which is committed to victims of sexual abuse.”

Although she has put time and attention into it, it is difficult to get started. “It’s still taboo and people don’t like to associate with this topic, so they donate anonymously and the story isn’t told.” Kimmel hoped the fundraiser would be a success. “It’s a shame, but we’re still happy with a small amount.”

Do you also want to raise money for a good cause or a company? These five tips will help you on your way:

  1. Start with a clear and authentic story. This pitch shows what the intention of the project is, what will happen with the money and what the possible rewards or fees are for your investors. Also, don’t forget to mention the risks.
  2. Always check whether the desired amount is possible within the planned time. Also calculate the minimum number of people needed for this.
  3. An involved online and offline community is very important in crowdfunding. Mobilize your own network first and make sure everyone is informed. These first investments and possible donations inspire trust in other people.
  4. Use social media to draw attention to your campaign in image and story.
  5. Bring people who support your campaign. For example, by telling us about the progress you are making. How to keep them engaged.

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