Crowdfunding ABCs: G is for Goal Setting

We all know that proper goal-setting is a critical part of your crowdfunding campaign success strategy. There are a ton of great posts (like this one) on how to set goals, so I’m not going to belabor those basics.

On this subject, however, there are two concepts I’d like you to ponder in a bigger sense when you’re strategizing for your campaign.

(1) One goal? S T R E T C H it out. Consider the strategy of enticing contributors to reaching beyond your original goal with multiple, or stretch goals. Essentially, a stretch goal refers to any target set beyond a campaign’s original design, as described by CrowdClan’s Michael Ibberson. In other words, he says, it is not necessary for a campaign to achieve their stretch goals in order to cash-out. Some of the biggest ever crowdfunding campaigns have employed stretch goal strategies.

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Don’t try this at home, kids!

So how does it work? You set your campaign goal (let’s say to design and print your book for $10,000), but you let contributors know that if your goal is met, and you go over by $500, you’ll be able to make limited edition prints of the cover artwork; another $2000, and you will be able to design and produce the e-book version. Another $2500 and you will be able to do a limited tour of the book and offer home-based literary salons in contributors’ homes. A $10,000 campaign thus becomes a $15,000 campaign…but, you proceed to future goals only after previous targets have been met.

This strategy is valuable for several reasons. First, potential contributors see that you are committing to involving them in the process of the project. You don’t proceed to Goal 2 until the funds for Goal 1 have been raised, ensuring that you have the capacity to do the next phase of the campaign.

If you reach Goal 1, you proceed to Goal 2. Let’s say you aren’t able to complete Goal 2, and so the pledges for Goal 2 are returned, but you keep the money for Goal 1. This means you can do your research trip, but will have to then do another campaign at another time, find alternative financing for the online survey, or do it another way that is less costly.

You can stay in touch with the contributors and those who sign up to be kept abreast of the project’s progress (even if they don’t contribute initially). In this way, once you’ve completed your Goal 1, you can come back to them. Often when contributors see that a promise to use funds has been undertaken successfully, it builds their confidence in you and the project, and they’ll be more likely to take a second look at Goal 2 and so forth.

Stretch goals are all about building contributor confidence and being fiscally responsible.

(2) Money only targets: Think beyond the dollar sign. If you’re only thinking about short term financial goals you’re dramatically under-utilizing the power of crowdfunding. Crowdfunding isn’t only for financial gain. That may not even be the most valuable asset you acquire from your campaign efforts.

Ask yourself these kinds of questions, and set related goals for real crowd-funding über-value:

  • How will you amass email addresses & permission to communicate after the campaign with those who are drawn to your campaign, whether or not they participate in it?
  • How will you build buzz for your product/service/message/ideas as part of the longer term brand growth strategy?
  • How can you ensure that your “in crowd” of friends, family and colleagues become allies in communicating about you and your campaign to their networks for long-term audience-building (again, whether or not they participate in the campaign itself)?
  • Are there additional personal or organizational branding messages you can convey on the coattails of the campaign for added marketing leverage?

UntitledIf you think in macro terms of what a crowdfunding goal is or should be rather than micro terms, you broaden the value of the undertaking considerably. From short-term to long-term; from merely financial to deeper ROI on multiple levels, crowdfunding has many more benefits than turning a buck in 30 days. The opportunity is too great to be wasted on, yes, I’m going to say it…just money.

And if you happen to be one of the majority who don’t make your entire financial goal, what else do you have to show for all of your planning and execution efforts if you haven’t set those broader goals, hmm? Think about it!

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