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So You Missed Your Crowdfunding Goal, What Now?

You took a chance, put yourself out there, and like what can sometimes happen when a mother bird shoos her baby out into the big world, it didn’t fly. Somehow, the wings didn’t spread, it didn’t get enough momentum, and you’re left feeling dejected. If your first crowdfunding campaign doesn’t reach its funding goal, it’s easy to be disappointed. If you’re not disappointed, it’s likely you didn’t have much skin in the game to start with. But like anything else, a failed first attempt could actually act as the foundation for a successful second attempt. As they say, if at first you don’t succeed…

Step One: Take a deep breath and accept it. What’s done is done.

Before you move forward, it is really important to acknowledge that somewhere, something wasn’t quite right. Still, your campaign most likely wasn’t a complete failure, so your next step is to to review what you got right and what you could’ve done better. This is a good habit to get into whenever you wrap up any project you’ve been working on.

It’s easiest to look on the bright side and start with some wins when you’re doing this internal audit. Ask yourself:

  • Which strategies did you employ that did work?
  • Which tactics paid off in the end?
  • What was the major motivation for the donors that did contribute?
  • Out of your whole campaign, what are you proud of?
  • Understanding what you did well isn’t just to numb the pain, it will give you an idea of where to improve when you double up and relaunch. Too often those who are knocked down simply stay down, and they shut down the original vision entirely, which should definitely not be the case. The key is to learn to roll with the punches and rebuild rather than be broken by failure. Sometimes it takes a few iterations for something to become successful.

    Once you have had some time to clear your mind and you’ve identified the things that you did do right (it wasn’t all bad!), it’s time analyze where things derailed. I know, this part won’t be much fun, but this process shouldn’t be too overwhelming if you keep in mind that it wasn’t all for nothing, and it wasn’t all bad. Address the following questions as honestly as possible.

    Start with the big picture

      1. Did my campaign really address a need? Campaigns that satisfy needs typically outperform those that satisfy wants.

      2. Did I focus too much on certain aspects? Were the parts I focused on as important to anyone else as I thought they would be?
      3. Did I use the wrong channels to try to promote my campaign? Did I use any channels to promote my campaign?
      4. At what point did things slow down?

    Question 1 is the most important – was the project something that actually mattered to anyone else? Take a long hard look at the campaign idea itself before moving on.

    Now let’s get a little more focused

      1. Was my funding goal realistic?
      2. Did my story, pictures, and video send the wrong message?

    From your story copy to video editing, leave no stone unturned.

    Now it’s time for round two!

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    Step 1: Make improvements to your campaign

    Now that you’ve taken the time to dust yourself off and identify what went wrong, now is the time to fix it or nix it. By the same token, if you noticed something was particularly effective play into that a bit more. Do more of what works – This time you have the undeniable advantage of knowing what works and what isn’t worth your time.

    Step 2: Keep in touch with your previous contributors

    Whether or not the first launch was successful, you really should keep in touch with those who did donate to your cause. They believed in you once, odds are they still do agree with your cause and want to know A) how their money is being used, and B) what you’re doing now.

    The important thing to remember is that it’s not the end of the world. It always feels pretty awful to put your heart into something and watch it fail, but plenty of unfunded campaigns go on to find success after revisions.

    Just learn from your mistakes, acknowledge what you did right, and relaunch your campaign better than ever before and watch your little baby bird fly!

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