With 25 partner institutions, we get to witness some powerful Crowdfunding Programs in action. And when you witness powerful Crowdfunding Programs, you witness empowered groups within them campaigning for their crowdfunding initiatives who are equally successful.
There is more overlap than you might imagine between a successful Crowdfunding Program Director and a successful campaigner. They exhibit similar traits as they lead, connect, create, plan, and implement actions that map to their future successes.
Goal-Oriented (and Plan-Oriented!)
Whether you're a crowdfunding campaigner or the Director of a Crowdfunding Program, those who have come before you successfully would agree: You must know your goals and desired outcomes, and you must plan for them.
Simply "testing" crowdfunding just to see what will happen, for example, is a poor goal, because there is no way to track your progress and results. If you have a goal that looks like this - abstract, ambiguous, with no plan of action - consider these questions:
If you're a Director, how many campaigns do you need to launch this year? How will you get there? What kind of outreach do you need to do, and how often? How will you track the success of each outreach attempt?
So, what exactly do you need to accomplish through crowdfunding? And maybe even more importantly, what is your execution strategy? Every successful crowdfunding campaigner and every successful Program Director can answer those two questions. Can you?
This one's simple. Successful campaigners and Directors make. it. happen.
People who want to make a difference with crowdfunding (and people who do so successfully) don't believe in excuses. They don't deflect to others. They step up, they take ownership, and they work tirelessly to leave a legacy through their work.
Are you an avid learner, interested in expanding what you know? Do you believe others have ideas and insights you have yet to consider? Ideas and insights that might improve your crowdfunding plans?
If so, you encompass a trait that our most successful campaigners and Directors exhibit: Curiosity.
Crowdfunding is still in its infancy, and it's forever evolving. USEED was founded in 2011, and even those of us who were here from the very beginning admit that they still have a lot to learn. And while there are best crowdfunding practices, we still learn every day from our campaigners and Directors on how to improve our own processes and training materials.
We have seen that people who are willing to set aside their pride and open their minds to the ideas of others end up creating programs and campaigns that extend beyond what they know and can do on their own. We believe the same is true for us: Learn or fail. There is no other way.
People who find success - really in anything - are people who are held accountable to that success. This doesn't mean that somebody has to hover over your shoulder and micromanage your work, but it does mean that there's somebody you have to look at at the end of the day and share your results with.
For Directors, this might be a leadership team. Or, it could just be themselves (holding yourself accountable is still accountability!).
For Campaigners, this is often the rest of their team. After all, when it comes to pass that you've done nothing to fundraise and yet still benefited from the work of others, you are probably not going to feel good about it. Nor will the people at your side.
Success will be rooted in holding yourself and your team to high standards of accountability. It's the only way your campaign or program will thrive.
Both campaigners and Directors share the desire to bring more people into what they're trying to accomplish. For the most part, our campaigners are seeking new donors and advocates, and our Directors are seeking groups who have funding needs, which could be serviced through crowdfunding.
Neither of these groups are marketers by trade, nor should they be. There is an element of relationship-building that needs to happen for them to be successful. Campaigners, for example, need to make their donors feel valued and as if they were part of the team. Directors might have to encourage teams to apply to the program by ensuring them that he or she will be their ally and advocate. This is especially true if you want teams to come back and fundraise with your program year over year!
When you start viewing crowdfunding as your opportunity to build relationships and connect with others, it becomes easier to plan, to hustle, to be curious, and to put in accountability protocols.
So, whether you're fundraising for your own crowdfunding campaign or you're working to build a program at scale, find a quiet time to reflect on these traits and how you can implement them in your work each day. You'll be pleasantly surprised to see what comes to fruition because of them.