We know that crowdfunding is hard work, especially for first-timers who have never done it, so one of USEED's core offerings is a comprehensive training program for groups campaigning on our platform.
We also know that institutions often don't have the bandwidth to prepare every group to successfully campaign for their various school-related projects and causes, so our Campaign Success team personally stewards these groups from ideation to campaign completion - with minimal staff time required from our partner institutions.
Finally, we know that groups who train how to launch successful crowdfunding campaigns are, as you may have guessed, far more successful in hitting their funding goal than those who do not: Approximately 77% of teams who follow our program's methodology meet or exceed their funding goal. Compare that to the 10% success rate on other industry-leading platforms, and it becomes obvious that groups should train before jumping into the crowdfunding waters.
Here are just a few reasons why training influences crowdfunding success:
Trained campaigners are prepared
As our dear friend, Benjamin Franklin, once said, "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail." Far too many crowdfunding campaigns end in failure. With the success rate at a staggering 10% on some of the more popular crowdfunding platforms, you have to wonder why fundraising in this capacity can be such a challenge to so many.
In essence, it is the lack of foresight and preparation that ends with dismal results. Campaigners fail if their enthusiasm isn't backed up with a plan. They fail when they allow passion to override patience.
Not only do campaigners need to plan, but they need resources to help them plan. The additional support is the difference between building Ikea furniture with and without the instructions: One approach is much more productive and will end in a piece of furniture that looks like a piece of furniture. The other - not so much!
So, instead of working in their campaign (such as scrambling to figure out what to do and who will do it), they should be spending time working on their campaign (such as making the page beautiful and developing a solid outreach strategy). USEED's Training Program allows that to happen.
Trained campaigners don't miss crucial steps
Along with customized Strategy Meetings with an expert, teams also move through the training program at their own pace with self-serve training modules. These modules, hosted in our favorite task management app, Trello, are basically required or recommended "tasks" that the team should allocate to individual Team Members or tackle together.
Thanks to the self-serve training modules and their Crowdfunding Advisor, groups who go through the Training Program are ensured that they never miss a step that is directly tied to their success. From the time they apply to the program until they have completed fundraising, every important step has been outlined with examples and tips on how to accomplish it successfully.
Trained campaigners challenge their misconceptions
The media tells us that crowdfunding campaigns go "viral" more often than not. Look at the Potato Salad Campaigner who set out to raise $10 to make his first potato salad, and then went on to raise over $55,000. I mean, if he can raise that kind of money for a potato salad without a huge plan in place, what's to say that our campaigners in Higher Education can't as well?
Obviously, virality isn't the norm. Not even close. This notion is why so many crowdfunding campaigns fail.
"If we build it, they will come," is just one of many misconceptions campaigners carry with them as they begin their own crowdfunding campaign. Many also believe that simply posting to social media will fund their campaign. Or that, if they're simply armed with a list of alumni, they will meet their goal.
USEED's Training Program is here to correct common misconceptions early on so that campaigners can redirect their efforts in a more productive way. We encourage groups to learn from past campaigners through case studies and research - the good and the bad - so that they don't have to face those challenges in order to make good choices for their team.
Trained campaigners have grit
The Crowdfunding Training Program isn't for the weary. While we know it's overwhelmingly a great experience for our campaigners, sometimes in the thick of it, groups wonder why they didn't just launch a campaign like they had originally planned and just "figured it out."
"Grit" is one of USEED's core values. It relates to the ability to persevere in the midst of challenges. And our campaigners know grit, because they had the opportunity to launch their campaign within five minutes on another crowdfunding platform, but instead they put their success first.
And so we'll leave you with our Chief Technology Officer, Tim Walsh's, thoughts on the subject: "While I think the process is a foundational component, I think a good part of it is that those who are attracted to crowdfunding are also those who aren't willing to take no for an answer."