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Aug 20

Crowd Funding – Providing Strategic Linkages

Some projects just lend themselves beautifully to crowd funding campaigns. The local gym that needs equipment can easily offer memberships, personal training sessions and yoga classes in their efforts to raise funds from their “crowd” for the equipment they require. But some projects struggle to find the rewards to motivate the crowd into action and to get them supporting with their wallets. However, this gives rise to the opportunity for good strategic linkages if a little thought is exercised, benefitting not just the funding campaign but the project it is aimed to support.

With campaigns aimed to fund projects of a more technical nature, getting creative with rewards can be difficult, but some great ideas can be found when the project creator starts to think outside the square. Recently an inventor of piece of equipment for a commercial kitchen asked us at iPledg “what rewards could I possibly offer?” With a bit of thought, we explored the markets and motivators around the product on which their campaign was centred. We progressed from commercial kitchen, to cooking, to the popularity of cooking shows, and bang! We came up with signed cookbooks from some of the famous chefs from our top ranking cooking shows, a chance to attend a dinner catered for by a top chef, and so on. Now we had some rewards related to the project, and a way forward was forged.

But this is so much more than just rewards for the life of the campaign. This is where strategic alliances really come to the fore, and provide a longer term and more far reaching benefit. It is great that the campaign now had a suite of rewards to motivate the masses, but getting the message out to the crowd became the next challenge. Having engaged the famous chefs, we now had incredible reach to a wide audience. Not only had we secured widely sought after, really cool rewards, but we had a channel to market to let even more people know about the project than the project creator ever could have reached on their own.

So the campaign was well positioned for establishing a good relationship with a large crowd. We had the sweetener by way of great rewards. In securing the rewards, we forged a relationship with people that agreed to give us far greater reach than could have ever been reached by the project creator on their own. If you think this is pretty good, the best was yet to come.

The support from the famous chefs was then topped off with an offer of an ongoing alliance. The offer of a few signed cookbooks was great. The offer to let their audience know of the campaign was a great leg up in the chances of achieving the funding goal. But the support from the strategic linkages formed with the famous chefs really came to the fore when the campaign was due to finish, with the chefs offering to maintain contact, and open doors for the project creator to get the product (the output of their project) into some great applications. They didn’t just provide a few cookbooks as rewards, but an association was formed that bore results right through to a commercial return, which was the project creator’s ultimate goal.

Not everyone knows a famous chef, a well renowned sportsman, or an Oscar winning actor. You don’t need to. The local cake shop can help with rewards and help with spreading the word to the dozens of customers that walk in and out of their doors. Businesses are hungry to engage with their community, to offer their rewards to help project creators (their philanthropic gesture) while building awareness of their own business through a few give-aways (their commercial gesture). Most are willing to engage with and assist the community by promoting the local campaigns to their customer base, even if it is through putting a small sign up in their shop (every little bit helps). All it takes is a bit of creative thinking that not only delivers wonderful rewards, but far greater and ongoing benefits to the project creators, their campaign and the ultimate goal they are trying to achieve.

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