Step 1: Deciding this was right for us
We did a lot of research before we hit go on crowdfunding. It started 4 months ago in fact. We met with Anna from PledgeMe, we talked to other crowdfunding platforms, we found the support crews that we would need (including comms and marketing from our friends at Five + Dime) and we got our whole board together to make the final decision.
We decided crowdfunding was right for us because we have a great crowd, and wanting them to share in our success makes sense to us.
We also know that changes are coming in our industry, and we need some capital so we can meet the opportunity the changes present. Our crowd can help us to reach our goals more easily, not just by investing, but by sharing our goodness. We believe we can grow stronger, faster, and better with the help of our community.
Over the last 7 weeks we’ve been in full campaign mode, running through the CrowdfundingU programme and constantly checking in that this was right for us. We believe it is.
Step 2: Connect with your crowd
In the lead up to our event, we had to connect with a lot of people. We did this in three ways:
Hosting events around the country. We had investor meet & greets in Dunedin, Wanaka, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.
Creating great content that communicated our personality (like gifs) and engaged with like-minded potential investors (like blogs about the founding, the impact, and the future by Hugh,LaniandChristina). Working with media also helped to spread the word outside of our crowd, thanks to the lovely work from PR consultant Katharine Broughton, who also works with another social enterprise Eat My Lunch.
Setting up a newsletter to keep interested investors up to date, and communicate with our clients.
Step 3: The Investment Memorandum
An exceptional investment memorandum is absolutely key to a kickass equity crowdfunding campaign. But be prepared to put in the human hours… Our investment memorandum took 6+ people to construct, and had a grand total of 62 copy edits. Then, our awesome designer spent a whopping 48.5 hours (not all at once) making it beautiful.
You can view the Thankyou Payroll Investment Memorandum here.
Step 4: The Pitch of all Pitches
Our thought process went something like this…
People like video (pretty visuals and easy to consume)
People like dogs
All (or most) of our staff own dogs
Let’s make a video with dogs!
If you’ve ever tried to film with your dog, you’ll know staying on script is not necessarily one of their top priorities.
After many, many takes, we got the footage we needed!
And here’s the result:
Step 5: Throw a party! With dogs!
A launch party is a way to get in front of prospective investors face-to-face and actually talk to them.
We launched our crowdfunding campaign on Friday April 7th at 6pm. Since then, we’ve had over $136,000 pledged.
Thinking about crowdfunding your company?
Here are some tips from PledgeMe founder Anna Guenther:
There is a lot of content on the interwebs about crowdfunding, but it really comes down to three essential components:
What do you need the money for? Can you explain it in a sentence? You’ll need to be able to create a campaign that your crowd can understand (and get on board with). You need to make sure that your information is correct, and that you’re not being false or misleading with your crowd. Before creating your campaign, you need to be really clear on your business model already, because when you’re going to your crowd they need to understand what you do and who you are.
Do you have a crowd that loves what you do? It could be family, friends, professional networks, or your customers. If they like you enough to buy your product/services, they might like you enough to invest.
You can build the shiniest campaign in the world, but if no one hears about it, they can’t pledge. So figure out how to communicate with your crowd, both in the lead up to your campaign and once launched.
Want to learn more about crowdfunding? Read these guides on project, equity, and lending based crowdfunding.
Anna Guenther is founder and CEO of PledgeMe, and Christina Bellis is CEO of Thankyou Payroll.
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