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Webinar: How to Make Crowdfunding Go Viral 2019-04-09

Moshe: Hello everyone.
this This is Moshe Hecht, Chief Innovation Officer at Thank you for joining our presentation
today on How to Make Crowdfunding Go Viral. So many of us listening and watching
are likely either leading nonprofits, or working in nonprofits, or
volunteering for nonprofits. And we are surrounded every
day by crowdfunding campaigns some of which are successful,
some of which are not, but it’s definitely something
that we are looking to get into, something that we are really
looking to get good at. And what I’m going to help you is
guide you through some of the steps on how to make crowdfunding successful.

So my experience and my background
is working at We are a crowdfunding marketing
company and fundraising platform. We have worked with
over 4000 organizations. We have generated 1,000,000+ donations. We have helped these organizations
raise over $650 million, and all at a 99% success rate. That means that when we work with
an organization and we set up a goal for a campaign we
typically hit said goal. Now before we dive into how
to make crowdfunding go viral, I think it’s important that we
take a little bit of a reality check of what we are getting ourselves
into. So it’s important to know that while crowdfunding is really
very popular today, the success rate is not very comforting. Two thirds of
crowdfunding campaigns on the Internet actually do not reach
their campaign target. So it’s important that before
you start your campaign, before you get into it, you want to know how
you can avoid being part of that two thirds and to become part of the one third.

Now what is success and what is
failure? How do you define it? Are we just talking about you set a goal and the goal says a
hundred thousand dollars and you only get to $87,000? Because
that’s not necessarily a failure, that’s $87,000. The way
that I like to define, – and that’s really how the way the
industry defines success and failure, but the other way I’d like to do
it is go is a little bit deeper. What I find is that when what
you are looking to accomplish with crowdfunding as opposed
to other methods of fundraising which have superseded and
have come before crowdfunding like direct mail, email marketing,
one-on-one solicitations, events, dinners, etc., etc. they can really
be separated from crowdfunding. Why? Because crowdfunding,
and the entire agenda, and the goal of doing a crowdfunding
campaign is that your campaign should be so successful that it hits
a tipping point, a critical point in at which your message
and your fundraising campaign tips over into a viral message
and into a viral campaign.

The level of the inertia of the
campaign reaches a certain temperature where it takes on a life of its
own where it grows its own legs, and it’s able to accomplish things
that you would not be able to accomplish one-on-one, so to speak. A and
that’s really what we are trying to do with crowdfunding. We are
trying to get it to a place where the campaign goes way beyond
your own immediate abilities. So how do we get to this tipping point? How do we reach this level
of inertia for your campaign where it takes on a life of its
own? So many of you may have read the famous book by Malcolm
Gladwell, The Tipping Point. It’s an international bestseller.
It came out many years ago even before the modern term of
crowdfunding was even something that we use. But if you read the book
you will find the ingredients to a successful crowdfunding campaign. And what I’m going to do today
is I’m going to use the book as sort of a guide on the principles
of what Gladwell points out in his book to be the principles of
hitting a tipping point.

So what are these ingredients
for a tipping point? Now I put a nice little
picture over here of dominoes, because the idea is that you have to
have all of these ingredients lined up one next to another, and next
to another, before you start. Before you flick that first domino
and you create that ripple effect, all of those pieces need to be lined up. So what are those pieces that need
to be lined up for crowdfunding to give you the greatest
chances of success? So number one is the power of the few.

Number two is the stickiness
factor of your messaging, and the power of the
context of your campaign. So let’s dive into
each one individually. So most of us are probably
familiar with the concept of 80/20 when it comes to fundraising and
when it comes to finances in general. 80% of your donations will
come from 20% of your people, and 20% of your people will
donate 80% of the money. That’s just the way it works,
and that’s a healthy organization, and that’s what we want to strive towards,
making sure that we have a large group of individuals who can give
modestly, but can give consistently, and can give collectively, and it
really adds up to a significant amount, 20% of your budget. And then
a few people who are giving in a very affluently or giving
large sums that make up the majority of your finances of your budget.

Now that same rule will apply to
the people who you are asking to join in your campaign. And to
quote Mister Gladwell himself, “now when it comes to viral
epidemics…a tiny percentage of people do the majority of the work.”
So who are these people? Who are these people that we want
to line up before we press play on this campaign that are going to
help us do the majority of the work? So these people are connectors,
mavens, and salespeople.

Let’s dive in. Connectors, so I’m sure some
of you can relate to this. Maybe you’ve been at a party, and
you kind of go to the first person at the party, and you
start conversation. You say, “Hey, how did you get
here? Who invited you to the party?” And they will say, ”Well,
actually, Lucy [indistinct].” You say, “No way. Lucy
invited me as well.” And then someone next to you
will say, “You guys know Lucy?” Well, of course we know Lucy.
Then before you know you find out that basically there has been
probably a very few people, usually narrowed down to just
a few people, who were the ones who invited everyone to that

These are connectors. These are the people at the
top of the pyramid, the people who everyone knows, and knows everyone. It’s like you are talking to your
new friend. I’m traveling to St. Louis for a conference. Give me some
tips. Oh, you are going to St. Louis? You’ve got to meet Lucy.
Lucy, she’s an amazing person. She knows everyone in the community,
she’s connected to everyone. So you what you want
to do, the first step when you are launching
a crowdfunding campaign, identify the connectors
of your community. A little bit later we are going
to talk about how you can help them be the spokesperson, and influencer,
and ambassador, for your campaign. The next type of person is a maven.
So these people may not know everybody, and they may not be so connected,
but they offer expertise of exceptional worth, and knowing
what they are talking about, and can be trusted to give
the highest quality advice.

So let’s say for example, you are
running a crowdfunding campaign for a new research project at your
clinic, or hospital, or doctor’s office, or at your university, your medical
college, and you are doing a campaign to raise funds for
this research project. Who’s going to be one of those
people that you are going to need to become an advocate for your campaign? So in addition to patients and parents,
you are going to want to get a doctor or a research professional to
speak on behalf of the campaign to add a certain level of
gravitas to your messaging. And by having this
person back the message, the people who are receiving the
message, they can rest assured that they are giving to something
that is trustworthy and verified. Now finally, salespeople, these are the
people who have the power of persuasion. They are the people who they will turn, they
will add three dimension to your campaign. So let’s say for example, you are
doing a campaign for homeless shelter. So you look at this campaign,
and maybe at first glance you see a picture of some
homeless people, and homeless kids, and why is that my problem?
Why should I care about them, or they probably have enough funding?
Here comes along a salesperson and gets on a video, or writes up
an article, or does a live feed, and says, “Listen guys, I know you may
not think that this is your problem.

But did you know that right in your
backyard, right in your community there are thousands of
people who are homeless. Just last year, 17 people passed
on because of homelessness. And for just small amounts
of money, $60, $100, $150 you can make the difference,
and we can put a homeless person into a potential job opportunity. So it’s this power of persuasion.
It’s this power of like, you may not have cared
about this cause before, but give me just 60 seconds of your
time, and I will explain to you why this cause is important.

you need to have those people representing your campaign. So now you are not – so just to be
clear, you are looking for people with these attributes. You’re not
saying, “Okay, who is the salesperson in my community? Who is
the maven in my community?” And there also may be crossover.
There may be a salesperson whose also a maven, or maybe a
maven who is also a connector. Sometimes you find two of
these attributes in one people, rarely do you find three of these
attributes in all these people. If you do, let me know,
because I would like to use some for my next crowdfunding
campaign, but it’s very rare. But you want to look for those
attributes saleslikemenship, mavenesk, and people who are
just connected people.

Now moving along,
you’ve got your people. You have your power of the few lined
up ready to make that ask on your behalf for the campaign. What’s the
message that they are sharing? And the key principle to
when it comes to crowdfunding, or any marketing actually, in fact, is
it’s not enough to have a great message, or good influencers
to spread that message. You need to ensure that your
message sticks in the public mind. You have to go through a
distillment process in your campaign for your messaging that is
able to pack in as much punch into the smallest amount of words,
into the smallest amount of messaging as possible.

You need to get
to the heart of the matter, and more importantly, the
message has to be memorable. So I’m going to play for everyone
a mashup of famous jingles you may even recognize. You will
probably even recognize all of them. I just want to give you a sense of
feeling of what it’s like for messaging to be sticky. [Video Begins] [Video Ends] The best part of waking up, right? Everybody knows the end of that sentence,
and that’s what sticky messaging is. So let’s bring this a little
bit home to nonprofits. How can we do this? How can we accomplish
sticky messaging for our nonprofits? So what you see on your
screen right now is a campaign that we at Charidy worked on for a
university here in New York Yeshiva YU.

It is an umbrella university to
about 25 different universities here in New York City, Stern College,
Reed College, Cardozo Law School. You know you can’t drive
through New York City without seeing an “IAMYU” sign
somewhere throughout the city. They came to us and wanting to
do [indistinct]. It was in 2016. This was when giving days
were getting really popular, starting to get popular in universities.
And we wanted to do a messaging that would stick.

We wanted
to do a messaging that people that would be woken up by this campaign, and that the campaign
would last the test of time, and that it would occupy the
consciousness of students and alumni, almost 100 years of alumni for the
duration of the campaign and beyond. So we went through a process,
a distillment process, and we asked ourselves, is
it good enough to just say, give day YU like most
colleges are doing today? Day of giving that’s
what everybody is doing, but that is not accomplishing what you
really want to accomplish in giving. So we did an introspection
process and did a roundtable with many different staff, and
alumni, and the board members, and the students over
the different departments, and we found a universal theme
of YU which is very unique and very special to YU
which is their diversity. They are a very diverse college, and
there’s a certain pride in that diversity. So the slogan that we
came up with was “I AM YU.” It has such a deep meaning to it.
It is so true to the core and mission of Yeshiva University, but it is so
catchy, and there’s so much compact, so much pride, and there’s so much
of the essence of the University distilled into this 1, 2, 3, 4,
5 letters.

I AM YU, three words. And till today, people will talk about
this campaign, and they won’t even say, “Do you remember the giving day?” They
say, “Do you remember the I AM YU campaign, the I AM YU campaign?” To the
extent – then they are marketing just like completely blew up
for this. There were billboards, there were signs, there
were social media campaigns. In fact even Lin-Manuel
Miranda the producer of Hamilton who was an honorary graduate of
YU did a video presenting himself as I AM YU as he is YU. The video
actually went viral for that day. It was picked up on a lot of media. So here’s an example, don’t be content
with just calling your giving day, calling your crowdfunding,
give day… or a time to give. Don’t do that. Make it yours.

it unique. Go through the process of the same way of the
process of writing a jingle. Your campaign doesn’t need to
have a jingle, but the process that goes into writing a jingle,
try to take some of those lessons, and apply it to your campaign the
same way that we applied it to I AM YU. Now in addition to strong words and
a strong headline, it’s not enough. When it comes to stickiness
factor and messaging specifically for crowdfunding in the 21st century,
in our time with the tools that we have, built on this uber connected social
world wide web that we live on, there’s actually another dimension. And this dimension can be best
described by using this method of Ace. This is a method that I’ve
seen a few places, New Power.

The book, New Power, you all should
pick up is one place that I saw it, but I’ve seen it in some others
where you have to ask yourself, am I acing my message? And the acing is three different items. Number one, is my messaging
going to inspire action? So let’s take maybe the most popular
crowdfunding campaign of all time, of modern time, the
ice bucket challenge. Now we are not here to all try
to redo the ice bucket challenge. That would not be a smart thing to do
to try to plan for something like that, but that does not mean that
we can’t reverse engineer the ice bucket challenge, and learn from
the things that made it so successful even though it was technically
an accident of the success. But there were a lot of things
there that if we reverse engineer, we can make them
purposeful for ourselves.

Action was, “take an action,
don’t just give money.” Take a thing of ice and
pour it over your head. Take an action. Now that action
may be pouring ice over your head, it may be running or doing a
marathon, practicing for marathon, it may be doing a 24-hour danceathon.
It may be as simple as tagging someone in a video, or tagging someone’s
picture on Facebook and say, “Hey, I gave; now you give.” The second thing is this
action needs to be connected. This is not just an action, do
50 push-ups and then move on. This is do 50 push-ups, and now
tag someone else to do 50 push-ups which will reconnect you to that
person. It’s about creating connectivity through the action. And
finally, make it extensible.

So the ice bucket challenge,
one of the amusing things of why it had us glued for so long at
such a velocity that it did is that people were doing original things.
People were taking the concept which had some kind of a
framework, it needed to include ice, and it needed to include a
bucket, or not even a bucket. But it needed to include some kind of way
that you will go out of your comfort zone as it pertains to ice,
and then people went wild. People built complicated levers
for the ice to go on [indistinct].

People put different types
of liquids into the ice. Some people took out little kiddie
pools, and put it into their backyards, and filled it up with ice, and turned on
the fountain in front of all of their kids, and put everybody into bathing
suits, and had a big ice water party. Namely me, that’s what I did with
my family. And we made it extensible. We made it our own. We
were able to find ourselves and our own creativity in this campaign. Okay, moving along, so if you want
to know how to ace your messaging, it has to be actionable,
connected, and extensible. Now you have the greatest people
ready to promote your message. Your message is going to be sticky.
It’s going to pass the ace test, and you are ready to launch,
and you’re ready to go, right? Wrong, because this is where
I believe that people are –this is where the
failure starts to kick in, and this is where people aren’t careful.

You need to be very careful that the
context of your campaign is a healthy one. That means that mentally and
emotionally, people need to be prepared for your campaign. Is this
the right time to be promoting this type of campaign?
Are people [indistinct]? Culturally, are people ready
for this type of message? Socially, technologically, right? Are you fundraising from maybe a senior
community that aren’t on Facebook? And the environment, so what’s
the environment look like? So the power of context which your
message spreads can be a do, or don’t. Now let’s go through it. There’s
so many contexts to talk about, but I just want to go through a
few in the – which are really my – which I think are the most
important. Number one is timing. So just like the context of your
message, the timing of your message must be perfect.

So there are different levels of timing. Number one, you want to make sure
the calendar year is appropriate for your fundraising. So if
you are a school, day school, or any type of school, you don’t want
to be doing a fundraiser midsummer, because everyone is on
vacation, everyone is gone. You want to do it – I find a great
time for a school [indistinct] campaign is like towards the end of the year where
school spirit is at an all-time high, and there’s the graduations,
there’s the celebrations. That’s a great time to end off
the year on a high with a campaign. You can look at other timing
opportunities that are good timing in the calendar year. For example,
December, year-end tax season, that is also a good time where
people are giving more funds than they typically give
around the rest of the year.

Many statistics show that 25% of
donations are given specifically in the month of December,
so that’s great timing. If you are faith-based organization,
give it around the holiday. Do a campaign around Easter,
do a campaign around Passover. Do a campaign around times where
people have a heightened sensitivity to giving back. And then there’s another aspect of time that can be
– that needs to be looked at that can either be taken
advantage of, or to stay away from. And I will give you an example. So in 2013, my brother was – had
founded a company called It was a virtual
currency for the Internet, and I joined him to help
him with his marketing.

Now today, when you hear virtual
currency, that’s a very familiar term. You can’t get away from that
term, bitcoin, and etherum. This is part of the vernacular
of our society today. Bitcoin has become all the buzz. But in 2013, people didn’t know
what you were talking about. What does virtual currency mean? Like those words were never – there
was virtual, and there was currency, but those words weren’t necessarily
put together in the same sentence. And when you try to build a business
off virtual currency in 2013, the product could be incredible. The
product could be fantastic, and it was. And how do I know it was?
Because in the last six months I’ve seen like almost 3 or 4 companies
that had very similar business models that are getting a lot of

Now will they take off? Time will tell to see if the behavior of
our society is ready for virtual currencies, but the attention, and
the momentum, and the road, and the runway that they need
to be able to succeed is there. It’s there. People are listening to
it. In 2013 was just the wrong time. So you can have the most amazing pitch.
You can have the most amazing people pitching your pitch. You can
have the most amazing messaging cradling your pitch, but if the
environment and the community that you are going into is not
ready for something like this, the likelihood of you
succeeding is very, very low. You can check out these links over
here, or you can simply Google it “brilliant startups that failed
because they were ahead of their time.” So it’s not even that they were bad

In fact, they were fantastic ideas, but they were just wrong
timing out of context. Now the second thing of context,
this is a very unique concept okay. So Gladwell talks about this context
of – he calls it “the power of 150”. And the theory is, and there is a lot of
proof to this theory is that small groups are essential to distribution. In fact, 150
is like the sweet spot, this sweet number. And that the theory is that
a message can be more easily and efficiently distributed through
and to a larger group of people if smaller chunks are
working on it simultaneously.

You see the society is made up of many
different clusters of types of thinking. For example, I live in New York. People
who live in Williamsburg Brooklyn, their culture, their way of
thinking is not the same as people who are living in Soho or Manhattan. And people who are we living in the
suburbs in Riverdale or Long Island, they are not the same type of thinkers.
They don’t purchase in the same way, and they don’t think in the same way,
and they don’t live in the same way, and they don’t communicate,
and commune in the same way as the people living in Queens. And you find that it’s very interesting
that clusters of the way people think are so important when you
want to spread a message, okay? Because you want to tweak that message
to the particular and specific way that these clusters of people
think, and feel, and communicate, so that you can have the
right direct pertinent message for that specific group of people.
Let that message sort of percolate in that group of people.
And if it percolates enough, it will reach a higher enough
temperature where people in that community will want to spread it, and to more
importantly, not to spread it into here’s this, but to make it their own.

messaging needs to be direct into these clusters that are
specific to those clusters, and unique enough to those
clusters where it resonates, where they are able to absorb it, where
they are able to make it their own, and then they are inspired and
motivated to pass it on further to the next cluster of people. My mom always used to say, and
this is why I put this picture here, is that birds of a feather flock
together. And that’s very so true when it comes to spreading the word
through a crowdfunding campaign. Let’s just say an example,
if you are running a school, the existing parent body thinks different
than let’s say your alumni parent body. Or your board members think
different and want different messaging even if it’s slight and subtle. That slight
and subtle can make all the difference. You know they think differently
than your parent body. Your community members,
the people in the community, the store owners, the business
owners, they think differently, and they feel things differently,
and they want to see their messaging. So target and fine tune your messaging, even if it means a difference of a
subject line, the difference of a post on Facebook targeted to these
individual groups in unique ways.

Now we got it all lined up.
We’ve got the power of the few. People who are ready who have this
power to be able to extend your message and make your message go
viral. Your message is perfect. You and – and you are
at the right context. It’s the right time, and
you are ready to press play. But if you are missing this one
ingredient, it’s all going to fall apart and that is velocity.

What do I mean by this? So in
order for a plane to take off, it’s not enough for it
to reach a certain speed. It’s not enough to
have a certain distance. And it’s not enough
to have the right time, but all of those things have
to be happening simultaneously. In other words, in order for
a plane to go down the runway, it has to have reached a certain
speed within a specific amount of time within a specific amount of space for
it to actually be able to take off, and get the velocity
that it needs to take off. Same thing goes with crowdfunding. It’s not enough to have all
the ingredients in the pot, you have to align these ingredients
within the right timeframe, and line them up perfectly to
be able to create that velocity. So how do we do that? So we
take the power of the few, we take the stickiness message,
we take the power of context, and we package it in this word TOGENTUM.

Now, usually when I do
this presentation live, I ask people what TOGENTUM means? And nobody knows the answer. And the reason is because
it’s not an actual real word. It is a word that I made up.
And what does TOGENTUM mean? TOGENTUM is actually a
combination of two words togetherness and momentum. Show that again,
togetherness and momentum which makes up TOGENTUM.
What is TOGENTUM? Let’s think about togetherness. What is it that we are actually
doing in a crowdfunding campaign? What we are actually doing
in a crowdfunding campaign is we are imploring our people. We are inviting our people
to represent our organizations in a way that gives them
a sense of community. It gives them a sense of togetherness
that will incentivize and excite them of joining the community. You
are giving them this opportunity that if the brothers and sisters
work together arm and arm together for this community a little bit from a
lot of people, we can accomplish so much. And that is something, ladies and
gentlemen, that people want to be a part of.

They want to be part of this
togetherness, and they want to be a part, and they want to help,
but that’s not enough. Wanting to help is not enough. What
you need is to you, the organization, you need to make sure that you are
cradling this will of togetherness with momentum, because
people get excited one moment, and then the moment they are not
excited – does that mean they care less? No, they’re just not excited anymore. They
moved onto the next thing in their life. I gave a conference a few weeks ago,
and I asked someone in the crowd, I said, have you ever been
involved – I asked the crowd, have you ever been involved
in a crowdfunding campaign? And everyone raised their hand.
I asked one person, I said, tell me a little bit about it.

Well, she mentioned that it was a
peer-to-peer crowdfunding campaign, and they asked me to take on a page
and raise $3000 for the organization. And then I said, and what
did you say? She said sure. I said, then what happened? Then she said, I had the worst
four months of my entire life. I asked, why? She said,
basically I felt alone. I felt that no one was helping me.
I had all the tools quote unquote that I needed, the page, I had
the media kit that they gave me, but they left me for four months. And now four months later she said that
after four months I had no more friends. She basically harassed everybody
every single day for four months. She barely made it to the finish
line, and she didn’t feel good about the experience. The
reason why, ladies and gentlemen, is because the people who
asked her to do a campaign, they had the first thing right.
They had the togetherness.

Well, yes, you are right,
people do want to help. People do like the sense of coming
together, but what they missed out was momentum. They gave her four
months without any touch points, without any connection, without
another series of events. And also, in the first place,
four months is too much. So my recommendation to you is
take the time that you have planned for your campaign and cut it in half.
Then take that time that you cut in half, cut that time in half. Then take that
time, and then cut that time in half. And then you are
probably at a good timing of how much you want the
preparation and the public stage for your campaign to take place. Number one, in most cases I find
that the public stage of fundraising does not need to be more than two weeks.

So take a four-month process
and turn it into two weeks. More importantly, in those two
weeks of building up to the campaign touch base every few days,
because it’s not easy. Touch base, get them back into
a room. Get them onto a webinar. It doesn’t have to be a physical
space, but get them into a virtual space say, how’s it going guys?
How’s it going? How’s it been? One person, I don’t know. I
just reached out to everybody and the only person that
said yes with my grandmother. And everyone goes, woah, yah,
grandma for giving $50! I’m like, wow, that feels great. There’s such a
togetherness and there’s such a momentum over here. You know what,
if grandma can give 50 bucks why can’t my uncle John give 50
bucks? And it creates this momentum. Then go back, all right,
guys, team let’s go spread out. We are going to come back at it. So it’s
about the dividing, reuniting, and conquering. It’s not enough to just divide
and get everybody their own tools. You need to reunite with them over
and over to build that momentum and then to conquer.

I close off
with a beautiful quote from Malcolm, “Look at the world around you. It may
seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not. With the slightest push – in
just the right place – it can be tipped.”.

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