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Crowdfunding Converts Social Capital into Currency

Thanks to Susan Brown for this article.

Do you have clients with large, engaged online networks, but struggle to access the funds they need to launch or grow their businesses? Crowdfunding might be a great option for them, especially if your team knows how to coach successful campaigns.

crowdfundingIf you think crowdfunding’s time has come and gone, think again. Crowdfunding grew from $1.5 billion in 2011 to $34 billion in 2015. Crowdfunding has a lot to offer in addition to capital – proof of concept, customer development and buy-in, product research, and leverage for other types of capital. A 2016 SBA report found a causal relationship between crowdfunding success and ability to access additional financing, build partnerships, create a strong customer base and find employees.

Kathleen Minogue, owner of Crowdfund Better, offered a great introductory webinar to CAMEO members that framed the crowdfunding opportunity and provided initial guidance on what skills and knowledge are needed for a successful campaign.

First, it takes a village. Kathleen disabused us of the if-you-build-it-they-will-come myth; successful crowdfunding takes significant work-the-room effort before, during and after the campaign. The business owner needs a team and a coach to help plan and implement a campaign.

Second, it’s all about the network, not money. And this network needs to be cultivated online — especially for post baby-boom markets — through social media, email and bloggers. A poll conducted during the presentation revealed that only 18% of those on the webinar assist clients with their social media presence and marketing.

Crowdfunding is a means to build trust and goodwill with customers via digital platforms, thus requiring both old-fashion marketing know-how along with savvy about the current social media zeitgeist. Transparency and authenticity win the day, when coupled with daily action plan for promoting the campaign.

If you missed it, never fear, it is on the CAMEO website — but only until the end of October. So watch Crowdfunding: A New Rung on the Funding Ladder soon, since it will not remain part of our permanent archive.