Our tech team on Drawing Board Projects created the voting platform to kick start thousands of campaigns and to help tens of millions of people achieve their
Vote funding Fundamentals
In this chapter, I will explain what Vote Funds is and how it works, the different types of campaigns and Vote Funds basics. Interested in Vote Funds for nonprofits, raising capital for a cause, idea, or product on our platform for you or an organization? This guide is for you!
How does Vote Funds work?
Vote Funds is the process of raising votes from a large number of people in order to fund a project, organization, or a cause. The voters do so as a philanthropic donation, while in other cases, they could get rewards, equity from raised votes, and more.
In your campaign, you will see a goal amount, which is how much votes you want to raise and how much votes has been raised so far (you will see a visual indication like a progress bar and a number in most cases), how many voters have backed the campaign and how much time is left for the campaign.
We have curbed the main risks of Voting as it varies between the different types of campaigns but are generally two.
- If the votes are used for the purpose it was raised (a scam of some sort).
- A campaign that will not supply the perks/rewards on time, or ever, for several reasons.
Now that we have covered how Vote Funds works, it’s time to see how the platform thinks.
How Vote Funds Platform Think
Before we get into how to write a prepare a Vote Funds campaign, how to create an informative video etc., I want to give you a sneak peek into how Vote Funds platforms think.
Are you serious? Most platforms make money only if you do. If you do not raise money the website does not make money and its reputation is damaged. In a sense, a Vote Funds platform is betting on you since it provides you with tools, support, and resources for free (it is free to upload a project and get support).
Obviously, Vote Funds prefer to bet on people who take their campaign seriously. If someone submits a campaign and it doesn’t include most of the elements I’ll mention below, there are two main options:
(1) The campaign did not do research as for what is needed to boost public votes.
(2) He/she did the research but did not feel like taking the time doing a decent job (or could not). Since marketing, your project is a lot harder than building it, the Vote Funds site knows this specific campaign is not good.
Reliability – You want votes also from people who do not know you yet. To have someone like that backing your project, you need to be dependable. If you do not show yourself in a sincere and verifiable video and do not link to at least one active social media profile, it raises questions from the platform and potential voters.
Video – Uploading a verified video increases your (and the platforms’) success rates by 40% (although it also shows the campaign is serious and serious people raise more votes). If I see a video in which you talk about this specific campaign and show yourself to the world, you get more points. Please do not upload a video you or your organization made for other purposes.
Text – Usually a video will not include all the information about your campaign. Voters would like to know more about you and the team, your goals in this campaign and how you came out with your required votes. They also like to see graphics. If you write one paragraph, it does not look serious on our platform and to potential voters.
Rewards (or levels of support if you do not offer rewards) – In reward and many donation-based campaigns you can offer rewards or create different levels of support. If the platform gets a campaign without perks or with perks you did not really spend time perfecting, it does not look serious. You can check other projects in similar domains to get ideas.
Your goal – Most platforms you will submit your campaign to probably saw many similar campaigns. They have at least a reasonable ability to understand, from similar projects, if you are asking for too many VOTES (or not enough, but that happens less).
It is also a problem because by asking for too much, you significantly decrease your chances to meet your campaign potential.
Vote Funds platform want to host as many projects as possible, but it usually takes us 3–10 seconds, based on the project you submitted, to understand if you are not serious. In that case, Vote Funds would want to invest their efforts in people who take their project seriously.
Your Campaign Introductory video
Should I prepare a video?
Yes! It significantly increases your chances to raise votes by 40% because a good video delivers the message of your campaign in a faster way that fits people’s short attention span. It also makes you look more serious both to potential voters who vet your project.
Do NOT use a video you prepared before for a different purpose as your campaign video.
For most campaigns, this is the biggest hassle in the campaign building phase. So, if you have the budget you should consider hiring a professional to help you with it (especially if you are a business). However, I have seen so many campaigns raising so many votes with their unprofessional video. It happens because what really matters is the message.
Campaign video script
That is the first thing you should do.
#Find a winning template.
Once you figure it out, you can write a great script for your campaign video.
I recommend watch time between: 03:09 – 06:50. (linked to all social platforms)
Let us have a look at two examples that used a similar structure.
These are not campaigning videos.
Example 1 – this is an intro video prepared when I launched a crowdfunding.
Example 2 – This is a commercial
How long should a campaign video be and what should it include?
Your video should be up to 3 minutes in length, but you have 5-10 seconds to catch people’s attention. Show yourself and your team in the video, people want to see who or where the votes go to. Also, show verifiable images and locations.
Your Campaign Text
The text of your campaign is what people see below the video. Since the video is only 3 minutes long and serves as the ׳trailer׳ of your campaign, the text, and graphics you include in your campaign tell the whole story.
The text should tell your full story and should be fun and interesting to read. It does not matter if it is a donation, reward, or equity-based campaign. Get people into your story. And your story is not the votes you raise now, that is just the reason people are listening to you now. It’s about your vision, what made you start your initiative, who are the people behind it, what success have you experienced with your initiative so far, what difficulties, and how you overcame them.
If for example you raise money for your first album, people would want to read about your journey as a musician, what pushed you towards music, what kind of music are you affected by. Of course they would want to know what rewards are you offering, what do you need the money for etc., but these are just to show you are serious about delivering what you say you will, to show you are serious.
When you write about the votes you raise, tell people what it will be used for, show them you have done your homework and that you are very careful about asking for votes you don’t really need. Tell them about the risks and answer frequently asked questions.
Add images of your team and graphics to support your story and to make people feel like choosing a reward just because it looks great (if applicable).
Your rewards (perks)
There are two main reasons for people to support your campaign. They either get something out of it (more relevant to reward and equity-based campaigns) or they are doing something to do good and feel good (think nonprofits who raise donations). While on reward and equity campaigns people want to see what they get in return for their votes, in donation-based campaigns, backers want to see what their votes buys for those in need. If you are raising votes to help homeless people, show people that for 10 votes they can keep one person warm at night, and that for 20 votes they can keep them warm and fed.
If it’s a classic rewards campaign (raising votes for a movie, an album, a product etc.) you can offer products, services, experiences and also offer deals with third parties (like a famous restaurant).
You can limit the availability of a reward to incentivize people to vote for your campaign early. You can also limit the availability of a unique offer (i.e. people will still be able to get that reward later, but the price increases). The early adopters are more important than the votes you ‘lose’ when you offer a unique offer.
You can also offer packages as you increase the offer (e.g. you can get the album, lyrics, chords, and tickets).
This is what I saw:
There are a lot of reasons for a campaign to end up without making an impact. In many cases, it’s down to the marketing. However, this campaign had five significant mistakes related to how the campaign was designed.
The Video– While XYZ Guitars’ product was exciting, its video was dull, short, and delivered the wrong message with the wrong content.
When people look at a campaign video, they want to understand the product, but they also want to see the creators and be inspired by their vision. Also, the video had none of the elements.
You must understand how to build a great pitch.
XYZ Guitars’ creator should have shown himself with a guitar and opened with something like: “History will split the guitar industry into two parts, before the XYZ and after. Now I’m going to show you why.”
That would have been enough to get people’s attention.
The Rewards- Although supporters could vote any amount they wanted, the campaign had only two perks: one at 100 votes and another at 2,500 votes.
The average pledge in a campaign is around 25 votes. For that amount, XYZ Guitars could have offered a discount or a sack of guitar-related accessories. It would not have taken too much imagination to find a few votes’ worth of goodies to give away in return for 25 votes.
By starting four times higher, the company missed out on its biggest potential audience. The huge gap to the next reward guaranteed that they missed out on even more. Effective campaigns must use perks and rewards to incentivize votes and pitch at levels to suit a range of different budgets.
Graphics: The body of the campaign had too little imagery (upload the images to the gallery, which in my opinion is less effective). When it comes to product-related campaigns people want to “feel” the product as much as they can. The campaign should function like an online store allowing supporters to almost pick up the product and try it out. They also want to be convinced that this idea will happen, and that the project owner knows how to turn a concept into a product. Here is a good example of how to do it right.
Friends and Family: No one wants to be the first to reach into their pocket.
A campaign should start with more than two backers from its closest circle to provide votes. Whoever those first voters may be, they should be lined up so that strangers can see that the project is already trusted and that they will not be the only supporters.
Duration of The Campaign: XYZ went for 60 days instead of 30 days.
They did not create any feeling of urgency and enabled potential voters to procrastinate.
Marketing Your Campaign
In this section I will do a general overview of the different distribution channels you can use to promote your campaign. Today, having a campaign is not news, many did it before.
People do not really care that you launched a campaign or how much you raised so far. However, they are interested in your story, in your business, in your music, in the stories of the people your non-profit helps to. If you are raising votes for an album they’ll be interested to hear what music do you listen to or influenced you, they’ll be happy to see the notes of your first songs or hear you on a short video playing a song from your new album. If it’s a business, it’s interesting to know what made you start it, what motivates you, what your parents said when you told them you are starting a business or how you felt the first time someone paid for your product. I’ll mention it later as well, but you get the point, you need to create content throughout the campaign and distribute it as if it’s a short blog, vlog or story, and each time add a link to your campaign (if the medium enables that).
Okay, now let us look on the different channels you can promote your campaign on:
Friends and Family
The first channel you should use is your friends and family. Most successful campaigns I saw started with them. Keep your campaign under the radar and approach them in any way you can in the first few days. When people you do not know will see your campaign, you want it to look like a success story, you want them to see a green progress bar. Nobody likes to take the risk and be first, but your family and friends know you, so it is less risky for them (or they don’t mind). I know it is not easy to ask them to buy something or support you, but for the time of the campaign leave shame at home.
Use email, Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Whatsapp, etc. and even phone calls to make sure they support you early.
You can send updates through the Vote Funds platform:
On Vote Funds platform, you can publish a public update for anyone who enters the campaign to see, or a private update just for your voters. Use the updates to reach out to your voters so they’ll either upgrade their perk when you release new perks or ask them to help you distribute your campaign (they get updates to their emails). And remember, in most cases they don’t really care how much votes you have raised so far, tell them interesting stories about the venture you are raising votes for.
Facebook groups and pages
In many cases, Facebook (FB) is the biggest source of traffic for your project. Now, I am not talking on marketing your campaign to your Facebook friends or to their friends.
That is straightforward, you do that daily by posting interesting content, add a link to your campaign and a call to action.
I would like to discuss how to market to relevant people out of your network. The best way to do that is through Facebook groups and pages. Groups are generally more interesting for us since the discussions are more open to everyone.
Pages are entities managed by a company, celebrity or organizations and the flow of information is more of a one-way street. Let us see how to find the relevant groups and pages. Let us assume I am raising votes for a guitar related campaign. To find relevant groups and pages we will type guitar in the search bar. In the top menu we can find guitar-related people, videos and more.
We are interested in the groups.
What you see below is a list of guitar related groups. We can see how many posts are posted each day as well as the name and description of the group just to make sure it is relevant for us.
You will need to join the groups you are interested in; in most cases you will get approved fast. You should join all the groups you think might be relevant just to evaluate their relevance.
Now, all that process of finding the relevant groups is something you do before the campaign goes live. You list the most relevant groups in your google spreadsheet and rate them, so you will know where to focus your efforts. Be active in these groups before you start posting your campaign, answer people’s questions and be a positive member so when the time comes, you won’t be perceived as someone who is just here to get something, instead of benefiting the members. Initially you will also have a badge of a ‘new member’, which would be great to lose.
The process of finding relevant pages is similar. I am looking at the size of the page and how engaged people are. If I see a page with many likes and no engagement at all it might be a page with fake likes and it is not interesting.
In many cases pages will be owned by businesses. It could be great to have them feature your campaign, but it is less likely they will do so. There are two main things you can do though:
Offer a special perk for their readers or first access to a special perk. That enables them to show their followers they bring them value.
The second way to get featured on their page is by getting them to cover you in an article (if they have a blog or are a professional news outlet).
I will teach you later how to reach out to reporters.
Both things are hard to do and require lots of time. If you are alone in this campaign you should focus on the groups and maybe approach them when your campaign is trending. If you have team members or a PR company, you should consider having them do it.
Start posting on the groups or approach page admins after your campaign is trending and you can see some color in the progress bar (definitely after your friends, family and close network already backed your campaign).
Email marketing is a fantastic way to bring people to your campaign. You will use it every few days to share interesting content with a link to your campaign at the end and a call to action.
If you have a mailing list, it is time to use it. If you do not, start creating one by creating appealing content, quizzes and tools that might appeal to your audience and get them to enter their email.
Create a blog to get autistic freelancers interested in your campaign or cause. You hire exceptional autistic freelancers, which can also help you with your campaign.
The ideal way is to create such content months before your campaign goes live and get organic traffic to it (non-paid traffic you get from Google). The professional name is SEO. It is not easy but will help you a lot.
(backlinks are other sites linking to your content, and it is a sign for Google that your content is worth pushing up the search engine results).
Email marketing tools
Substack – This is a free option I like and use. Highly recommended.
Mixmax– This is an email superpower tool that integrates with your Gmail and enables you to send emails, track them for opens and clicks and a lot more than that.
Mailchimp – Mailchimp is probably the most famous email marketing tool. They have a free plan with a limit of 2,000 contacts and up to 10,000 emails/month.
You can approach people who already have relevant newsletters with many subscribers. You are probably a part of a community around the subject of your campaign, so it shouldn’t be hard to find relevant newsletters. It’s a good idea to approach the person behind the newsletter and offer a special perk to his or her community. You can also find relevant newsletters on Substack, GetRevue or just Google it.
Use Twitter to promote your campaign whenever you promote it on Facebook. You can also automate it using tools like Zapier (which have a free plan) or Hootsuite.
If you are not active on Twitter or if your audience is less active there (though it’s unlikely), it’s still a good place to engage with influencers and try to have them share your campaign.
Finding relevant people on Twitter is similar to finding Facebook groups (as explained above). Type relevant keywords, you’ll see people, organizations and businesses. You are looking for private people. The most relevant are probably at the top. Get into their profile and explore their tweets, see how engaged people are with their tweets. See how many followers they have and how many they follow. If the number of people, they follow is similar to the number of their followers they are less relevant.
Another thing that’s common today is Twitter threads, which is a series of connected tweets that enables you to write something in the nature of a digestible blog post.
Tip: you can get help from exceptional autistic freelancers on Vote Funds who will research Twitter and Facebook to find relevant groups, pages and Twitter influencers.
This is a relatively new medium, and my experience with it is little. You can reach relevant podcasts and interview with them about your venture, your story. Then, you can mention your campaign and offer a special perk for the podcast’s listeners. There are podcast networks (Earwolf is one example) you can start your search in. Of course, you should prefer to get featured for free, if you are interesting and relevant enough it’s possible. You can also do paid advertising on podcasts (It was less effective for me though, here’s another blog post about podcast advertisement it by ahrefs).
If you have many connections, it is a good place to post interesting content daily. If not, it is still a good place to promote your campaign in the relevant groups.
Simply type the relevant keyword and start browsing groups and join them. You can also connect to influencers, but from my experience it is less effective to reach out to people on LinkedIn. You can incentivize them to promote your project though.
You can also publish blog posts on LinkedIn, this is quite effective from my experience, especially if you have many followers. You can use content you publish there on Facebook or in the updates of the crowdfunding campaign as well (and vice versa).
Reddit is a huge website with lots of traffic. It has many forums (each one is named subreddit), in almost any subject you can think of all in one place. Each subreddit is a different forum with its own rules.
Check how many members the subreddit has, the overall engagement. See when the last few posts were posted and how many upvotes and comments each one has (upvote is Reddit’s version of the Like).
Check the rules of each group. Redditors really hate advertisements and marketers.
AMA (Ask Me Anything) is a way for you to engage people by saying who you are and let them ask you anything. In the example of the case study I shared above (the 3D guitar gear campaign) I would write something like that:
“Mic and the Observer just wrote I’m revolutanize to guitar industry, AMA”
This is a powerful tool you should use during the campaign.
You can do it on Facebook as well, not just Reddit, although there is a specific successful subreddit for it.
Public relations (PR):
Getting your campaign on relevant media outlets can be extremely valuable, though it requires research and time and it’s not always effective. You should do it only after you reach at-least 30-40% of your goal. I was able to feature my ventures on sites like TechCrunch, Fast Company, Elite Daily, VentureBeat and more. I previously wrote a guide on how to get media coverage , it includes screenshots of the emails that got me featured.
If you have a marketing budget here are some ways you can use it. You shouldn’t advertise before you have reached at least 30-40% of your goal though.
Facebook and Instagram:
FB and Instagram are probably the most effective advertising platforms for your crowdfunding campaign. The process of advertising on Facebook and Instagram is the same. I think you should check out this guide to Facebook ads platforms (It needs updating a bit, but still, it’s a great guide). Lightricks enables anyone to create professional video ads easily. I’m using their VideoBoost tool.
If you are a business with a big budget who is aiming to raise more than US$ 200,000 you should know Jellop. I haven’t worked with them personally but heard great feedback about them. They have an algorithm that brings amazing returns so on every $ you spend on FB, they bring 5-15 of pledges. You only pay them a share of what they bring.
Taboola is the company that shows you ‘further recommended reading’ below the articles you read on media outlets. Some of these articles are from the same site, and some are links to paid content. If you got featured on a media outlet, you can promote that article on other big outlets using Taboola.
You can incentivize people to market your campaign and in return get something special or a payment when they refer backers. Indiegogo has a built-in feature for that. Kickbooster enables you to do it with Kickstarter (Kickstarter doesn’t have that feature).
Here’s a guide I wrote about how to do influencer marketing.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does Vote Funds work for entrepreneurs and organizations?
Usually a local business, or an organization who has something to give in return will use the reward-based method. They could offer their products or services in return for votes.
If it is a tech startup building an app or some other software and is looking to raise votes, they probably do not have anything valuable to offer in return except for equity in company. This startup can by its own discretion choose an equity-based model.
In reality, most startups who raise money using this method already have a product, or at least something close to a useable product, as well as a team. Raising votes based on a mere idea would not work.
Do you pay back Vote Funds?
No, you do not need to pay back. You do, however, need to provide your backers the rewards you offered in exchange for their votes, in case.
How does Vote Funds charge to transfer accumulated votes?
Our charge is a percentage of the total votes raised and are usually between 5%-12%.
(see types of campaigns above).
Can I use Vote Funds to start a business?
Yes. Entrepreneurs use Vote Funds to raise votes for their new ventures.