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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! Play Video
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.
*These are not common at all as Vote Funds will scrutinize all campaigns on the platform.
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.
How to Build a Successful Vote Funds Campaign
Vote Funds includes three main elements. The text and graphics that tell the story of the campaign, a video that serves as sort of a ‘trailer’ to the campaign and the rewards or level of support.
All or nothing or flexible campaign – If there is a certain amount of votes you have to raise in order to fulfill the purpose of the campaign then you should go for an all or nothing campaign. If, however, it is a campaign for a nonprofit which can use any amount it raises for the purpose, then the flexible campaign can work as well.
The pros of choosing all or nothing are (a) usually, and believe me when I say so, you will raise more votes.
When you know you will lose all the money you raised so far if you will not meet your goal amount, you’ll work harder to meet your goal amount. (b) Potential voters (and the Vote Funds platform) give more credibility to all or nothing campaigns because the campaign basically says ‘I have a specific purpose and I don’t want to take your votes if I can’t fulfill it’. It makes everyone feel more confident that the votes will be used to the purpose for which it was raised.
The cons: the main risk here is that you will work hard and get nothing. That might lead people to add their own votes into the campaign or to lose everything they were able to raise.
Your goal (how much votes are you looking to raise) – most people set a higher goal amount then they should. You should aim to set the minimum goal amount that will enable you to fulfill your core purpose (including all expenses).
Think about it like a restaurant you are trying to fill. If you have a huge restaurant, it will look empty for a longer period of time and getting new customers will be harder initially (people see a full restaurant as an indication of the quality of the food).
If you start with a smaller restaurant, it is easier to make it look like a successful place and therefore to get new customers.
A campaign psychology is similar. People feel much more comfortable to vote for a campaign that already has voters. They do not like to be the first. Many voters are concerned that if they will set a lower goal amount, people will stop voting for them once they meet it. Everyone wants to raise as much as possible. That is wrong.
A lot of campaigns use ‘stretch goals.
They set an initial goal, the one that they have to meet in order to fulfill the core purpose of their campaign, but as they meet it, they set additional goals which are like bonus goals (think of them as extras to the car you buy). On most platforms you cannot change the first goal, but you can communicate the new goal on the main text (in the top) and through updates and social media.
These goals give people a reason to continue voting on your campaign, and they do.
Duration of the campaign – When it comes to the time available for voting, more is not better. Campaigns should have a sense of urgency, a threat of a lost opportunity if the vote button is not pressed now.
The ideal campaign duration is 30 days. Some campaigns say it is even less than that. Running a campaign requires a lot of time and effort. You cannot do it properly for 60 days, and you probably cannot meet your potential within 10 days.
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
Common assumptions campaigns have (and usually collapse)
Before I get into the most important part of the campaign, which is marketing it, I would like to share several common assumptions people have before their campaign starts.
These assumptions usually collapse shortly after the campaign starts. I am sharing those because I think it will get you into the right state-of-mind before reading the section about marketing.
“My friends and family will back my campaign when I’ll ask them”. In most cases, you need to nag even your closest friends and family to back your campaign when you most need it, immediately after it’s live (you need validation and they know you so it’s less of a risk for them). People live their lives, they have a job, family and are generally busy.
The solution is to prepare them a while before the campaign goes live and stress how important it is that they will back you as fast as possible. Make a list of the relevant people and start contacting them before the campaign is live. Ask if you can count on their early support.
“I’ll meet my goal amount easily; my page has lots of likes”. Likes ≠ votes. It is easier to like something than to support it monetarily. Of course, if you have a page with many likes that is a good start because a like is a sign that a person feels more connected to the cause than others. However, it is only a sign. Remember that.
“How hard can it be?”. People are optimistic, me too. But when you are campaigning, you need to know that in most cases (99.9%) there are no miracles. Uploading the campaign to Vote Funds platform and expecting the votes will just flow because people browsed and found your project is the biggest mistake you can make, the biggest!
“The more time I have, the more votes I’ll raise”. You set a deadline for your campaign. The ideal time is 30 days. You need to distribute the campaign on a daily basis, it’s time consuming and mentally challenging. Most people cannot do it for two or three months. Also, when potential backers visit your campaign and see there are 50 or 60 days left, they are less likely to support your campaign now, many of us tend to procrastinate.
“People will share my campaign; I’m not worried about marketing”. You and your team are alone when it comes to sharing your campaign. Sure, some people will share your project, but do not count on them as marketers. You can give them incentive to do so with a referral contest though, I will get to it later.
The most important thing to know about campaign distribution:
If you can remember just one thing from this guide, this is it!
Vote Funds platform is not like eBay or Amazon. Most people do not go into the platform and look for campaigns to support. That means you need to market your campaign. And if you do it well, and people can connect to your cause it will be funded.
84% of the campaigns who failed raised less than 20% of the goal amount. Probably many of them realized that they needed to market their campaign after it went live or found that difficult and gave up in the beginning because they did not know how to do that.