Crowdfunding 101

According to Wikipedia, Crowdfunding (a.k.a. crowd financing, equity crowdfunding, crowd-sourced fundraising) is “the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.”  Crowdfunding “can also refer to the funding of a company by selling small amounts of equity to many investors.”

For insight into the latter, watch this interview with David Weild IV ’78 or this one with John Borthwick ’87.  For a summary of platforms and tips for the former, read the blog post below, connect with one of the Wesleyan alumni listed here, check out Indiegogo’s  22-page field guide and worksheet and Webinar series, or go to Kickstarter “school.”

For personal assistance with your crowdfunding campaign, visit with the Patricelli Center peer advisors or staff (fall 2013 drop-in hours here).


Crowdfunding 101

by Luciana Contreras ’16

Building your Campaign:

  1. Write your pitch: Make it concise, clear and PERSONAL. Who are you? What are you raising money for? How can donors support you? Tell an engaging story.
  2. Set your goal: Understand if your Crowdfunding platform uses flexible funding (you keep your contributions whether or not you hit your goal) or fixed funding (you only keep your contributions if you hit your goal). Research your expenses and understand your costs.
  3. Creating perks for your donors: Is there something directly associated to your campaign that you can offer donors? If you are building/creating a perk, make sure you understand the steps necessary to create the perk and know exactly how much money you’ll need to create and distribute this perk.
  4. Thank your contributors: Send personal thank-you emails to your contributors after each contribution.

Components of your Campaign:

Pitch video:

  • Short video (1-3 minutes) that expresses your goals and intentions
  • Give contributors a sneak peak of your project
  • Make it clear and concise – use visuals and audio
  • End with a clear call to action

Written Pitch:

  • Tell a story
  • Explain exactly why you are fundraising
  • Breakdown your budget so donors understand exactly what their money is going towards
  • Make it visual – include images and break up long sections of text
  • Make sure it isn’t too long – keep the readers attention


  • Add links to facebook, twitter, and any other social media related to your campaign

Spreading the word:

Build Buzz: Before your campaign is live tell your friends and family about it and encourage them to donate as soon as it is live so that your campaign gains instant traction. Consider throwing a launch party to get people excited about your idea.

Social Media: Create a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and blog for your campaign and encourage your friends and family to share your campaign on their personal social media to create awareness. Create social media accounts before you launch your campaign and gain followers so that when you launch it goes viral. Celebrate campaign milestones on social media.

Email: Send PERSONAL emails to your friends and family asking them to support your project and include a link to your campaign. People are more likely to respond to one-on-one emails rather than a bulk email.

Local Media: Consider local media outlets – newspaper, TV, and radio.

Some popular crowdfunding platforms:

Name What kinds of projects does it fund? Fixed funding (projects must reach their funding goals to receive any money) or flexible funding (keep all the funds you raise)
KickStarter all projects fixed funding
Indiegogo all projects personalized-fixed funding or flexible funding
Start Some Good social change projects 2 goals: one goal your venture needs to start doing good that needs to be fully funded in order to revive any money, and an ultimate goal you do not need to reach ultimate goal to receive funding
Catapult non-profit organizations working to improve the lives of girls and women fixed funding
Up Start all projects fixed funding
Pozible all projects fixed funding
Crowdfunder tech startups, small business, and social entrepreneurs
Rocket Hub all projects flexible funding
Crowd Rise non-profits flexible funding
appbackr tech: apps flexible funding
Angel List tech startups
Go Fund Me all projects flexible funding
Peer Backers all entrepreneurial projects fixed funding (with exceptions)
Causes non-profits
Razoo non-profit or personal cause