Last week I was speaking at a conference on a panel about crowdfunding. During Q&A one of the audience members asked the following:
We have a crowdfunding problem. The volunteers at our non-profit don’t fully understand the mission of our organization and it’s hard for them to feel passionate about what we do. When we ask them to start crowdfunding campaigns on our behalf, they have trouble raising money. What tips can you give us to help them have more successful campaigns?
This organization didn’t have a crowdfunding problem. It had a purpose problem. Organizations that don’t have a clear understanding of why they exist are going to find it impossible to share their stories effectively. So before you start recruiting engineers, pitching angels, or asking volunteers to crowdfund for you, figure out the reason you wake up every morning pumped to come into work. That’s your organization’s story. Once you’ve figured this out, step two is to go to work and live that story everyday.
StoryLiving (not storytelling) is the kernel that will eventually sprout into your brand, which Tomasz Tunguz wisely points out is becoming increasingly critical to startups as barriers to entry drop and technology becomes commoditized.
At the end of the day, Crowdfunding is never going to be a magic bullet. It is simply a communications tool to distribute and amplify your story. If your story is no bueno, all crowdfunding is going to do is amplify how your no buenoness. If you’re having trouble recruiting top talent, attracting angels or VCs, or crowdfunding your startup, look deeper than your recruiting process, your pitch deck or the crowdfunding platform you’re using. Once you figure out your organization’s purpose, your story becomes clear and the rest begins to take care of itself.