Creating a project

One of the main reasons donors prefer crowdfunding to traditional fund-raising drives is that they get to see exactly where their money is going. A project is your idea, but with a well-defined proposal, funding target and completion date.

What title should I give my project?

Make it simple and specific. Remember - it's a title, not a description. It needs to grab attention, but should also include your club or society name/initials.

What should I include in my project?

Donors will need to be able to judge whether they think your project is feasible. In order to do this they will want to know the following:

  • What are you trying to do?
  • How are you going to do it?
  • How will the funds be used?
  • What have you achieved already with regard to this project?
  • Who are you and the other Creators on your team?

If you are after funds to cover the general costs of your project, think about how you could break this down for potential donors. How will you spend the funds? What will they allow you to do? Over what period will the funds be used?

When will my project go public?

Once you've created your project you can submit it to us. If it meets all of our guidelines we'll make it available to the public. But please note that you can't edit your project after submitting it. However, you will be able to add updates.

The Crowdfunding Handbook

Funding a project

Gritstarter: UMBC Crowdfunding uses an instant gift model. All donations will be earmarked to the project whether or not they are fully funded!

Timescale

Projects on Gritstarter: UMBC Crowdfunding can last from 2 weeks to 3 months. However a longer project isn't necessarily better. A project on Gritstarter: UMBC Crowdfunding takes a lot of work so you might not want it to go on for an entire term!

What do I need to consider?

Funding target

The larger your funding target the longer you will likely need to raise it.

Receiving the funds

You will receive funds after the project is closed.

Urgency

A shorter project can convey a sense of urgency to donors. That's why we've found that projects up to a month in length tend to be more successful. A shorter project focuses your promotional efforts and shows confidence in your project.

Video

One of the best ways to increase your chances of achieving a successfully funded project is to make a video. Videos allow Donors to gain more of an idea of who you are and what you're doing. It builds trust between you and the Donors, and this is essential if they are going to make a donation. Donors need to have a feeling that you're genuine and you intend to deliver.

What makes a good video?

A good video is you! At its simplest, a good video can just be you speaking into a camera. The basic idea is to give people an idea of who you are, what you're doing and why Donors should care about your project. Oh, and be yourself!

A good example: Django Pi

A great example: FOURH4ND Does Freshers' Week

Key tips

  • Camera Many computers come with integrated cameras. These are fine. You may also consider using an external digital camera. DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras give awesome results.
  • Sound Reduce background noise as much as possible!
  • Light Lots! Record in the day and use extra lighting.
  • Editing Windows Movie Maker (PC) and iMovie (Mac) are great.

Vimeo has great advice!

Video 101: Choosing a Camera from Vimeo's Video School

Video 101: Shooting Basics from Vimeo's Video School

Video 101: Editing Basics from Vimeo's Video School

What types of video can I use?

You can use Vimeo and YouTube videos.

How large can my video's file size be?

Vimeo's basic account has a limit of 500MB per file and 5GB for premium accounts. YouTube has a limit of 2GB.

Can I use music on my video?

Yes, but only if you have permission to do so from its owner! Alternatively you can use any music from http://freemusicarchive.org/ with artist permission.

How can I promote my project?

Your networks

Start by sending a friendly, personal, email to family and friends. Include a link to your project! Once they have donated to your project it begins to look more attractive to others. This is a good time to get posting about your project on Facebook, Twitter, other social networking sites, and your blog. College, halls or department newsletters are also a great place to raise awareness.

You shouldn't overwhelm your networks with group messages, but gentle reminders throughout the course of your project will be beneficial. Remind them of your deadline. However, nothing beats a personal touch when asking for donations!

Your society's members networks

If you are creating a society, club, team or department project you have many more networks to approach. Get your members to contact their friends and family as well!

The press

Use student or local newspapers and radio stations to get the word out. Media attention will help you reach out to people outside your immediate networks.

The real world

Get out there! Posters, flyers, meetings, parties... not everyone lives in cyber-world!

Don't spam!

Don't overdo it. This won't reflect well on your project, or your university, college or school. Also, please don't use other Creators' projects to promote yours. That's not cool!

Download Promotion Guide

Updates

Updates are a way of interacting with donors. They breathe life into both your project and are essential to the donation process.

Regular updates show anyone viewing your project that you are committed to it and that there is someone with a personality behind it. Your donors will be notified of each of your updates by email. If they like what they see they are more likely to tell their friends about you.

What kind of updates should I provide?

Tweets

Is your project going well? Short messages let donors know that your project is progressing well and their contribution is being used productively!

Developments

Small milestones show that the project is making progress and will encourage new donors that you deserve their cash!

Achievements

Share reviews, press releases, photos and videos! Donors love to see how their donations contributed to the success of your project.

Thanking your donors

It's always important to say thank you! Send a message as soon as you see a gift come in, and don't forget to keep your donors in the loop about how your project turned out.

Everyone likes a hand-written note. You can pick up thank-you cards from the Office of Annual Giving by contacting Leanna Powell (leannapowell@umbc.edu or 410-455-1361). Signing cards is a great way to relax with your team once the project is complete.

The Crowdfunding Handbook ‚Äč