Crowdfunding seems to be a growing BJJ phenomenon at the moment both for businesses, products and individuals. Although I don’t like writing work related topics (my day job includes fundraising) its does seems worthwhile to write a UK based blog. Plus with the worlds coming up I see an increasing number of athlete campaigns in my social media feeds! I may do a more detailed blog at some point in the future focusing on either group or individual fundraising but for the time being some general consideration before doing crowdfunding.
What is crowdfunding?
Simply put crowdfunding is a way of raising finance by asking a large number of people each for a small amount of money. Aside from charity events recent examples include Jiu Jitsu V The World, Stuart Cooper Films, Rainha Fightwear, Because of Judo and a whole host of athletes
Step 1 – Why are you crowdfunding?
It sounds pretty obvious but seriously what’s your story? You’re asking people to invest in you or your idea. What is unique selling point? Identify the “why” before you even look to setting up a page. If you can’t clarify it beyond because I need the money then you’re probably not going to be that successful. Feel free to bounce your ideas and thoughts of friends and family. If you can’t convince them then convincing someone over the internet might be challenging! This is particularly key for any athlete fundraising. The BJJ community are a generous bunch but why should they fund you and not someone else? How does a funder know their making a worthwhile investment and not just supporting a trip or holiday abroad?
Step 2 – Consider your platform?
There are a host of sites out there that supports crowdfunding but which is best for you? Different sites have different focuses, different support packages and crucially take a different cut from what you raise. Some of the common platforms to consider:-
- Just Giving Crowd Funding
- Sponorsise Me
- Make Me a Champ
- Pledge Sports
Step 3 – What are your rewards?
If you’re using a platform that enables rewards to donors what can you give them? Rewards I’ve seen have ranged from shout outs on social media, personalised thank you letters, autographs / photos, products, private lessons, early access to videos and media and even handmade beanie hats. Your rewards should not be the be all and end all of my why people donate but they do make a big difference particularly when doing business or products marketing.
Step 4 – Work at it!
If you set up a site and just expect the funding to arrive then you may struggle. You’ll need to promote the page and keep promoting the campaign, whether that’s via social media, blogs or page updates. Regular updates on how you or the project are doing not only helps keep backers informed but also shows to potential funders that you’re committed and engaged. Also it’s generally known that people are more likely to donate to a campaign that already has attracted some level of funding. So if you do fundraiser elsewhere looking at updating your site or total to reflect that!
Step 5a – Follow Up
Great you’ve got the funding. Don’t forget to follow up on what you’ve agreed to do. You never know when you might need support again so make sure you update the page regarding the success of your project and ensure any rewards are delivered.
Step 5b – Consider your options
Ok so you haven’t got what you needed. Consider how you might find the shortfall in funding so you can move forward or sit down a reflect why it didn’t work. Crowdfunding is a competitive marketplace and ultimately the BJJ community isn’t the large. If you’re offering a nieche product or service then perhaps your targets were too large? If you’re an individual get feedback and look at revisiting the drawing board regarding how you can stand out?
I hope you’ve found this whistlestop tour useful. However it might just be the crowdfunding might not be the best option for you so consider how else you can raise funds. Grants and loans might not be an option for everyone but maybe a club grapplethon or open mat? A sponsor or friendly company who you could speak to about raffle prizes? Do you have a friendly instructor who’ll do a fundraising seminar or can you sell private lessons (if you’re a higher belt). Maybe your skill is sewing on patches or perhaps volunteer to do a club gi wash to raise funds! Your only limits is your imagination and the generosity of your friends!
[Photo credit: Got Credit]