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5 Steps For Successful Crowdfunding

Brad Damphousse, CEO of GoFundMe, contributed this article to BusinessNewsDaily's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

The allure of crowdfunding sources is driving entrepreneurs to quickly establish campaigns and lofty funding goals. Some projects are attracting more than 50,000 backers, and reaching a truly viral stage where a product takes off like the "Grumpy Cat" meme. Some individuals are even launching fundraising goals for feature-length films or other projects that require millions of dollars of capital to get off the ground. However, for every massive success, there are thousands of projects that reach much more modest goals, and many that fail to garner any interest at all.

Before starting a crowdfunding page , remember it is best to begin with a specific and measurable goal. This brings us to the first of five tips that will help you to build an engaging and successful crowdfunding page.

[Small Business Resource Center: Everything You Need to Start a Business]

Set a defined goal

This crucial first step means you need to set goals that are both specific and realistic. Visitors to your crowdfunding page need to be able to understand what you are trying to accomplish at just a glance. You aren't the only venture looking for money, so you need to keep it simple.

The goal should also be realistic monetarily, for example funding for a traditional hot dog cart would not require $200,000. Be specific about what the money will provide based upon real-world costs.

Write a catchy title

The competition for dollars is fierce. Your donation page acts like a newspaper headline. It needs to grab the viewer's attention and compel them to take action. Be descriptive about the end goal for your endeavor, focusing on the cool/innovative/fun things the money will accomplish.

Use images or video

Crowdfunding sites are visual channels as much as they are about written content. The right imagery can evoke an emotional response. If you are raising money for guitar lessons, then perhaps a video of you playing horribly will attract attention and sympathy. Try to include people in your images, avoiding logos, graphics and certainly any clip art. For videos, you really need to tell a personal story and include fun visuals and examples of your work.

Consider a reward

If your project reaches aggressive goals, then think about establishing a tangible and creative reward for your backers. You don't want to extinguish all of the funds you just raised, but you may want to contribute something as a gesture of thanks.

Spread the news

The greatest and most compelling crowdfunding page in the world isn't valuable unless it's well known. Use all of your available social sharing tools to share your campaign link. Include it in email signoffs; put it on your business card, everything you do should be focused on driving donations.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.