It happens to even the most successful campaigns: After a swift start and a flurry of pledges from your inner circle of friends and family, donations start tapering off in the second or third week. “You get into this weird dead zone,” says Plympton co-founder Jennifer 8. Lee. (Click on the video above for a preview of Lee’s project.) Here’s how to turn things around:
Don’t let your campaign drag on too long. A month is the sweet spot for most crowdfunding campaigns. Any longer and people will put it on the back burner, then “forget” to donate. Any shorter and your project can seem rushed and disorganized. It’s also best to end your campaign on a weekday evening so you can give the final push when people are probably bored at home and surfing the web anyway.
Stagger your updates. Assume that donations will taper off in the second week of your campaign—and be ready to re-energize it by sending out an update on funds raised or newly added prizes.
Maintain separate email lists. You may want your first email at the start of the campaign to go only to close friends and family, the second to professional colleagues, and the third to everyone else. Casual acquaintances are more likely to be motivated by seeing that the campaign already looks like a winner (thanks to pledges from your inner circle). And be careful not to annoy people who already funded you with numerous follow-on solicitations. After reaching her initial funding goal in less than a week, artist Karyn Olivier sent out her first update—announcing a new “stretch” goal—only to people who hadn’t already contributed.
Don’t freak out. The mid-campaign slump is normal, not an early indicator that your project is doomed. Avoid the urge to add perks you can’t really afford or to start emailing people on a daily basis.