How to Conduct a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

How to Conduct a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

By Monique Y. Wells in Paris, France

In the aftermath of a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that I recently conducted to support the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition video documentary project, Black Women In Europe founder and editor Adrianne George asked me to share the secret of the campaign’s success. I’m happy to share the strategy that I used with BWIE readers!

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Here’s a summary of the campaign’s goals and our results:

Initial funding goal: raise $5,000 in 30 days

Result: reached initial funding goal in 18 days

Stretch goal: raise an additional $1,250 in 9 days

Result: raised $1,350 in 9 days

Overall funding level: $6,350 for 127% of initial funding goal and 108% of stretch goal

Number of backers: 77

So how did I do it?

First of all, I made up my mind that I COULD DO IT and that I WOULD SUCCEED.

Secondly, I got a coach.

Thirdly, I did what my coach advised me to do.

That’s the encapsulated version!

Here are the details:

I entrusted the strategy of the campaign to Kat Jenkins of Multitude. Kat’s subscribers and clients have an 88% success rate for conducting crowdfunding campaigns the first time around!

Kat advises that you first clarify for yourself why you’re taking the trouble to pursue your project and who your ideal backer will be.

You then create a budget for the project (which you will share on your campaign’s Web page), taking care to ask only for as much as you ACTUALLY need, and decide upon a funding goal. At this stage, you also need to determine who your existing “crowd” is and how you’re going to inform them about your project.

Only then will you look at how to increase the number of people in your crowd. If you don’t have a robust network or contact list before you begin your campaign, you’ll need to pay close attention to this step.

When you’ve gotten this far, you need to begin thinking about where and how you’re going to present your campaign. Choosing a platform (examples include Kickstarter, Crowd Rise, and GoFundMe) is a strategic decision. So is determining the length of time that you’ll run the campaign.

The most important thing to think about at this stage is whether you will run an “all-or-nothing” campaign or a “flexible funding” campaign. With the former, you must reach your declared funding goal or you receive no money. With the latter, you get to keep whatever you raise, whether or not you reach your final goal. You might be surprised to learn that “all-or-nothing” campaigns are generally more successful!

Because there are so many pros and cons to consider regarding your platform and the type of campaign to choose, it’s worthwhile to consult with someone who has a wide range of experience so you can make the best decision for your specific campaign.

With your platform selected, you can proceed to design your campaign’s Web page. Most successful crowdfunding campaigners include a video that succinctly explains the project, why you’re passionate about it, and how much you need to raise to make the project a success.

Be sure to pay close attention to the copy on your page, though. Your video won’t be able to present the details that many of your ideal backers will be looking for so they can make an informed decision about your project.

Then, there are the pledge amounts and rewards to consider. Most campaign platforms provide the opportunity for you to propose multiple pledge levels and to provide a reward for each of those levels. This is also a strategic process, particularly if one or more of your rewards is a tangible item that requires shipping to the backer.

You need to be prepared to communicate with your crowd throughout your campaign. If you don’t have a large crowd or if you don’t have the “right” crowd, you’ll need to focus on crowd building during the campaign as well as before your launch.

You also need to be prepared to communicate with your backers after the campaign. This is important because you want your backers to know that you’re fulfilling your commitment to deliver their rewards and that you’re making progress on the project to which they’ve just contributed. It is especially important if you plan to ask these people to fund you in the future!

Crowdfunding is not an easy way to make money. It takes planning, resources, and emotional stamina. But it is very rewarding when done well and it can serve you in ways other than fundraising. If you’re considering conducting a campaign, my advice is to:

  1. Do your research.
  2. Be honest with yourself about your willingness to do the work and suffer the anxiety that inevitably comes with any kind of fundraising endeavor.
  3. If you’re still excited about the prospect after completing Steps 1 and 2, GO FOR IT!

Monique Y. Wells is the president of Les Amis de Beauford Delaney and founder and CEO of the Wells International Foundation.


 

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Women Travel Abroad for Beauford Delaney Exhibition in Paris

In February – March 2016, an extraordinary event brought women students and educators to Paris.

The Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition, held at Columbia Global Centers at Reid Hall (Columbia University’s Paris facility), was the inaugural event for the Wells International Foundation (WIF). It combined art, study abroad, and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) education in educational programming built upon the abstract expressionist art and portraiture of painter Beauford Delaney (1901-1979).

Catalog cover Women Travel Abroad for Beauford Delaney Exhibition in Paris

Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color catalog cover

Students from the University of Arizona traveled from Tucson to Paris to create an Augmented Reality app that allows users to access videos about numerous works in the exhibition. Four of the six students were women.

American K-12 educators traveled to Paris to experience the Global Educator Program for professional development organized by WIF and the social entrepreneurship J Rêve International. Founded by Jacqueline Cofield, J Rêve brought 7 teachers to the City of Light – six from the U.S. and one from South Korea. Six of these educators were women.

In addition to students enrolled in Columbia’s study abroad program, students from Virginia Commonwealth University, the Vassar-Wesleyan program, and Stanford University experienced the exhibition as well. Again, the majority of them were women.

As a result of attending a guided visit to the exhibition and meeting WIF founder and CEO, Monique Wells, Stanford University’s Sojourner Ahébée applied for a fellowship to pursue a 9-week internship with WIF in Paris. She was awarded the fellowship and will begin her project in mid-July 2016.

Monique and Sojourner at Feb 27 visit to BD exhibition portrait 768x1024 Women Travel Abroad for Beauford Delaney Exhibition in Paris

Monique Y. Wells and Sojourner Ahebee © Wells International Foundation

WIF now wants to have museums in the U.S. and Europe host the exhibition. It plans to organize educational and cultural programs similar to those that were associated with the Paris exhibition – including travel abroad to the European venues.

WIF is currently conducting a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise money to create a video documentary of the exhibition. This video will accompany the marketing proposal that WIF will send to museums on both sides of the Atlantic to encourage them to host the show.

The crowdfunding campaign runs through May 24, 2016. Help WIF place the Beauford Delaney exhibition at European museums and provide study abroad opportunities for university students and K-12 educators by clicking on the link below to make your pledge today!

Crowdfunding image 2 François One and Lato Women Travel Abroad for Beauford Delaney Exhibition in Paris

Beauford Delaney: Sharing a Master’s Art with the World!

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Ellen Kountz: B.W.I.E 10th Anniversary Shero

Ellen Kountz, Finance Guru: B.W.I.E 10th Anniversary Shero

header BWIE 1 Ellen Kountz: B.W.I.E 10th Anniversary Shero

Black Women in Europe Blog™ 10th Anniversary notes:

I picked Ellen to be a Black Women in Europe Blog10th Anniversary Shero because she’s gutsy, a trailblazer and extremely cool. I first blogged about Ellen in August 2012. Born in California and raised in New York State she’s teaching finance on the University level in France in French. Non? Oui! She ran a great video series on the Obama campaigns and has developed a reputation as a sought after speaker on African American culture and politics. I witnessed Ellen complete her absentee ballot one election year. She’s shown me what an expat life can look like when one is fluent in the local language, excellent at what they do, passionate about their family and willing to savor everything along the way. Ellen shares her knowledge of finance with us as a 10th Anniversary gift for which I am grateful.

Thank you Ellen for sharing to empower us.

Sisters of the diaspora in the new financial landscape. Text by Ellen Kountz.

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Financial empowerment and economic equality were two subjects that Martin Luther King, Jr. was just getting around to addressing when he was tragically shot down in the prime of his career. There had been rumblings that he would “go there”, which is to say address poverty as an economic rather than purely a social issue, and by doing so, in the eyes of many of his day he was ‘getting out of his lane’. Since then, unfortunately, we have not had broad social debates about economic justice, beyond the narrow and short-sighted stigmatization of the ‘welfare queen’.

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Welfare queen, perhaps, but which one are we speaking of? The under-resourced unwed mother, or the corporate CEO with his endless tax loopholes? I’m more preoccupied with the latter. Over the course of the past half century, our Western economies have become less and less industrialized’, and more and more ‘financiarized’. What does this latter term mean? Basically, it is the fallout of increased regulation, scrutiny, and competition. As financial markets, and stock exchanges particularly, drove a spotlight to companies financial performance, rather than their underlying industrial performance, “finance-speak” became more popular in the media. For example, the stock exchange is a competitive place where companies are vying for investors’ attention and funds, and as this competition intensifies, companies will be forced to make managerial and industrial decisions that are for the sole purpose of satisfying financial needs. When large firms have mass layoffs, their goal is to keep their stock price competitive and maintain dividends for their investors. Slowly but surely, finance is no longer being used to fuel businesses. Instead, business is driving the financial model.

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Now that profit maximization is the imposed norm in most of the world, and getting only very little pushback from alternative models, such as the collaborative economy, or decreased-consumption objectives, we are faced with another fallout of this sinister system. This fallout is the need to multiply our own individual income models. Once upon a time, a nuclear family could realistically live on the parents’ annual income This model has been phased out, by a complex list of savings, investment, income, and retirement needs that require expertise and attention.

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I encourage sisters of the diaspora to do two things: embrace finance and make it your own, it’s a starting point to feeling empowered and entitled. Also, in the name of sustainability objectives, more responsible corporate governance and a re-set of North / South balance of power, consider that the next decades will give rise to what are currently seen as marginal, alternative concepts. Indeed, we can go from exclusion to inclusion in no time in this fast-changing world of finance.

EK image homepage Ellen Kountz: B.W.I.E 10th Anniversary Shero

Ellen Kountz photo courtesy of ellenkountz.com

Ellen Kountz is a finance lecturer in business schools throughout France, including Grenobe Ecole de Management and Paris School of Business. Ellen was born at Stanford University Hospital in Palo Alto, California. In 1973 she moved with her parents and two older brothers to the North Shore of Long Island. Upon graduation from Great Neck North High School in 1988 she attended the undergraduate business program at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania,in Philadelphia. At the end of her junior year, the Dean warned her that she needed at least one liberal arts class to graduate. She went to Paris on a study abroad program to perfect her French while fulfilling the requirement and has lived there ever since.

When people ask Ellen why she stayed in Paris, she reminds them that she was hired as a capital markets intern in the trading room at JP Morgan bank’s Paris office, located at place Vendôme. As a finance major, was there a better first job in the world? Over the years, she went on to positions of increasing responsibility in other financial services institutions in Paris. She most recently worked at the Bourse de Paris, rebranded NYSE Euronext. Currently, she is a candidate for certification as an independent corporate director at the Institut Français des Administrateurs, on the campus of Sciences Po.

Ellen lives in the Left Bank with her husband and daughter.


Meet all of our Anniversary Sheroes.

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DJ Candice McKenzie

Lyota Swainson by Odou John Andrews 150x150 Ellen Kountz: B.W.I.E 10th Anniversary Shero

Holistic hair care specialist Lyota Swainson

Lola Akerstrom Headshot 2015 300px 150x150 Ellen Kountz: B.W.I.E 10th Anniversary Shero

Photographer Lola Akerstrom

Lesley Ann Brown 150x150 Ellen Kountz: B.W.I.E 10th Anniversary Shero

Poet Lesley-Anne Brown


 

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“A Language to Dwell In”: James Baldwin, Paris, and International Visions

Hat tip: Angela Shaw

AUP is proud to announce its upcoming conference “A Language to Dwell In”: James Baldwin, Paris, and International Visions from 26-28 May 2016.

The conference will represent a broad international and interdisciplinary explorations of Baldwin’s life and writing, with a special emphasis on the Paris he inhabited, both what it was and what it is today as a result of the marks he left behind, and on his experiences in Europe, Africa, and Turkey. Stressing the importance of James Baldwin, the conference hopes to be an international point of intersection for all those interested in Baldwin’s writing from literary and cultural critics, to political activists, poets, musicians, publishers and historians.  We seek the widest range of academic and public intellectual discussion around Baldwin’s work which has influenced so many and so much.

Opening Round Table Discussants:

  • D. Quentin Miller, Suffolk University, Boston
  • Doug Field, Manchester University
  • Claudine Reynaud, Université Paul-Valéry, Montpellier
  • Bill Schwarz, Queen Mary University, London
  • Cora Kaplan, Queen Mary University, London

Plenary Speakers:

%name “A Language to Dwell In”: James Baldwin, Paris, and International Visions%name “A Language to Dwell In”: James Baldwin, Paris, and International Visions

  • Bill Mullen, Purdue University
  • Robert Reid-Pharr, CUNY Graduate Center
  • James Campbell, Baldwin Biographer

Call for Papers

The American University of Paris announces a call for papers for the International James Baldwin Conference to be held 26-28 May 2016 at the American University of Paris. Other Paris venues crucial to Baldwin’s experience of the city will be used as additional settings, thus taking conference participants into “Baldwin’s Paris.”

The Conference encourages broad international and interdisciplinary exploration of Baldwin’s life and writing, with emphasis on the Paris he inhabited (intermittently from 1948 onwards), both for what it was and for what it is today as a result of the marks he left behind. An emphasis on his versatility in terms of style, genre and socio-political concerns is also of primary concern. Stressing the importance of Baldwin’s life, work and literary relations, the conference will be an intersection for all those interested in Baldwin’s work: from literary and cultural critics, to scholars of gender and queer theory, to political activists, poets, filmmakers, historians and musicians as well. We seek a wide range of academic and public discussions which can engage with Baldwin’s work.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Baldwin and Expatriate Paris: Friends and Enemies
  • Baldwin as a Global Explorer: The Fire Yet Again?
  • Global Influence: Baldwin’s Work in Non-U.S. Settings
  • Baldwin in a Post-Racial Imaginary
  • Baldwin and Genre
  • Baldwin and Literary Journalism
  • Baldwin and the Civil Rights Movement
  • Teaching Baldwin Today
  • Baldwin and the Other Arts

Proposal for papers should include:

  1. A brief (250-300 word) abstract
  2.  A one to two page vita.

Submissions to Alice Craven at acraven@aup.edu and William Dow at wdow@aup.edu

Deadline for Submissions: December 1, 2015.

https://www.aup.edu/news-events/lectures-conferences/james-baldwin-conference

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