What’s a Crowdfunding Tribe & Why Do I Need One?

Here at Fundster we throw around the word “tribe” a lot in our articles, interviews, and trainings. To make sure we’re all on the same page, here’s a detailed explanation of what we consider a crowdfunding tribe to be and not to be.

As you begin communicating the details of your crowdfunding project to everyone you know an elite group of people will emerge that truly want to see you succeed and are willing to go above and beyond to help you be successful. These people are your tribe, and every single one of them has their own network of contacts they could tap on your behalf.

The ultra-successful campaigns harness their tribe weeks and sometimes months before their campaign even launches to ensure their campaign gets a fast start out the gate. This burst of activity generates a flurry of initial funds, helps grab the attention of larger players like journalists and members of the Kickstarter staff, and builds the momentum needed for a campaign to exceed its fundraising goal.

Watch this video to see How Your Tribe Fits into Your Overall Crowdfunding Promotion Strategy.

Identifying Your Tribe

Most of the creators we coach are surprised by the varying level of support that friends and family give their campaign. For example, it’s often assumed that one’s closest friends will immediately step up and assist in spreading the word about a crowdfunding campaign. But most people find out the hard way that a lot of their friends are too consumed with their own lives to really make a meaning effort.

For this reason, it’s important you get an early start identifying and communicating with as many potential members of your tribe as possible.

Your tribe will initially consist of the people you know. And as your campaign grows, your tribe will expand to include friends of friends and complete strangers who stumble upon your story and are inspired to tell others.

Identifying your tribe starts with creating a list of the people you already know. This list should include everyone. Friends, family members, and co-workers are the obvious ones; but old acquaintances like neighbors, bowling league teammates, one-night stands, and everyone in that stack of business cards sitting in your home office desk drawer shouldn’t be overlooked.

In fact, the majority of successful creators we interview say they received unexpected support from some of their long lost contacts.

Mobilizing Your Tribe

The art of mobilizing your tribe involves communicating various details in the time leading up to your campaign launch. In communicating with your tribe, it’s important to follow these 5 simple rules.

1. Start Early. You want to begin reaching out to the people you know at least 30 days before your campaign launches. Your initial correspondence should focus on reestablishing contact and making sure you have a reliable communication channel.

2. Build Intrigue. Never lead off with “I’m launching a Kickstarter and need your help.” You should instead build intrigue and mystic around your project. Tell your contacts that you’ve been working tirelessly on a new project that hopefully will be ready to show the world in the coming weeks. Allude to what your actual project is all about, but don’t mention your campaign until after you’ve built up a bit of intrigue around what it is you’re doing.

3. Educate about Crowdfunding. Most people who’ve never done a Kickstarter or donated to an Indiegogo campaign don’t really understand what crowdfunding is all about. It is your job to educate them. Understanding the basics like time limits, how backers receive rewards for their donations, and having to reach your funding goal or you won’t get any of the funds raised are all important for your tribe to know.

4. Never Ask for Money. If you educate your tribe about crowdfunding, then you won’t need to ask for money. They’ll get it.

5. Be Specific in Your Ask. You want your tribe to take action in promoting your crowdfunding campaign. But most people don’t know what they’re supposed to do to help. Tell them. Outline specifically what you want them to post on Facebook, what celebrities or journalists to Tweet at, or what introductions they can make to help progress your agenda and spread the word about your campaign.

Check out this article about How to Use Your Website to Mobilize your Tribe.

Maximizing Your Tribe

In general, most everyone you know wants to see your campaign be a success. However, there’s a hidden mental side to supporting your campaign that a lot of creators overlook. People want to promote something they perceive as being successful. And the more successful your campaign appears to be, the more people will jump on board promoting it through their social network channels.

The key to projecting success is communicating wins regardless of how big or small the win might be. For example, make a Facebook post when you reach the 25% mark of your funding goal. Announce when you get interviewed, mentioned in an article, or are covered by a local reporter. Send a weekly email out to everyone in your tribe highlighting the successes of the week.

By maintaining a constant beacon of campaign win, your tribe will consider your campaign to be an overwhelming success and won’t hesitate to help promote you over the top.

Now What?

Have other tips for identifying, mobilizing, or maximizing a crowdfunding tribe? Know a campaign that’s currently killing it?

Need feedback on your own Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign title?

Please share in the comments!

About The Author

Matt Dahse

Matt is an investment banker and entrepreneur specializing in raising capital and building business infrastructure. Prior to founding Fundster, Matt co-founded multiple social-collaboration businesses, including Newswire, Backpack Forever, Cancer.im, and EXT.