How Hannah and Dave Cree of Common Good leveraged the crowd to get the most out of their crowdfunding campaign.
This is the second article in our Leveraging the Crowd Crowdfunding Series. Click here to read the first article with advice from Tracy Persson of Cozy Intentions.
Common Good is a social enterprise linen and laundry service for the hospitality industry based out of Calgary. Their ultimate goal is to tackle the issues surrounding poverty in Calgary. Dave and Hannah Cree started their crowdfunding campaign on July 1, 2016, with a target goal of $10,000. The money raised was committed to on-boarding restaurants to their service and employing 1,000 hours to people at a living wage over their first three months. By the end of their 45 day campaign, they had raised $11,765 from the public to move forward, That’s no small feat, and a strong sign of the community support behind Common Good’s goals.
Investing in social enterprise projects can be a tricky business, but Dave and Hannah firmly believed that even the multi-layered issue of poverty can be solved with creative solutions. We spoke with Hannah Cree who shared her thoughts on what she thinks aspiring crowdfunders need to know from her own experience.
Plan how you’re going to show up in the community
One of the most important parts of crowdfunding is marketing. But there’s more to marketing than just sending out a bunch of emails. You also have to figure out how and when you’re going to be involved in your community. “I really think you have to plan out a content calendar for your whole campaign and events,” says Cree. “What events can you go to, where can you promote your stuff, are there speaking opportunities, are there podcasts? What content will you do?”
This level of pre-planning doesn’t end with the events you’re attending, you should also look at what events and holidays you might want to avoid overlapping with. “We didn’t want to run over Stampede, because even if there’s a lot of events to go to with Stampede, trying to get your message out there is really hard too. But that depends on your brand, as well. If you’re a Stampede-driven brand or have something to offer them, then that’s probably a good time for you. Really take the time to put it together in a calendar for yourself.”
Don’t just get social, get engaged
“Make sure that you’re pre-planning some of your social media, because you gotta talk about your business or product every day in new and fascinating and awesome ways. Basically you feel like you’re begging every-day,” explains Cree. Having a strong social media presence is a must for businesses given the current digital landscape. The tricky stitch is keeping your community engaged day in and day out. “We found that our top performing social shares were the ones when we just picked up our phones and shot out a quick, personal update. It’s really important to show people what you’re doing and give share messaging that is real and on the spot; they want to know you’re genuine and feel involved in your enterprise,” adds Cree.
Get creative and stay agile with rewards
Get creative with your rewards and don’t be afraid to reach out to other companies for support. “We’re a laundry company, essentially, with linens, so we don’t have products to sell consumers. And really, who cares about a napkin? We really had difficulty with the rewards. But we were lucky that people heard our story and responded well. So we gave free tours and beer and gift certificates as rewards. We just had to get creative,” Cree adds.
And figuring out how best to position your rewards is just the beginning. “Remember that your campaign doesn’t end after the 45 days. We lovingly, jokingly refer to it as the ‘crowdfunding hangover,’ when you have to fulfill the rewards,” Cree jokes. “But don’t be afraid to tweak your campaign and your messaging as you go and change out or increase your rewards. It’s a great validation tool for your business to use.”
Remember to think big picture
The business of social enterprise can be tough, but incredibly fulfilling, just like running a crowdfunding campaign. “I’m most proud of the fact that six people have moved out of the homeless shelter,” reveals Cree. “And that’s not because of us. We gave them a job, but there’s choice on their end. They have to save money and they still have to go through the process of trying to find a home, potentially being judged, navigating through people’s perceptions, and so on.”
“When days are tough, that’s what we think about. Those six people.”
Looking for more tips on how to crush your own crowdfunding campaign?
Check out our other articles about crowdfunding and accessing capital, alongside the other articles in our Leveraging the Crowd series with our crowdfunding role models.