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Indiegogo: The best practices for crowdfunding

"Crowd funding is not panhandling. It is not simply asking strangers for money," says Vaskis

Indiegogo's games 'guru' John Vaskis has given a keynote speech at Games Invest, a funding conference and networking event taking place as part of the GamesIndustry Fair at the Eurogamer Expo.

Vaskis was understandably keen to push the use of his company's service above those of competing crowdfunding platforms, but offered plenty of advice on what makes a good campaign whichever platform developers decide to use.

Whilst Vaskis celebrated the potential of crowdfunding to enable indies and other small organisations to compete with multinational publishers and well-funded corporations, he also warned that you can't just drop a virtual hat and expect it to magically fill with money.

"Crowd funding is not panhandling," Vaskis told the room. "It is not simply asking strangers for money.

"Whilst you may have what you believe is an incredible idea, it can take something special to persuade others to feel the same way. Kindling that spark of belief in your project is the key factor to success for any crowd funded idea."

Firstly, Vaskis explained, take time to prepare. 73 per cent of successful Indiegogo campaigns spend at least a day getting their campaign ready before they go live. Making sure your idea is watertight and appealing is obviously a key factor in that, but proper presentation and structure of the project will put you in great stead.

Videos are hugely important. Campaigns with them raise, on average, 114 per cent more than those without. Proper perk and reward structure also raises chances of success considerably - 93 per cent of successful campaigns offer perks and 70 per cent offer 3 perks or more. Essentially, more photos, videos and rewards means a better chance of reaching your target.

As Vaskis himself put it, "more media means more money."

Once your project is ready and in the wild, it's time to start building an audience. Virality and user evangelism is key here, but reaching the tipping point is tricky. Vaskis recommends maintaining a tight focus on those you know you can reach first, garnering the support of friends and family to get the ball rolling. That way, you get your balance off the ground and project an aura of potential success. People are simply much more likely to contribute to a fund which is already on its way.

Once the buzz begins to build, social networking becomes your best friend. Early adopters will, as in so many other spheres, become ardent evangelists, spreading the word virally to friends and followers via Twitter, Facebook and word of mouth: "A tiny snowball at the top of a social media mountain can quickly create a funding avalanche."

One way to do that is to add a minimum donation of $1, letting people make a small, off the cuff commitment which keeps them engaged with the longer term development of your idea. Now you're in touch with that funder, with an idea of what they're interested in and a way to contact them, getting them to commit more is a much simpler prospect.

That re-engagement is also tremendously useful as your ideas continue to develop. Build a solid contributor base and you may find that revisiting them for further funding is easier and more efficient than reaching out to new members. Vaskis' advice: don't underestimate the generosity of your audience, just make sure they understand how much you care about what you're trying to do.

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Dan Pearson avatar

Dan Pearson