This is not your usual crowdfunding advice

Listen, if you are like me you probably have a virtual library of books, bookmarked self-help articles, video courses, and more resources waiting to be opened and digested, claiming to have the all-powerful answers bursting with ways that you can do and be better on almost every level.

Why do we have to make everything so complicated? The only advice you need is so simple it’s actually cliché.

It’s so clear and obvious that you probably will pass right on over it even as it looks you in the eye and you recognize it as if being reintroduced to an old friend you’ve known your entire life. Most will then will say “huh” in recognition for a good five seconds and then go right back to their usual struggles.

Things seem easy or hard because we think they are so.

The only thing you need to succeed at (insert online or offline project dear to your heart here) is to think and act from the inside out at all times.

inside-out thinking

Let me use Crowdfunding as an example to help illustrate what this looks like.

I’ve been Crowdfunding since 2004 and have raised over $100K online for needy children in developing countries on five continents in my so-called spare time. I’ve seen over 90 projects through from beginning to end through my now archived grassroots website, Aura’s House.

Some wildly successful projects funded in mere hours, others took over a year and stagnated and looked quite hopeless at times. In “Kickstarter” terms these projects would have been considered failures because they took a long time to fund. But they did fund so they can only be considered successes. Here’s a sample of some successful Aura’s House projects where some funded quickly, others at a snail’s pace.

I will say that my first project to raise $4,500 to build a brick home for my sponsored child Aura in Guatemala was extremely difficult to get off the ground.

Raising the first $100, let alone $1,000 seemed almost impossible and was an uphill battle. Most people approach Crowdfunding like some cool new outfit they have yet to try on. They see others raising thousands (millions if you are a lucky politician) in a day and they think “why not me too?” In other words, it looks so easy until you actually try it yourself.

Too many people cobble together a poorly thought-out and badly-worded/crafted project and then try to launch it all in the same day as some kind of afterthought on their to-do list. The goals are usually way too high ($10K when really a first-time crowdfunder should stick to goals of $1K or under to start, for example).

Most “failed” or “failing” Crowdfunding campaigns start off with a story about the person doing the fundraising instead of the recipient and why they should be given assistance. In essence the text fails to inspire the potential donor and show them how they can become the hero of this story and make something wrong in this world into a big right.

With the actual project flawed or just weak and uninspiring, the crowdfunder then launches it, does one (maybe two) mass social media postings and then sits there and wonders why the donations do not come rolling in.

There is a better way. It is simple and yet it’s hard because it means leaving your comfort zone.

The magic and simple formula (boiled down in a nutshell) for Crowdfunding success is this:

1.) Start with yourself. The first donation needs to come from YOU. If you don’t care about your own project, no one else will. You can make one $50 donation to get things rolling or donate $20 as yourself and the rest in smaller amounts as “anonymous” or in loving memory of someone you love. This gets your number of supporters up as well as showing everyone who visits your page that you have raised more than a big fat zero. (NOBODY wants to donate to a project that has raised $0.) If you only have $5, then just DONATE $5. If you don’t care enough about your own project to donate even a little bit to it then you will most likely NOT be successful.

2.) Next, you need to get your family and friends on board. Ask them via well-crafted INDIVIDUAL personalized emails or messages that address them by name. It doesn’t matter how much they donate at this point, only that they are slowly raising the donation amount and being counted as a supporter. Never underestimate the power of “social proof” during the first day, week, and month of your campaign. The more people you can list helping you, the better for you and your cause.

3.) Acquaintances and more distant contacts come next. If they see a decent number of people already supporting your project as well as the amount raised going up (no matter how slowly) they will be more likely to donate and support your cause.

4.) Finally, complete strangers will start to support your cause, usually after you’ve gotten at least 60% of the way to your goal. You may even snag a much-coveted “hero donor.” These are the ones who will finish the entire project off if you are close enough to your goal, knowing that they were the ones to make this Crowdfunding dream come true for you, for your recipient, and for all your supporters.

5.) Rinse and repeat. Did the donations stall or stop coming in? Donate again yourself! Send out an update. Add another perk. Be creative and come up with a raffle or fundraising event offline to help boost online totals. Make an announcement at work during an assembly and put out a collection jar. Show up! (Sorry. I’ve seen too many Crowdfunding projects sitting online collecting dust with no one steering the ship.) The important thing again to reignite momentum is not to get discouraged. Even adding $1 to your total now and then keeps your project alive and moving in the right direction. If it takes months, then so be it. If you need to think of your project as a bank account that you can only make a small deposit into each week, then so be it. Slow and steady wins the race.

These tips also apply to launching an online course, putting up an eBook, or starting a business. The formula is exactly the same. 1.) Start with yourself. 2.) Get the support of your family and friends next (social proof). 3.) Reach out to acquaintances and strangers last. 4.) Rinse and repeat.



With time and small baby steps of tiny success after tiny success, things gradually get easier. Momentum builds and thanks to your history of working towards your goal from the inside out, your dreams start to manifest and look larger and more impressive with each passing day.

Yes, it’s true that in some rare cases strangers may support and propel your project (or book, business, etc.) towards greatness, but this only happens maybe 2% of the time. The projects we read about or see in the media that are seemingly overnight-successes are often not what they seem or are very much exceptions to the rule.

And if you can get help, please accept it. Many hands make light work but ONLY when everyone working together as a team actually takes ownership of the project. If you are the leader of this group, you will have to at least take ownership yourself even as others flake out around you. (It happens far too often.)

If you’d like a full step-by-step game plan, support, and proven fundraising ideas that work (that can be read in just about one hour) to help support you from the inside out, get started with a free sample from my book, Crowdfunding Confidential. Raise Money For You and Your Cause.

I wish you nothing but success on your journey and hope you’ll always remember, (to be cliché one more time today,) “you are the one you have been waiting for.”

Claim your own power first and let it ripple out and lift up everyone around you!

Happy Fundraising! Who are you going help today?


go get it