Adam Chapnick of Indiegogo shares insights on the art and science of a million-dollar campaign

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People have started to understand that engagement has helped projects earn more money. We’ve shared a lot of data. If you go to indiegogo.com blog under "Insights", there’s a huge number of analytics that share how you can be 1000 per cent more successful with your campaign. If you do X you’ll make 100 per cent more than if you do Y, things like that.

What we’ve seen is mostly around how people understand how to engage their audience. Both in their video, where a personal video has really helped. When people started doing personal videos instead of a still photo. It increased campaign by 122 per cent.

There are other incremental increases like that around Perks, perk levels, perk amounts, and how to offer them.

As for Updates, if you update 31 times in your campaign, you make 408 per cent more money.

People are understanding that and do it. We’re having amazing results. 2

Are there any areas that are better suited to start a campaign?

We’ve been stunned by the variety of projects, businesses, causes, and creative projects that have used it successfully. One of the fun things about being an open platform, is that we very much believe in not curating. We are about not knowing better than you what’s worth raising money.

We’ve seen incredible things get funded that we’d never have dreamed of. We had the first crowdfunded baby a couple of months ago. A couple who  was unable to get pregnant got IVF that they crowdfunded, and people gave them money. It worked and they just had a baby.

The Tesla museum, that’s happening right now. It’s probably about to go over a million dollars. A guy (Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal online comic series) thought it would be cool to buy Nicola Tesla’s old laboratory and stop it from becoming a strip mall....Indiegogo’s blog post shows an interesting infographic on the key data points of the campaign, including the campaign averaged $6,000 per minute and that over 20,000 people contributed with an average contribution of $25, the campaign still raised over $875,000.

In general, is the amount of money being raised increasing?

A lot more. We break our own records every couple of weeks. I think it's only going to keep happening. So much of crowdfunding is still totally unknown to most people that would benefit from it. It's thrilling to see how people discover and use it.

With donation amounts going up so much, how can you be sure that all the money is going to go to what they say it's going to go to?

All crowdfunding is a contract between the funder and the project creator. We’ve found that because of the nature of the crowdfunding endeavour, that you have to go through your first circle before stranger will start giving you money. The data shows that between 20-40 per cent of any campaign regardless of it’s goal needs to be funded by first circle, which is people who know you, know of you, know that you’re a person and has interacted with you. It could be your Facebook friends, twitter following, your family.

Once that threshhold has been reached, then strangers will start to give. We found that if you’re willing to screw over your best friend, your mother, your sister, your brother, and everyone you know, then yes, you can let down a lot of people. That’s a very powerful deterrent and we’ve found that very few cases of funders of being disappointed because project didn’t say what they would do.

Even though it will often will happen that maybe you predict that you can do something with an amount, where you weren’t able to do that. By being in communication with your funders, they’re very support and often will fund you a second time to help you finish that you misjudged.

Why are you at the Grow Conference in Vancouver, Canada?

The reason that we are at the Grow conference is because it’s amazing place where hundreds and hundreds of incredibly creative people are bringing projects, everyone of which is worthing of an amazing crowdfunding campaign. Literally every person at this conference would benefit from an Indiegogo campaign.

Canada is a very active country for Indiegogo. It’s a natural fit. We’ve had a lot of success stories out of Canada, and I suspect there’s only going to be more.

What is the future for Indiegogo?

The future is finding more ways that we can serve the people we are serving better. Do more things that create more success and higher amounts of funding and more engagement, so more people can have success stories with their crowdfunding campaigns.

Notes:

1 I spoke with Catalina Briceno of the Canada Media Fund at Grow 2012, and she announced that they were publishing a report on "Crowdfunding in a Canadian Context: Exploring the Potential of Crowdfunding in the Creative Content Industries", which can be downloaded here.

2 Prior to our interview, Adam Chapnick spoke at the Grow conference about the key ways to a successful campaign:

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