The crowdfunding campaign that never happened

Back in August 2013, when I started laying down my big plan for OUTRUN CANCER, the top two critical things that came up in my long list of to-do’s were the need for a new and revamped website and a kick-arse marketing campaign.

The old website was just a blog and I needed a website I could use also as a fundraising platform.
The marketing campaign, well-structured and delivered, is obviously essential to get people and sponsors on board.

I did some research, had some quotes and put together a plan of actions that resulted in a price tag of around $30K!
Sure the long term benefits and savings of the investment were good, but the cost was out of my budget unfortunately.

So, trying to think outside the square and triangle, I thought I could ask the community to help by crowdfunding!

For those that do not know what crowdfunding is, in brief, it is a way to raise capital from the community for a business idea. You post the idea, your needs, your product/value, and the $ amount you are trying to raise to an online crowdfunding platform. People can support you by pledging to make a contribution in return of a “reward”. If you reach, and only if you reach, your fundraising target, the pledges are processed and you receive the funds, minus a service fee.

A few large-scale projects and ideas have been funded this way in Australia and overseas.

So, why should it not work for me too?

I started working on it, learning the best practices of crowdfunding, creating pitches, videos, sourcing suitable rewards and finding ways to make my project stand-out. Creating what for me was the ultimate “offer you can’t refuse”!

My fundraising target was $37K (project cost + cost of fundraising). Pretty high for the average crowdfunding project. I could have aimed for a smaller amount, sure, but then would it cover the real costs and deliver the results?
Without even realising it, I spent a good three weeks getting the basics covered.
Then talking to more and more people that ran similar campaigns before, reading about their stories and talking with the guys from the crowdfunding website, I realised the support I needed would have been very hard with my current network. Not just that, but I would have had to invest an additional two months almost full time to have a good chance to hit the goal of $37K. Because remember, if you don’t hit your goal, you don’t get ANY money.


So, I decided it was too risky and not really worth it at this stage.
Even if I did hit my target and receive the $30K I needed, it would have been too late to actually use it and get everything ready in time for this year event.
In addition, I would have spent an additional two months doing something out of the real scope of OUTRUN CANCER.

So I parked the idea and went back to the drawing board.

The rest is history.
You are reading this on the new website that I originally built myself. Then my super talented wife, horrified by my poor aesthetic web design standards, took pity on me and came in to support. And just recently my friend Jacob offered his technical help to speed the whole thing up, with the challenge of getting the home page to load faster than I can drink an espresso.
The marketing piece is still done “in house” but the great news here is that two other talented rock stars – Lauren and Terence – joined the team offering their time and expertise to help!
A few more people have offered to help in other areas, photography, volunteering, strategy and sponsorship. I am so lucky and I am so grateful to all of you!

So, the moral of the story is that, despite not running my crowdfunding campaign, I have reached my goal of getting a new website and marketing campaign together by the time I needed to.
I have learned to become more resourceful and actually use the help that is offered to me by the generous people I am surrounded by.

And also a lesson for the future, sometimes you should delete the video proofs of your past… or just look back and smile! Good fun!

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