Launching a crowdfunding campaign is exhilarating and, as it turns out, a 24/7 job. When I made the decision to launch the Good News Reuse™ Pi Pan campaign on IndieGoGo I found so many bloggers via Google, who gave amazing tips to guide us through the process. I am grateful to everyone who shared their experiences and vowed to do the same for others, after the ride. I hope you can benefit from the things I did right and the things I could have done better.

Other than the obvious – deciding which crowdfunding site is best for your project, video, written campaign/project content, perks/rewards - here is the Checklist my Intern Darya & I set up on Google Docs to run our campaign. We use IndieGoGo lingo like campaign and perks. In parentheses are post-campaign comments.

Pre-launch:

1. Organize email addresses into groups for mailings. Add potential customers, influencers. Determine which friends and family will be “evangelists”.
        (Groups were categorized by best friends & family, including evangelists and friends, which included potential customers. Double check so you don’t include contacts in more than one group.)

2. Set up Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other Social Media accounts.
        (6 months+ or as much in advance as possible.)

3. Twitter – attract followers who will love the concept.

4. Facebook – campaign to get LIKEs.
        (6 months+ or as much in advance as possible.)

5. Continue to Like/Support projects on IndieGoGo. Become familiar with the way the process works.

6. Engage with followers via Social Media.

7. Sign up for a Social Media management site like SproutSocial.  
        (You can manage all of your social media accounts from one spot, schedule posts and track those who are mentioning you. I’m loving SproutSocial.)

8. Create an email signature with links to social networks.
        (Links to your campaign to be added later.)

9. Start a blog and back date if necessary.
(Be the expert on your topic/concept.)

10. Identify and develop a list of relevant targeted media outlets for press releases – local and other newspapers, online publications, blogs.
        (Find out what their lead times are and any special requirements and plan accordingly.)

11. Contact high school and college alumnae, town newspapers, gyms.
        (And anyone else who cares about you.)

12. Create a spreadsheet with all media info – name of publication, contact, email, tel, lead time.

13. Make business cards and include campaign web address.
        (I like Mini Moos with customized photos, although we like to go paperless and did not do this.)

14. Write a Press Release and submit to media according to their timelines for publication. 
        (Follow up via calls and/or email. It’s amazing how much buzz you can get from even one publication. For samples, our press releases are posted on our company blog and you can see the list of who published it under the Good News section of our site.)

15. Identify bloggers, germane to the topic, who might write about the campaign and help spread the word. Write comments on their existing posts to build rapport.

16. Identify and follow celebrities using social media who might take an interest in the campaign.

A few days prior & up to the day of launch:

1.   At least 3 working days before launch, submit Press Release to PRweb ($80). Best days to send out are Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
        (PR Web will critique your Press Release, which was very helpful.)

2.   Draft posting for blog and as an Update on campaign website. Have it ready for day #1.

3.   Post campaign video on YouTube.

4.   Create a Facebook event.

5.   Draft a personalized email about the launch to be sent morning of launch.

6.   Draft a second personalized email specifically for evangelists.
      (A version of the above, but more specifics on how to help with the campaign – via social media, emails.

7.   Send email to all groups announcing the upcoming campaign. Include links to campaign and all social media.
      (BCC (blind carbon copy) for privacy reasons.)

Day of launch:

1. Add a campaign link to email signature - as soon as have link.

2. Update all Social Media sites to include campaign info.

3. Post launch blog on website.

4. Add IndieGoGo campaign widget to website.

5. Add campaign link to Google chat, Skype, Instant Messaging.

6. Email all groups - remember to BCC.
        (Make it easy for them to share – give them a bullet point list with your campaign url and all social media urls.)

On-going

1. Post on Facebook and Twitter every day, all day!
        (Much easier to do with SproutSocial. Post about anything you’re interested in, not only about the campaign. Mix it up with articles related to your topic and personal.)

2. Email blast updates about the campaign once a week.
        (I would have liked to do twice a week but felt my audience would appreciate fewer emails.)

3. LIKE and support other projects on IndieGoGo.

4. Re-tweet Tweets.

5. Blog regularly.

6. Reply to all emails, comments, postings and Social Media DMs. 
       (There will be a lot!)

7. Stay current on relevant blogs and news. Post comments to engage.
     (Bonus...you make new friends.) 

8. Post updates on your campaign at least once a week. 
    (Can add new videos, photos, etc.)

As you can see, it's a ton of work but a lot of fun, especially if you love social media. I do even more than I did before. One of my environmentalist activist idols, Laurie David, found our campaign via a Tweet by TakeOutWithout.org about an article in  Treehugger. Laurie David contacted me, matched the funds we had raised so far on our campaign, and asked me to challenge others to do the same. It was a dream come true. Truly amazing to have support from someone I admire so much!

Our campaign ended up all over the world via Google news. I saw Tweets in Italian, Bulgarian and Slovenian linking to online articles about Good News Reuse™. We've received product inquiries from hotel chains to individuals. We've received press from some of my favorite blogs: Treehugger, EcoFabulous, Earth911 and more. I've made many new friends who share our vision. 

We didn't end up raising all of the funds we need to manufacture the Pi Pan...yet...but I'm optimistic that we will attract investors with all of the positive energy surrounding our campaign. There is so much buzz right now about our reusable pizza box...it just has to happen!