It’s a Dog’s Life: Best Practices for Crowdfunding Campaigns

By Georg Tichy


A smart first step in planning a crowdfunding campaign is to study the crowdfunding websites and identify the elements that are common in the successful and the unsuccessful campaigns. A recent review of various dog-related campaigns showed some clear best practices.

Indiegogo has a system that from the beginning allows campaigns to become social enterprises. A cause, either personal or nonprofit, has no platform fees. But being a social enterprise alone does not imply a better outcome. A good example of an excellent and successful campaign is Tearribles on Kickstarter. They are for-profit and making a single product- a dog toy that is indestructible, in three sizes. They had a goal of $15,000 to manufacture the toy. Close to the end of the campaign, they have $107,572.

The product has been designed and tested, and is universally cute. But beyond having a good product, a toy that can be pulled apart by a dog and put back together again with Velcro, they made a short video showcasing the toy and starring dogs. Dogs acting normal and lovable and reminding us all that we love our dogs. All over the world, we love our dogs and buy them toys. The short video, 1:47, doesn’t have a human narrator but uses humor and captions, and lets the dogs star. The product description uses humor as well, and suggests a product and company that doesn’t take itself seriously, and is happy. All the world likes dogs, and all the world likes happy.

The campaigns involving dogs that have had zero funding? An out of focus snap of a dog lying on a couch, with a request to help pay the dog’s medical bills, as he is getting old. Also the picture of the dog with a tumor, maggots included, with a request for funds for surgery. There are a great many campaigns requesting money so dogs can be shipped from here to there. What these failed campaigns have in common is the implication of misery, with a hand held out for help. That may be the truth, and in person, we might individually step up to help, but on a crowdfunding platform, the sheer volume of those asking for help seems like white noise. It also seems like the person asking for help has done little preparation to make the campaign successful.

Another campaign that has been very successful is Pinhole Pro on Indiegogo. This is a professional grade pinhole camera lens cap for DSLR cameras. They were 945% funded earlier in the summer. This product is tapping into a world-wide trend, the vintage-inspired artisan maker aesthetic that is popular around the world, as people go back to the basics and learn how to spin yarn and build radios and make things by hand, the slow and careful way. Pinhole photography is photography at its most basic, and this product is combining that aesthetic with the convenience and functionality of digital cameras and editing software. It is making it simple and easy to go old-school.

A third campaign that has been very successful is Glitch Textiles. They are an artist-run textile company combining the traditional warmth, softness, and color of textiles with digital patterns- what they callĀ structures of our digital reality. They combined two known into something that was previously unknown, intruding an idea that was unique, new in the world, but somehow familiar.

What these successful campaigns have in common is difficult to define but easy to identify. They tap into something universal. People across the world can look at the ideas behind the products and the products themselves and find something familiar and new and appealing. And all of them carefully designed a product first, and then a professional campaign to showcase that product.

For more information in crafting a successful crowdfunding campaign for your world-class idea, pleaseĀ contact us.


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