Ethical food heroes, hiSbe (How It Should Be), recently crowdfunded £30,820 from some 338 supporters to grow their alternative supermarket in Brighton. We spoke to co-founder, Ruth Anslow, to get her take on their crowdfunding experience and are happy to share some real pearls of crowdfunding wisdom from the hiSbe team.
1. What worked well for your crowdfunding campaign?
- Having well-established social media networks – we used Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+, and we used the #hisbe4brighton hashtag.
- Doing a video for our Buzzbnk campaign – lots of people gave us good feedback on it.
- We offered money-off coupons to use in the HiSbe store as rewards for our supporters.
** For example, backers of the hiSbe crowdfunding campaign putting in £10 were given £12 of money-off coupons to spend in the hiSbe store. Backers putting in £30 were given £36 of money-off coupons and so on. You can see all their rewards on their Buzzbnk project page.
The vouchers worked well because they are simple and tangible. They pay for themselves several times over as they will bring people into the shop repeatedly.
- Engaging and motivating existing supporters online and offline.
- The 21 day countdown (hiSbe’s crowdfunding campaign was 90 days long but they ramped up their efforts for the last 3 weeks and used the urgency to harness much of their support).
- Local press support
2. What didn’t work so well?
- Some people assumed the 21 day countdown was the countdown to the shop opening -we could have made that message clearer and snappier.
- We had an amazing 338 people back our campaign but we had thousands of views of our project video. We could have found ways to try and convert more people, who clearly had an interest in the project because they watched the video, into actual backers.
3. What would you do differently if you did it again?
- Make it for far less time: we did 90 days and it’s impossible to keep people’s interest for that long! People need a sense of urgency in order to sign up.
Tip from Buzzbnk: If you want to run a shorter campaign (i.e. 30-45 days, you need to be very well prepared, making a thorough plan of action for every day of your campaign to ensure you are making the most of the time available. You can see a Sample Campaign Action Plan here.
- We should have done a better job of featuring the campaign on our own website.
- Keep our campaign page and video shorter and snappier.
- Tie it in with more offline events – we could have done some fundraiser events during the quiet time (the second month)
4. Do you think hiSbe have benefitted from the crowdfunding campaign in any way other than raising the funds?
Yes, it’s given us a new level of credibility, because it shows to other potential investors that there’s a demand for/interest in our project. It’s also a great marketing tool and raised local awareness and generated a lot of new hiSbe Twitter followers and Facebook likers.
5. What tips would you give to others embarking on a crowdfunding campaign?
- Put in the work. You need to put the time in to push the campaign through the social networks and offline, especially in the last 2-3 weeks.
- Don’t be afraid to ask people directly for money. The worst they can do is say no.
- The last day is crucial. We raised 23% of the money on the last day. Amy (hiSbe co-founder and Ruth’s sister) dedicated the entire day, reminding people who’d pledged support but not given money, shouting about it on Twitter and Facebook and approaching potential contributors directly.
6. What was the best thing about Buzzbnk?
Buzzbnk are really well connected and respected. They support social enterprises and CICs, specifically, so it’s more specialised and credible to us than other crowdfunding sites. We got a lot of advice and support from Theresa and Michael [Buzzbnk’s co-founders] when we were trying to work out our strategy and throughout the campaign.
To find out more about hiSbe, visit their website. If you are thinking about setting up your crowdfunding campaign on Buzzbnk and you would like some advice on your campaign action plan, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.