In recent years, more and more entrepreneurs have turned to alternate funding. One of the biggest methods of alternate funding is crowdfunding — a process that enables people to raise money through the internet, allowing them to reach much larger audiences than ever before. Its success as a funding method is shown in the numbers: in 2014 alone, approximately $16 billion was crowdfunded. Since then, the numbers have only gone up.
Today, crowdfunding is used to support a variety of enterprises, from starting your own business, to new innovations in healthcare. Crowdfunding is also used to raise money for personal endeavors, such as funding a semester at college or supporting a travel experience. For travelers and wanderlusters, this sounds like a dream come true: a bunch of people giving you money to travel the world. Now who wouldn’t want that?
It’s easy to drop everything and choose to crowdfund your next adventure, but not all travel crowdfunding campaigns are successful. Unfortunately, a lot of campaigns end in crushing failure and disappointment, with little to fall back on. It’s important to effectively plan and prepare your crowdfunding campaign, so that it is one that people actually want to support. Here are some tips on how to do just that.
It’s All in The Details
Any crowdfunding campaign, travel or otherwise, needs to be detailed in nature. No one is going to want to support a campaign without knowing exactly what their money is going towards. To make sure your crowdfunding pitch is adequately detailed, you will need to plan much in advance.
Research your intended destination thoroughly, making notes along the way. Keep in mind the purpose of your trip while doing so. For example, if you plan to visit New York City (perhaps to shoot a documentary about the ever-changing face of the food industry in NYC), include how you will be spending your days in the city — from an itinerary of which restaurants you will frequent, to your everyday schedule, no detail is inconsequential to those who might be interested in funding you. It’s also important to talk about the process behind choosing particular hotels, restaurants and activities so that people know exactly what they’re supporting.
Another aspect to touch upon are finances. Give your target audience an estimated breakdown of your costs and expenses. If you’ve had past financial struggles (who hasn’t?!), people might question whether you’ll use the money responsibly. Making your purpose clear, especially through a detailed itinerary and well-researched plan can combat that, allowing for people to trust your judgment. If you’re doing charity or volunteer work in your travels, be sure to mention this too. You can also address what you’ve done to improve your financial habits and even share the resources you’re using to repair your credit in your campaign, so that people feel more comfortable about your money management skills.
Have a Purpose? Make It Known
This is probably the most valuable section of the campaign to those investing. People need to know the point of your trip so that they feel the desire to support you. It isn’t enough to simply say you wish to travel the world and experience difference cultures; it’s very unlikely that people will be willing to give you money just so you can have a fun holiday in Thailand.
Be specific about what you hope to achieve, learn and impart to others throughout the duration of your adventure. Rather than asking people to give you money so that you can pay for expenses, think about why people would want to support your cause. Your trip should have a purpose, and your campaign should illustrate what people might gain in return for their support. For example, if you’re yearning to explore the seas and become a certified scuba diver in Indonesia, talk about the results of you accomplishing this. Perhaps your diving experiences will give you insight on coral degradation around the world. Or maybe, you want to learn to dive so as to strike up conversations with local fishing communities on how to reconcile their ocean-dependent lifestyles with the threat or aquatic depletion.
Showing how your travel and adventures could have an impact on a large-scale problem is more likely to gain support. Offering something in return, like real-time blog updates on your progress, will show people where their money is going, in turn making them more likely to part with it.
Vision and Passion: Talk About “Why You”
Your campaign should be a unique one that shows people why they should support you over other crowdfunders. Be earnest with your audience. Tell them what drives you, how you came about choosing this adventure, your inspirations, dreams and even what you’re nervous about. A meaningful story told from the heart always trumps a fluffy superficial one.
Mention your previous travel experiences and what you gained from them, as well as how you plan to make your next adventure even better. For instance, if you’ve met locals on past travels who you still keep in touch with, mention the connection you’ve created and what it means for you. If you haven’t traveled much in the past, be upfront about it and use your lack of experience in your favor, making it one of the reasons why people should support you as an aspiring traveler. Try to emotionally connect with your audience; this will help people feel as though they’re living vicariously through you and your adventures.
Whatever the platform and means of communication, it’s important to remember these points as you create your crowdfunding campaign. Providing relevant details, talking about your purpose and goals, connecting with your audience and highlighting why and how your travels are unique will help make your travel campaign one that crowdfunders actually want to support.