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How to get contributors to back : Give and help the community before launching

How to get contributors to back : Give and help the community before launching

One of the biggest motivation for crowdfunding contributors is a unique reward, a funny video, or a smart campaign text. However, crowdfunding in its essence is asking friends & fans to trust you and back the project, before they actually have a chance to try it out. They don’t know if you actually have the resources and skills to make the project work, or if you have the commitment to fully engage in the project, nor do they know if you really going to deliver the perks & rewards with its features at the announced date. Here are three campaigns that gave back before launching a crowdfunding campaign.

Notman House : A space for technology entrepreneurs

Notman house was crowdfunded on Indiegogo late 2013. It raised more than $120,000, and as such, is an inspiring project for crowdunders. Before being public on indiegogo though, the house had a public café space, where entrepreneurs, programmers, freelancers and students. You can get a chair, get free coffee, and get to work with people. The space is also available for free for various event organizers. Those free  services went on for more than a year, building a sense of community & trust. As a result, most felt they owed Notman House and donated when the crowdfunding campaign launched. Here’s a picture showing the community enjoying the Notman Café notman café

Hexoskin : the first wearable movement, respiration, and heart activity tracker

Hexoskin is Montreal’s biggest crowdfunding on indieogogo, making more than $165,000. The video demonstrates very well the functionality, and the campaign text showcases well the technology and the work behind the shirt. Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, the CEO of the company, was also the founder of the Quantified-Self  meetup group, for many months. That means dozens of hours to promote the group, get a community together, find speakers, a venue, and then host the event. As a result, he was able to build strong relationships by giving back first, and then asking a year later to contribute to Hexoskin Here’s a picture of the community getting together for the QS meetups: Quantified-Self meetup montreal

Ubuntu Edge

Ubuntu Edge is a new kind of mobile smartphone that is powerful enough to be used also as a desktop, with also a new version of the OS. The campaign made headlines worldwide and raised finally $12millions, the biggest amount in crowdfunding history.

Before crowdfunding though, Ubuntu had developed and sustained for many years a large community of Linux and Free Software enthusiasts, those who like spending hours to have an OS that matches their values. In the open source community, collaboration and support is a core value, and it’s no surprise that Ubuntu users fully supported the project when it launched.

Here’s what a local Ubuntu group looks like :

ubuntu community

They’re as engaged as video games fans!

What can we learn?

There is deep psychology in crowdfunding: it’s not a commercial transaction, otherwise customers would just go to a site like Amazon where they have support, guaranteed delivery and low prices.

To have backers contribute and believe in you, it’s important to give back. For your project, that means helping others in your community, in ways that makes sense for you. It might mean giving away free resources or free services like Notman House, it can be volunteering and matching people like Hexoskin did, or it can be also fully engaged online and developing a culture of mutual support.

What do you think? Is it relevant for your project? Write a comment below or send an email to to discuss

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