The Biggest Mistake When Marketing a Crowdfunding Program (And How to Fix It!)

Marketing to Everyone

So you’re leading a Crowdfunding Program, and now it’s up to you to market to your campus.

If you are not a marketer by trade, common sense might tell you to cast a wide net to gain program applicants. You might send the same marketing materials and messaging to everyone you can access at your institution: STEM students, athletics teams, art majors, faculty researchers, club advisors, colleagues, and the list goes on. However, in exhausting your network, you may have generated a lackluster response.

And herein lies the problem.

As the marketing guru, Meredith Hill, once said, “When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.”

When you market your program, do you try to speak to everyone? Are you creating messaging with the hopes it will have broad appeal? Do you want your program to be everything to everybody?

If so, consider that the lack of focus in your marketing efforts could be detrimental to your program’s brand and could keep you spinning your wheels in frustration. If only you could connect with the right groups who saw the inherent value your program is offering them!

Instead, Begin with a Core User Segment

Your Crowdfunding Program can technically support many different user segments and personas. But before you jump into the deep end and try to engage everyone at once, we recommend finding a core user segment that will be the heart of (and launch-pad for) your program. Maybe it’s student organizations, or advancement staff, or athletics. Maybe it’s a segment for which you have extensive contacts or one that will help your program reach its goals quickly and efficiently.

Whatever that looks like for you, find your program’s niche and get a solid following there before advancing to the next user segment. This is valuable for a few reasons:

  1. It will allow you to craft your messaging by speaking to that one user segment’s pain points, needs, and desired outcomes.
  2. It will give your program a focus and direction.
  3. It helps brand your program.

Exceptions to the Rule

We recognize that not all institutions have the privilege of choosing just one customer segment. Small colleges, trade schools, and education nonprofits, for example, may be limited in who they can engage.

The good news is that these restrictions in of themselves can add focus and parameters to a program. We still recommend creating subsets in order to best deliver messages that resonate with differing groups, even if you are engaging all of them right away. The voice you use in messaging, how you deliver the message, and who you share the message with are especially important when you’re trying to grow a program with multiple user segments at once.

And If You Still Don’t Know Where to Begin,

Engage your students.

They have extensive networks to which you would otherwise not have access, which can be leveraged to grow your program beyond your own capabilities. When we speak to new program applicants at other institutions running Crowdfunding Programs, most of them heard about the program from a friend who also ran a campaign.

In our six years of experience, programs that focus on students early on are programs that grow and thrive and win!

In the end, your program is yours. We want nothing but success and great things from it! Just make sure you think through how you’re beginning to grow your program and who will be your first ambassadors. Because they are going to set the stage for what’s to come, which is a high honor and really very exciting!


Kristen Gluch | Director of Content Development

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