I recently did another Brown Bag Lunch at HUB Impact Ottawa. This one was around crowdfunding videos but what it was really about was storytelling with your values. What I love most about the opportunity to speak at the BBL is that it also gives me a chance to work through some of my own ideas. It’s like throwing spaghetti on the ceiling to see if it’s cooked properly. So here are some things that stuck and stayed:
I’m Sorry for Asking
Think about how often in the day you use apologetic language. “I’m sorry for bugging you but…” “Sorry to ask but…” “You don’t have to but I’d really appreciate it if you…”. Why do we do this? Guilt, the fear of rejection, the fear of overstepping or asking too much? While her reputation is a mixed bag of insult and awe, Amanda Palmer did break the record for the largest amount of money crowdfunded for a music project. The TEDTalk that followed her success tells us just how she did it – by learning the ‘Art of Asking’. Listen carefully to how she describes asking as a gift to be given. What she is really telling you – is have strong values which you can share with others in a meaningful way.
How Do We Make Friends?
There are a number of ways we make friends of varying degrees, but some of the more common ways we connect for the first time are as follows:
– Asking someone a favour
– Telling someone a secret or something that makes you vulnerable
– Sharing an interest or activity
– Being part of something larger (HUB network, Christian Youth Group, Burlesque Dance Troupe)
All of these have one thing in common – they rely on an exchange. I give you something and in return I trust you with it. It is for you. In crowdfunding it is essential to remember that people are not just buying into your product or idea but they are buying into you. They want to cheer for you and your success. So before you do anything you have to have a very clear vision of what your success looks like and what all the steps leading up to look like so that you can communicate this to your backers.
The way that people buy into your vision is through the expression of your values. For example:
My vision is a space where people can come together and grow vegetables. My values are education through mentoring, sustainable living, and getting vitamin D everyday.
So when I begin to shape my story for the video I think about how to represent those values in order to tell the story of a community garden. Perhaps I will choose a moment of a mother showing her son how to plant something. While it shows the daily application of this project, it also demonstrates that my project values meaningful human connection.
There are countless statistics proving that crowdfunding campaigns with video make at least 1.5x more money than those without. This is for a number of reasons but in storytelling when we need to deliver a decisive and meaningful message we use symbols. A flower wilting tells us about the futility of life. So when you are planning your next campaign video whether for crowdfunding or just plain crowd pleasing think about your core values and ultimate vision. Think about meaningful symbols or visual moments which demonstrate your values. But mostly – don’t be afraid to ask for help. People like feeling valuable and if you reward them with the experience and story they are buying into, you are not overstepping one bit.