A Kenyan fertilizer startup called Wanda Organic that turned to Indiegogo to raise money from the online crowd has shared its lessons learned with E4C. Wanda makes two kinds of fertilizers for Kenyan farmers. One is Plantmate, a mixture of chicken manure, sawdust, rice husks, coco peat, molasses and other plants and animal waste that is fermented with a catalyst to create a locally manufactured product that replaces synthetic fertilizers. The other is Prime EC is a spray-on crop nutrient made from soy and seaweed extracts with humic and amino acids and other good things to help plants grow.

Wanda’s team attracted support from a handful of elite local and international organizations, including USAID, the Kenya Climate Innovation Center, IDEO.org, which helped them form a customer-based distribution and service model for their business, and InfoDev, which helped train them in raising cash from the online crowd.

We thought that the lessons that Wanda learned in its crowdfunding campaign could help other ventures raise startup cash online. For advice, we turned to Jerry Sellanga, the communications officer at Wanda’s office in Nairobi, and we also included tips from Slava Rubin, Indiegogo’s co-founder and CEO who breaks down the data in this clip on YouTube.

Jerry Sellanga delivers his tips in three categories.

Planning

Before you start any online campaign, it is necessary to plan comprehensively for the crowdfunding campaign. First of all before you launch your campaign, it is essential to get the views of friends, family and industry stakeholders so as to affirm the viability for your proposed crowdfunding idea. Also you have to identify and approach people with extensive social & business networks and like-minded organizations who can help in terms of publicizing the campaign. There is a lot of preparation that goes into the crowdfunding campaign. The project itself must be viable, the pitch video has to be catchy and interesting, you need to design promotional materials and get in touch with the required stakeholders among other tasks. All these things need to be spot on and it is a pre-requisite that all these things be planned and well thought through in advance so as to increase the chances of success for the campaign.

Online Community

The thing that in my opinion makes or breaks a crowdfunding campaign is how effective the online presence for the campaign is managed. The advent of social media has essentially ushered in a 24 hour news cycle and in order to effectively tap into the power of social media, it is essential that people speak about your campaign at all times. Retweets, Shares, Likes, Mentions by as many people as possible are an integral component to any successful social media campaign. The more people talk about your campaign, the more likely it is to go viral and this can exponentially increase the campaign’s chances of success. Having an active, online community and then giving them the right content is a massive boost for any crowdfunding campaign.

Crowdfunding Is Intensive

If possible, get two or three people to help you in running and managing the campaign. In our experience with our campaign so far, we have found out the hard way that crowdfunding is indeed a very taxing job that requires many people working in tandem so as to successfully pull off the project. It is more like a 24 hour job and the more people you can get to assist in the campaign the better and more effective the campaign will be.

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