The power of crowdfunding: how to make the most of it

Get funding with minimum hassle

Promotion planning

While you're at it, also think about the different social media tools you'll be using to promote your campaign. Using a wide range of social media tools might seem like a good idea, but only do it if you can manage to keep track of all of them. For instance, an unanswered query from a potential investor can do a lot of harm.

Also make a list of your initial target group. Besides contacts in your network, remember to reach out to the mainstream media and blogs that have audiences with a similar interest. It's also a good idea to inform them a couple of days before you actually launch your campaign, and hit them again once your campaign is live.

Don't forget to keep exploring different avenues for promoting your campaign even after you've launched it. A crowdfunding platform is not eBay. Your campaign won't sell itself. Also remember that you aren't only looking for people who'll back your project monetarily; you are also looking for co-promoters that will introduce your project to their network.

Keep your investors updated during the duration of your campaign. Share your excitement, new ideas, new rewards and even ask for their opinion or advice if there's scope for it. Whatever you do just make sure you keep them involved.

When you are funded make sure you inform your backers about the status of their rewards, and get cracking to bring your project to life.

Crowdfunding open source software

Thanks to the nature of free and open source software, most of the software development is crowdsourced, but will it become crowdfunded too? As it turns out, the most popular crowdsourcing models offer a unique challenge to open source software. Although you can find successful campaigns for open source software on popular crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarters, they aren't a natural fit.

In an interview with opensource.com, Warren Konkel, CEO of Bountysource, a crowdfunding platform designed specifically for financing open source software, says that free and open source software needs a different treatment than the usual wares on offer at other popular platforms. "Those other platforms work well as a pre-sales model for physical consumer goods and technologies, but we believe open source software needs a better funding model that's more aligned with how software is built."

Talking to LXF, Konkel explains this further by saying that one of the reasons that sets software development apart from hardware is that software development is notoriously hard to estimate. "The Bountysource platform solves this problem by associating fundraisers directly with existing bugs and feature requests."

Another challenge for crowdfunding open source software that decides to use platforms with a reward-based model is selecting the right kind of rewards to tempt pledgers in. A typical proprietary software campaign can offer various versions of the software as a reward.

In contrast, simply because of its open nature, open source software cannot offer product versions with special functions available only to funders. What they can offer are mainly ancillary services like personal support. Some give backers credit on the project's website, some provide exclusive content such as a regular funders-only newsletters, and even physical products, such as exclusive campaign T-shirts. As always, looking at what other open source software campaigns are offering will give you an idea of what to offer.

The Ghost blogging platform offered free accounts on its hosted service, promised backers early access to the platform and offered them a chance to reserve their username on the community website, which was displayed with an emblem to acknowledge their support. Many also see crowdfunding in open source software development as part of a long-term process rather than a one-off investment.