3 Tips for Learning from Your Crowdfunding Failure

Ugh. Let’s talk about failure.

It’s a sad topic, but here’s the reality–not every nonprofit crowdfunding campaign has a happy ending. Many nonprofits crowdfunding campaigns fall short of their funding goals.

You’ve worked hard in setting up your site, rallying your friends and family, and pitching the press. It’s a tough pill to swallow when you’ve put yourself out there and things just don’t work out as you intend it to, but there’s also a great opportunity to learn from failure, regroup, and make your next campaign a success.

What do you do next? Here are three steps to take after you have failed.

Accept the crowdfunding failure

After missing your nonprofit crowdfunding goal, you have to go through the five stages of grief. This otherwise known as the Kübler-Ross model.

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

You may not experience these five stages linearly, but the goal is to come to accept the failure of your nonprofit crowdfunding campaign and try to learn from it. If you can explain failures as temporary, specific, and external, then you will persist even in the face of adversity.

It’s at this point where you can move into a growth mindset.

Identify what you did well on the crowdfunding campaign

Now that you have accepted the failure, it’s time to embrace it fully. Gather your team together to perform a review. Some people call this a post mortem or after-action review.

Always start on the positive. Focus on what you and your team did well. Ask yourself:

  1. What strategies worked?
  2. What tactics paid off?
  3. Why did our donors contribute?
  4. What are you proud of?

The goal here is to move beyond the overall failure and to see what areas that you did well in so that those actions can be reinforced and encouraged for next time.

Determine what where there’s room for improvement for your next campaign.

Next, figure out what steps to take to make those improvements. These are the potential areas that “broke” the campaign. Ask yourself:

  • What did we spend too much time on?
  • What did we focus too much on?
  • What caused delays?
  • What channels didn’t work?
  • Did we have the right idea?

The goal here is to pinpoint the areas of improvement so that you can grow and learn to run a crowdfunding campaign successfully next time.

Chart out a plan for your next crowdfunding campaign

Take your learnings from what you did well as well as what can be improved upon.

Come up with a plan on what you would do differently next time, how you would focus your time, and how you could make your next campaign a success.

Failing does not equal being a failure. Failing gives you an opportunity to learn, grow, and achieve in the future. So pick yourself up because there’s no reason why you can’t reach your goals.

Rob Wu
Rob Wu is the CEO of CauseVox, a crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising platform for nonprofits and social good projects. Rob has raised over $200,000 for his own social good crowdfunding projects, and his work has been recognized by the Mayor of Austin and featured in the NYTimes, CNN, Christian Science Monitor, and WSJ.