The Crowd Supply Guide: When and How Should I Submit My Project to Crowd Supply?

So you've got a great idea for a miraculous new Marveltron, and you think crowdfunding is the best way to bring it to fruition. When should you submit your project to Crowd Supply and what is the process for approval?

To answer the first question first, before you submit your project, you need more than a good idea. Generally speaking, you should have a prototype of some sort. A rough prototype or, in some cases, a rendering are usually enough to get a pre-launch page set up, but we usually (though not categorically) require an EVT (Engineering Verification/Validation Test) prototype before the crowdfunding campaign itself launches. This is because part of launching a campaign is determining funding goals, and determining funding goals depends on knowing how much it costs to build your project. You can’t really know that until you have a functioning prototype. There may be some projects where this doesn’t hold true, but in our experience launching before there’s a prototype is not recommended.

(NOTE: a Crowd Supply pre-launch page has the same URL as the final campaign page, so creators can share a link often and early knowing that it will stay live through every phase of a campaign and afterwards.)

Once your Marveltron prototype is humming along (or blinking or beeping or whatever it is supposed to do), and you feel ready to launch your campaign or put up a pre-launch page, head over to the Launch page on our website and click the “Tell Us About Your Project” button. This will take you to a form where we’ll ask you some questions about your project.

Please fill out the form as completely and honestly as possible. If there’s something you haven’t yet done or don’t know, indicate that rather than leaving an entry blank. A Crowd Supply campaign manager will use your responses to determine any follow-up questions and, once they have all the info they need, they will make a determination of whether or not your project is a good fit with us. Generally speaking, a good Crowd Supply project is a physical product that exemplifies at least some of our principles as described in the Proclamation of User Rights. It can take us a couple of weeks to evaluate your application, so please be patient.

If we determine your project is a good fit and is sufficiently far along, the next step will be to get a signed Statement of Work (SoW) in place. The SoW puts into writing the rights and responsibilities of Crowd Supply and the creator. It will formally describe, in plain English, the support and services that Crowd Supply will provide and what we, in turn, will need from you. Typically, this takes a little bit of back and forth as you figure out which of our services you will require. Once the agreement is in place and signed, we’re ready to get to work building your campaign with you.

We usually run campaigns using a central git repository for issue tracking, campaign documents, and collateral like videos and graphics. For now, for the majority of creators, this means working on GitHub, although we can use other platforms such as private repos, Savannah, Dropbox, GDocs, etc. We welcome feedback on this topic as we investigate better ways to host and collaborate on content.

Once a signed SoW is in place, we will create a repo pre-populated with “blank” documents and several batches of Milestones made up of various Issues. The Milestones are the major requirements for launching and running a campaign, the Issues are the individual tasks needed to complete the Milestone. For each Milestone, we try to provide lots of help and advice via links to this Guide, explanations, and examples. The Milestones include:

  • Milestone 1: Messaging
  • Milestone 2: Pre-Launch Page
  • Milestone 3: Send CS Your Prototype
  • Milestone 4: Financials
  • Milestone 5: Bill of Materials Quote
  • Milestone 6: Comparison Table
  • Milestone 7: Images
  • Milestone 8: Video
  • Milestone 9: Pledge Levels
  • Milestone 10: Campaign Page Draft
  • Milestone 11: List Your Providers
  • Milestone 12: Plan Weekly Updates
  • Milestone 13: Outreach Plan
  • Milestone 14: Respond to Backer Questions
  • Milestone 15: Orders & Funds

The Milestones are designed to build on each previous one, so you should tackle them in order.

Should I Run a Campaign on Another Platform Simultaneously?

The short answer is "no." You might be tempted to run multiple campaigns in order to increase exposure and revenue, but that won't happen. Here's why. The issue isn't so much that Crowd Supply is competitive with other platforms, it's that your campaign(s) and backers will suffer and, ultimately, you'll make less money if you run two or more simultaneous campaigns. The reason for this is journalists and backers will be confused and lose confidence in the product if they see it being launched in multiple places. Here's one possible scenario: Let's say the campaign is covered by a news outlet which favors Crowd Supply over other platforms (which is not unusual). Will they list all three URLs? No, they will probably only list the Crowd Supply URL since that's the platform they trust and where they originally discovered the campaign. If they see the same campaign being run elsewhere, they may not run the story at all. If backers of your campaign on another platform then see the news article pointing to a Crowd Supply campaign, they will wonder which is the legitimate campaign and they might reverse their decision to back the project at all. At best, your campaigns will lose momentum and the confusion will limit the amount of coverage you receive.

Finally, once it comes time to deliver the product, which orders will you fill first? Even if you know exactly when all purchases were placed and fill them in that order, backers will still be angry because instead of being 78th in line on Crowd Supply, they might be 502nd in line due to purchases in other campaigns being made before theirs. These are just a couple of examples of why running multiple simultaneous campaigns is a bad idea.

Of course, if you first launch on Crowd Supply and ship product to all your backers, you can then sell wherever you'd like, including by launching again on other platforms. The reason we require you to fill all your orders first is to avoid the public relations disaster (for you and for us) of Crowd Supply backers thinking you are shipping orders to people who bought the product after they did.

Hopefully, this article has helped you better understand when and how to start the process of launching your campaign with Crowd Supply, but if you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Question not answered here? Contact us to see how we can help.

The Crowd Supply Guide: Table of Contents

For Everyone

For Backers

For Creators

Getting Started

Before Your Campaign Launches

During Your Campaign

After Your Campaign Concludes

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