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· Oct 2, 2017

4 Key CrowdFunding Lessons Ugandan Startups Should Pick from Esther Kalenzi

The African society is set up in a more socialistic than a capitalistic setting. Hence, the age-old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”. However, due to the sweeping global changes, this hasn’t been spared.

Though, a few socialistic tendencies still exist. Examples including the burials, weddings, introductions, and other functions. At these occasions, expenses are shared collectively.

The same has recently got extended to people with illnesses that a family can not afford to foot or community problems that are a mountain for the affected to climb.

Last week, Esther Kalenzi, the founder of 40 Days Over 40 Smiles organization, applied the same approach to help her finance a project. She was able to raise $5,057.

Yet, despite the fact we are this “generous”, startups are still struggling to raise capital. They haven’t yet been able to crack the nut, which crowdfunding is. A few months ago, Fundibots – owned by Solomon King – tried to crowdfund for a project. But when

A few months ago, Fundbots – owned by Solomon King – tried to crowdfund for a project. But when I asked Solomon how it went, he described the experience as “terrible”

Here are four good lessons we learned from how Esther successfully carried out her crowdfunding.

  1. Communicate effectively

40 Days Over 40 Smiles was looking for funding to build a learning center for children who can’t have access to such facilities. Very straightforward and clear.

When you’re trying to get support for your project or startup, better have a good enough reason for them too. But more than that, you must communicate it with a lot of clarity and simplicity. You should be able to answer the questions of; Why they should contribute and for what.

You should be able to answer the questions of; Why they should contribute and for what. People are easily willing to help if something plays to their emotions. Do include that in your communication.

In most cases, it is very easy for us to assume the other person understands why we want whatever we want from them. And, this isn’t true – especially if you haven’t communicated it well.

2. Cast the net wide

It is very easy for starts to stay focused and glued to a few people – immediate family members – when looking for funding. This may work out or not. Esther reached out to whoever she could. Whether you had $100 or $1, she welcomed you.

Ideally, it sounds easier and more logical to approach one person to give you $5,057, but it will take longer than anticipated. Because, if am to hand you that much, you better sweat out a very good explanation of how I am to gain out of it.

Yet, throwing the net wide will return with 10s of $100s in a few hours or days. Actually, it is easier for one to give you $10 without thinking that much about why as opposed to $5,057 at once.

3. Relentlessness

Esther kept people up to date with what amount was remaining. Everyone knew how much was remaining every after a few hours. This, naturally, makes people want to be a part of it. I mean, who doesn’t want to contribute to what is moving?

Even a person who has already contributed will be intrigued to do so again – just to see that the figure goes down further.

So, as you’re running the campaign, don’t go and sit back after posting on whichever platform you will decide to use. Follow-up with the proceedings. If it has reduced by $99, let the people know that something’s happening.

4. Get personal

In most cases when we are faced with a challenge, we assume that posting it on facebook or any other platform is enough. No, it is not.

Go ahead and make a personal follow-up. If someone shows signs of being interested, inbox them – request them to make a contribution. Remember what you’re fighting for here – your dream – so you better put your pride on the side.

Ask them to help with whatever they can. In the end, help goes to those who ask for it.

I hope this will help you in your next or very first crowdfunding campaign to keep your startup afloat.