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Learning patterns/A successful crowdfunding operation

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A learning pattern forEvent
A successful crowdfunding operation
problemWe're trying to find new ways of financing projects
solutionWe used crowdfunding
created on20 March, 2015

The project


The idea


Wikicheese is a work of massive contribution to an essential part of French gastronomy: Cheese.

This idea was floating around for a few years on Wikipedia, generating, from time to time a comment from people desiring to invest their time in this project. In any case, nothing happened until Nathalie MARTIN (DE WMFR) and Pierre-Yves BEAUDOUIN (former president of WMFR and photographer) agreed to stimulate the process and to test a crowdfunding. The objective is clear: to produce quality content, highlighting a key element of the French gastronomic culture and try a new form of financing which was at that time not used by employees. In retrospect, the double implication (employees / volunteers) is one of the keys to this success. Indeed, without the involvement of Pierre-Yves BEAUDOUIN (weekly attendance and community management) or without technical monitoring from employees (press relations, communication strategy, etc.), this project would not have had the impact that we know it.

Why crowdfunding?


The choice of Crowdfunding is based on two reasons. On the one hand, the project had not been budgeted for the year. Moreover, this method of financing seemed to offer great opportunities both financially and in terms of communication. To do this, we partnered the Kisskissbankbank platform (KKBB).

The principle was simple: the public was paying a financial contributions and received in return, depending on the level of contribution, goodies (badge, pen, etc.) and invitations to photos and Wikipedia articles production evenings.

This campaign is intended to finance the purchase of cheeses, camera equipment and reference books so that contributors can illustrate and complete Wikipedia articles and enrich Wikidata. Each donation imply 66% tax deduction and a reward. The campaign took place in several steps. First, elaborate visuals and presentations. This work was performed at 3 hands: the volunteer in charge of the project, the communications officer and the responsible for the financing.

Before the first day of the campaign and to prepare our first round of communication, we launched a pre-communication on Wikipedia’s Bistro, and the [Discussion] list. This has resulted in the first euros at the opening of the crowdfunding campaign. Concomitantly, the communication plan was used on Twiter, Facebook, and our blog, besides KKBB offered us their home page. With a real take-off of financial contributions, the launching of this campaign generated a real interest from medias, placing the process in a form of virtuous circle. However, after two weeks of campaign, donations began to reduce. At this point, we decided to launch a second communication plan, with new visuals, intending propose a reward in the form of a Christmas gift which can be addressed to someone. This movement has generated an ultimate wave donations before the closing of the operation, the 31/12/2014.

WikiCheese in action


Once a month, an evening is held in the offices of Wikimedia France in Paris. During the evening, ten cheeses are photographed, and people who supported this project are invited to learn how to contribute, before tasting cheeses, later in the session.



Financial outcomes


The aim of the campaign was €5,000, it was reached Dec. 2, 2014, 8 days after launch. Collect target: €5000 Total amount collected: €7,345 Number of Kisskissbankers who supported the project: 114 Average donation: €64. Largest donation: €1200 Number of days to reach the goal: 8 Media Impact: 53 articles or interviews in 17 countries worldwide Number of tweets with the #wikicheese hashtag: 166

Image improvement


An international buzz: Japan, Germany, Australia, Canada, China ... WikiCheese toured the world after enthused French journalists and hundreds of twittos. The project is grown and now we can find WikiCheese USA, WikiCheese Austria and WikiCheese Germany.

Success keys


In retrospect, the success of this campaign is attributable to three parameters:

The choice of subject


Cheese is an indispensable part of the French gastronomic culture. France is the land of cheese, and each region of France contributes significantly to that identity. It was easy to draw the consideration of frenchs with such a subject.

The communication strategy


France is also known for its luxury products (fashion, perfume, leather goods, etc.). With this idea in mind, we have created a communication with cheese as belonging to this market sector. The visuals were purified, "cheese" is written in golden letters ...

The image shown during the campaign is also crucial. Indeed, it is important to find a name that is fun to pronounce and easy to associate with a hashtag for social networks. Finding an effective joke (such as "Say Cheese!") Is also a plus to give a friendly dimension to the campaign.

A shifted communication is essential. The graphics in the form of cheeses and the many puns included in our KKBB crowdfunding are the best example.

Complementarity and member involvement


The project was led by three main characters (volunteer, employee to establish visual communication, and a second employee for the strategy related to fundraising). However, it should be noted that the everyday involvement of the concerned volunteer is the decisive criterion for the success of this operation. Indeed, he was at work on many topics: taking photos for visual communication, writing communication texts, community management, standby press, answers to donators, organizing evenings contribution, etc.

See also