In my previous post I listed the basics about our fantastic Huuma project: the new magazine that aims to inspire, excite, empower, encourage and bring joy to its readers.
In this post I will tell you how we totally nailed it. Not only did we reach our financial goals on Mesenaatti.me, the Finnish crowdfunding platform, but we also broke all the crowdfunding records of Mesenaatti.me. Even though breaking records is always funky, the main thing is that we reached out to people and many answered. It is incredibly rewarding to put your heart on the line, do your very best, and see that other people believe in what you’re doing.
Here are the figures (also in the pic): in 30 days, we gathered 26 642€ of funding, with 1463 individual supporters. We offered the Huuma-magazine for 10€ and tickets to Huuma-seminar for 49€ (including the magazine). Our minimum goal was to reach 20 000€.
So, how did we do it? We worked with the famous method of creative chaos. It can be slightly stressful at times, but very healthy in challenging the way most of us normally work. Most importantly, it pushes us to trust other people.
Here are some of the choices I believe made Huuma a success (the public servant in me needs to say this is not an official take on how we did it, just my reflections). Please bear in mind that all the links here lead to pages with Finnish text. However, there are a lot of pictures as well, so I decided to share the links to make our journey a little more visual for you.
Of course first there was the idea, then some excited planning, and finally, the decision to start working. But after that:
- In early September, we had our first big meeting, after which we divided ourselves to teams: writing, visual design, seminar organizing, financing, and marketing. Each team kind of formed itself based on people’s interests and abilities. Each team started working relatively independently and we kept each other updated via private Facebook groups.
- We opened social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, our WordPress blog) and started talking to people.
- We crowdsourced our logo: opened a competition, received 14 proposals from different people, voted between the options without knowing who made the proposal.
- We shared pictures on the way, just to show things are happening: when we decided on which font to use or when we just wanted to say hi.
- Right before the crowdfunding effort began, we started sharing pictures to remind everyone that the funding is about to start. Due to technical reasons, there was a minor delay, and we managed to open the funding effort on 20 November instead of 18 November. We established a Facebook event for the funding and invited pretty much all our friends and acquaintances.
- We asked people to help us, and we made a toolbox with printable flyers, Christmas cards and tips to make it easier. We added photos to the toolbox page to show some of the more innovative selling tips: Huuma pop-up store and Huuma-breakfast.
- We realized people were interested in our story and who we are as well, so we published a sneak peek from our cover photo shoot and brief introductions in the blog.
- We headed out to Helsinki on a Sunday, when people were out and about enjoying mulled wine and doing Christmas shopping. We had chocolates, marketing letters and Christmas cards with us.
- Most importantly, each and every one of us made a lot of face-to-face marketing, sent dozens of emails and really made an effort to create interest in Huuma. We knew we had only 30 days to make it happen.
Showing we’re worth the investment:
- As stories, photos and layouts started forming, we decided to share sneak peeks to the magazine. We ended up sharing four, and here they are: one, two, three and four (the third one only in our blog).
- We created photos with quotes from our fantastic interviewees. My personal favorites were these: succeeding with the first piece of the puzzle and seeing how others will follow, realizing that any adventure actually is a success no matter what the results and doing something for the first time, and all of these seemed to resonate well with people.
- To get our message across, we decided to focus on promoting the magazine during the first weeks, and started our seminar marketing efforts only later. We published the programme of the seminar, but decided to leave some elements of surprise to the event.
One thing that was common to all our efforts, be it marketing or showing we’re worth the investment, not to mention working with one another while creating the magazine and seminar, was keeping the tone of our voice positive. Saying thank you. Giving positive feedback. Giving constructive feedback, trying to build on other people’s ideas instead of shooting them down. And of course, putting ourselves on the line.
Once we crossed the limit of 1000 individual supporters, we published the so called victory dance. The lady in question is of course our editor-in-chief, Aku, who came up with the idea of creating Huuma in the first place.
1001 mesenaattia! Tanssin paikka! Kiitos! http://t.co/PRbLVXWOQd
— Huuma (@huumalehti) 17. joulukuuta 2013
Freely translated: 1001 individual supporters! It’s time to dance! Thank you!
Even though the crowdfunding is now closed, and we’re currently doing the finishing touches for the magazine, we still have a few aces up our sleeves, and you’ll hear about them later.
♠ In the meantime: Now, how is winter solstice already here? As I’ve mentioned, this year my daylight countdown completely sucked. Was too busy to notice it’s pitch dark. But hey, there’s still time and it’s pretty dark, so here goes: seven weeks until mid-February! Seven!!
♥ Song of the day: Foals, Inhaler (played this on repeat for hours on Friday)