WHY GO FOR THE GOAL?
My dream is for Go for the Goal to help any equestrian athlete or equestrian pursuit to raise the funds they need to reach their goals.
G4G aims to do more than just provide a platform for equestrians to crowdfund for their goals.
G4G will provide guidance as to how to run your crowdfunding campaign, what to include in your video, what kind of perks or rewards to offer, how to offer mainly digital rewards and perks (to avoid the logistics and cost of mailing items to supporters), and how to use social media to your best advantage to promote your campaign.
I will use my experience as a journalist and editor to help promote G4G athletes and equestrian pursuits on G4G social media channels.
I will also be sharing a portion of ad revenue with athletes, working with advertisers on social media campaigns we can do to promote G4G, its athletes and the companies as well.
The aim of G4G is for equestrians from all over the world to come to this site to see what the goals of other equestrians are, how they can help, and what they can get in return. I want to create a network where athletes share their expertise and experiences via their perks and rewards with people all over the globe whose financial support help those athletes reach their goals, learn more and then share that knowledge with others.
There are many other crowdfunding sites, but none with equestrians as a focus. This is a global community. Those who like horses like them a lot. Let’s all join together to reach our goals, learn more about our sports, and help each other succeed.
HOW DO I RUN A CAMPAIGN?
Before you run a crowdfunding campaign you need to be prepared.
For starters, get on the key social networks: Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn is also valuable.
Other networks to consider include Instagram, YouTube, Vine, Pinterest, and Google+.
You need to build your network before you start. Get on Facebook and post at least once a day. Start a Twitter account and make sure you’re following other equestrians in the same sport, any of your sponsors and others you work with. Post once a day at least on Twitter, post pictures of you and your horse, share details you think others would be interested to read.
Having that network in place means that when you tell people you’re running a campaign there are people on the other end who will be listening, watching and reading, ready to share your news and your goals with their networks, which, in the end, will help your campaign be successful.
WHAT DO I ASK FOR?
When you start a campaign, you need to have a clear goal in mind. You need to have a well-thought out budget including the costs of your goal. Be specific. And remember, there may be a cost to some of your perks or rewards, so factor that in as well. Ensure you can spell out that budget in the information you give on your campaign. This will let sponsors know that you are carefully planning how to reach your goal and are transparent about how you will spend the money they give you.
For example, if you’re raising cash to attend a competition, spell out coaching fees in advance and at the competition, all competition fees and costs, travel costs for you and your horse, costs to care for your horse and any other costs you might incur.
WHAT KIND OF REWARDS OR PERKS CAN I OFFER?
Crowdfunding works like this: people sponsor you for money and in return you give them a perk or reward as a thanks for their commitment to you and to helping you achieve your goal.
Choose your perks carefully. Let me explain why.
Don’t forget the logistics of providing a reward. Let’s say for a $25 sponsorship you promise to send sponsors a T-shirt with your logo on it.
What are the costs associated with promising that? And you can’t default on your promise. The internet will know, people will get upset, they’ll contact G4G about that and badmouth you all over the web and on their social networks. Not a pretty picture, so don’t do that.
Let’s say the cost of getting the T-shirts made is $10 each. Then you need to mail them (potentially all over the world), you need to have the right size for each sponsor, you need to get them made, stuff them in the right sized envelope, pay the right postage, take them to the post office and spend all the time doing that. Suddenly, offering the T-shirts for $25 may not actually cover the costs of doing that in the first place! That doesn’t help you reach your goal.
DIGITAL REWARDS OR PERKS
My aim is to get all campaigners on G4G to focus on digital rewards. These are rewards that can be sent to sponsors via a digital method — electronically. This takes away some of the costs and logistics with delivering some rewards. You can also offer a category that's for sponsorship of any amount, with no perk. Some people may be quite happy to sponsor you because they want to help, and they aren't looking for a reward of any sort, other than seeing you reach your goal.
Here are some options:
A shout out of thanks on Twitter and/or Facebook ($5-$10)
Coupons for discounts from any of your sponsors ($15-$20)
A screensaver of a photo of you in competition ($15-$20)
A download of a “learn your dressage test sheet” with your name or logo on it (G4G will help provide) ($15-$25)
A download of a “learn your jumping course sheet” with your name or logo on it (G4G will help provide) ($15-$25)
A download of a “learn your xc course sheet” with your name or logo on it (G4G will help provide) ($15-$25)
A video download (which you can do through the site) of your showing and explaining your favourite dressage/jumping/reining/barn management or other exercise ($30-$50+)
Offer to watch a sponsor’s video of them riding and you provide an email critique of it ($50+)
A Google video chat with you (3-5 people at a time) (G4G can help set this up) ($50+)
A private 30-minute Skype call with you ($100+)
A Scribble Live chat with you (people ask questions and you type answers, takes about 1 hour to perform, many people can participate at the same time) (G4G can help set this up) ($50+)
A year subscription to a monthly newsletter directly from you ($50+)
Be part of an electronic book on a particular topic (how to be a better competitor, how to prepare mentally for competition) (G4G can help set this up, potentially it could be done with several other athletes running campaigns to broaden its appeal) ($75+)
Offer lessons (for those in your area) or the option to be in a clinic you’re doing ($100-$150)
Spend a day with you (for those in your area) ($200-$500)
Offer sponsors a chance to have their name on you or your equipment (varying prices)
WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF A CAMPAIGN?
As you start a campaign you need a video to let people know what your campaign is all about and what your goal is.
Your video should be clear, captivating and short. On news sites videos are about 2 to 2:30 minutes or less because they know they can only keep people’s attention for so long. Keep it short as you’ll get more people watching it because it doesn’t take too much of their time. Write a script that tells people what you goal is, why they should sponsor you and what you need to make it happen.
Provide pictures of you, your horse and your goal. Let people know who you are, how you’ve gotten to where you are and what you need to take the next steps towards your goal.
Tell people your story. But do your best to be concise. Give people details about who you are, where you’re from and why you’re asking for their help. Also be clear about what funds you need exactly to reach your goal and what they money will be used for. Keep those details to the end of your description about your goal.
REWARDS OR PERKS
In advance, think of the rewards you want to offer and what will work best for you. Contact Go for the Goal if any of the rewards mentioned above might make sense for you but you’re not sure how they work. If you have companies that sponsor you with money or equipment, see if they might be able to help with discount coupons you could offer to those sponsoring your campaign.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
When you start your campaign, make sure you have set up your social media accounts set up (particularly Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn; others include Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube and many others). It may be best to focus on a few social networks rather than all of them.
You need to be ready to broadcast to your network that you’ve launched a crowdfundng campaign, what your goal is, and how they can help you. You want them to broadcast to their network as well to promote you and let others know about your goal and the rewards they could get by sponsoring you.