4 Key Strategies To a Successful Healthcare Crowdfunding Campaign

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Healthcare crowdfunding consultant, Komal Garewal shares 4 essential strategies to a successful healthcare crowdfunding campaign. 

Those of us in healthcare know what a tight knit community we are. We’re superheroes, disguised by our geek-chic (and sometimes, not so chic) exteriors.

We’re constantly disrupting and finding ways to revolutionize the healthcare space. We find the adoption of tablets, voice-recognition technology and Google Glass things to daydream about. And while we know we’re doing monumental, life-changing and even world-changing things, sometimes the rest of the world has a hard time getting as excited.

As crowdfunding and the concept of supporting small businesses are exploding, so is the scope of projects. I recently saw an evolution-spurning project that aimed to create a toy T-Rex with the head of Christopher Walken.

With the rise of ludicrous projects, it’s difficult to determine the climate of the industry. On one hand, equity-based crowdfunding platforms are on the rise in anticipation of the SEC regulations; on the other, there are platforms where designers of said anamorphic dinosaurs can raise money to please hipsters all around the U.S.

There’s something to be said, however, for every project that is successful in raising money on crowdfunding platforms. So, what are they doing right?

Healthcare Crowdfunding: Different or the Same?

Launching a healthcare crowdfunding campaign is different from launching a startup.

You have to completely re-orient yourself, your branding and marketing, as well as your competitive edge. Your success factor is no longer based on your competitive edge or how much revenue you can show to the VC you’re presenting to.

As healthcare superheroes, we know that every person is a patient and that we all have a vested interest in healthcare, whether or not it is recognized. Crowdfunding platforms are the little toadstools we can stand on, to pitch our plea to the world, to shake people from their apathy and to empower them.

Your success depends on how much passion you can cultivate.

How much can you tug on the heartstrings of a family member or a friend? What can you offer someone to make them care about your project or the industry in general? How can you engage your viewers so that they feel they have a vested interest in your success?

Healthcare crowdfunding is about converting your audience into believers and adopters. If you can, the money will follow.

Tips for Creating a Successful Healthcare Crowdfunding Campaign

1. Know Your Goal(s)& Prioritize

Every campaigner aims to raise capital, but other than raising funds, ask yourself — what is the goal of your project?

Is it to further the development of your prototype? Is it a marketing tactic to increase sales and revenue? Is it to gain early adopters? Is it to raise awareness about your product or cause? Or is it to demonstrate traction in the market, which can be leveraged as testimonial in VC pitches?

The answers to these questions will help you define your target audience, your tone, your pitch, your rewards and your appeal.

2. Choose your Platform & Target Amount Based on your Goal

Knowing your primary goal makes it easier for you to consider the trade-offs you may have to make in choosing one, or the first platform, you list a campaign on.

Every platform that caters to health projects has a unique strength. Knowing it, and your priority, will enhance the chances of your campaign’s success.

For example, Indiegogo is the most public platform (that allows health projects), meaning that you are more likely to get the most indirect traffic from people simply browsing the site. If you know that your social media resources/ skills are lacking, this may be the way to go.

If you are looking for adopters, potential clients or pilot project sites, the two sites to look at would be MedStartr* and Health Tech Hatch. If you are raising funds for a bio-tech or clinical research project, the sites to look at would be Consano and Petri Dish. If you are looking for equity investors, the newly formed Healthfundr or VentureHealth may be most appropriate.

The best way to choose a platform is to do your research.

Step 1: Browse through the projects on the site, in both the health and technology sections.

Ask yourself whether your project seems to fit in? Did comparable projects raise an amount of capital similar to your goal? Did they get funding or become acquired a short time after the project ended? Were they able to generate a significant amount of new users or revenue?

Step 2: Once you have these answers, you can choose a platform. But the issue remains of settling on a campaign amount.

The advice that every entrepreneur has to hear, but never wants to, is aim low. Projects that ask for a larger amount of money, $75,000 and over, have a much lower chance of achieving their goal, let alone surpassing it, than smaller projects.

3. Make your Campaign as Appealing as Possible

Once you choose a platform and goal, it will be much easier to appeal to the people that will most likely visit your page. Language, perks and video virality are all things that should both reflect the goal(s) of your campaign, as well as the platform itself.

1. The Language:

Make sure you keep the language simple. Whether you have a SaaS-based platform that automates reimbursement coding or an algorithm-based software that automates tumor contouring, you need to make sure everyone and their mother can understand what you’re doing and how you’re making the world a better place.

How to check? Ask a non-healthcare superhero to read over your project and see if they understand it. Better yet, explain it to someone and have them explain it back to you, in their own words. Depending on the platform you’ve chosen, you can decide how specific and scientific to be.

2. The Video & Visuals:

Don’t tell them. Show them. Demonstrate the problem and your product as the ultimate solution.

Be as creative and transparent as you can. Show off your competitive edge. Indicate how your product or solution can change the world or affect people in their daily lives. Use graphs and infographics instead of words. Have people tell their own stories about it or the need for it – testimonials go a long way.

Your video should be able to stand alone as a “pitch” – many backers regard the video as the primary pitch, and the text as secondary or supplemental. The first minute of your video is what most backers will watch, and that is only if they like the picture associated with your project. So, make sure that you capture attention and engage your viewers in the first few seconds.

3. Diversified Perks:

When crafting your rewards, remember that everyone, subconsciously or consciously, is a stakeholder.  We are all either patients, loved ones, doctors, hospital administrators, corporations, startups or entrepreneurs. So, be willing to provide rewards such as t-shirts with pop-culture slogans, unique items like wall prints, pamphlets for the doctor’s office, printed sunglasses as well as rewards for corporate sponsors or potential partners! The more varied your rewards are, the greater your appeal.

If you are looking for a larger amount of money, outlining a perks structure and strategy will greatly increase your chances of achieving your goal. Some effective strategies are: early adopter rewards, limited time offers, unlocking stretch goals or a philanthropic commitment on your end for reaching a certain amount. And be sure to include the cost of your rewards in your goal amount!

4. Get Out into the Crowd

Don’t be afraid to do a stage dive or get your elbows dirty. Check out your local Meetups, get in touch with your local Health 2.0 chapter or health tech incubator or even local colleges/ universities. LinkedIn is also one of the best places to find allies, supporters, adopters and collaborators. Search for groups that hold a common interest and begin your thought leadership by interacting with its members.

Networking not only increases visibility, but also the chance of gaining support or sponsors. You may even be able to develop partnerships in which you can offer a service or product of theirs as a backer perk.

Before you launch, make sure you get in touch with these people and suggest specific ways (other than backing you) that they can help. Support comes in all forms, from embedding your project in their community newsletter or sending a tweet you sent them multiple times during the duration of your campaign.

As Giovanni Colella, CEO of Castlight Health recently reminded us, “disruption in healthcare is a team sport.” Make a splash so bigthat everyone in the healthcare industry can ride the waves, and together, let us claim the water for healthcare disruption in the crowdfunding ocean.

Interested in launching a healthcare crowdfunding campaign? Reach me at komalgarewal@gmail.com

Komal Garewal has worked on over 75 crowdfunding projects, which have appeared on platforms ranging from Indiegogo to RocketHub raising over $400k in funding to date.  

Featured image credit: Rocío Lara via cc

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