Leonhardt’s Top 20 Tips For Crowdfunding SuccessHoward J. Leonhardt
October 15th, 2014 General Assembly
Santa Monica, California  –
“Crowdfunding is human will expressed in pure form.  A person with a vision becomes a dream funded on a mission. It is the explosive combination of democracy and free market capitalism. It’s democracy and capitalism in action: think you have a great idea? Convince enough people and you can make it a reality. If not, back to the drawing board.”
We are about to experience the grandest expression of human creativity and economic growth ever seen in the history of human civilization.

  • Innovative breakthroughs that took years to create & bring to market will now take mere months.
  • New ideas will be free market tested earlier in their cycle and discarded or funded at a faster rate.
  • Try a lot of stuff and keep what works will be applied at hyper speed rates.


People buy with emotion and justify with fact.


A crowdfunding campaign is hard work.  Prepare to make 1000+ calls.  Prepare to hold hundreds of in-person meetings.  Putting up a cute video on a portal is NOT enough.


It is all about applying peer pressure in a timely manner.   Right after someone watches your emotional video … CALL THEM!   Ask for their support.


Get Positive Press!  Content marketing. PR Hacking.   GET IN THE NEWS! Nothing beats big time news coverage!


Get opinion leader support!  First thing you do is make a list of the top 50 opinion leaders in your field and one by one execute on gaining their positive support vote.


You are leading a movement an uprising!  This is much bigger than just a product.   You are changing the world for the better!


K.I.S.S. – Keep it Simple Silly


Dominate your launch trade shows! Banner over the entry escalator! Ads in bathrooms. Your flyers everywhere. Emotional opening side seminar. Take an ad in the trade show periodical day one. Let your opinion leader friends in on the campaign. Get opinion leaders as they come off the podium.


Many events in lots of locations!

TIP 10

Get in every pitch contest you can get in!

TIP 11

Get your first 50, 100, 150 supporters to each go out and get 3 crowdfunders.  Hold them accountable.  Call them > > OFTEN.  Help them feel they are truly PART OF THE MOVEMENT.

TIP 12

Remember you are selling an experience.  An opportunity for someone to be included in something special.  Not just a product or service.

TIP 13

Tap into what people already believe in and care about.  Craft message to fit in their world not yours.

TIP 14

Instead of just being focused on selling, focus on creating connected, engaged, sharing networks of people that believe in a cause that you happen to be supporting.

TIP 15

Successful campaigns learn to stop talking about themselves and their products and to JOIN IN A CONVERSATION with others co-leading a movement for change.

TIP 16

Tell stories that people can connect and identify with.  In our information-saturated age, business leaders “won’t be heard unless they’re telling stories,” says Nick Morgan, author of Power Cues

Why tell stories?

“Facts and figures and all the rational things that we think are important in the business world actually don’t stick in our minds at all,” he says. But stories create “sticky” memories by attaching emotions to things that happen. That means leaders who can create and share good stories have a powerful advantage over others.“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou

TIP 17

Get the top bloggers behind you.  Work it.  Work at it hard.

How to get blog support.

Write something worth linking to and tell me about it If you want a blogger to link you, the best way to do that is to link them first. Email the blogger directly. When you’re racing at high speeds, like with cars or cycling, there’s wind resistance that slows you down.  However, you can eliminate that resistance by drafting, which is a fancy word for aligning in formation behind the person ahead of you.  Draft in a bloggers linkstream

TIP 18 – Keep it Personal

Crowdfunding is a hand to hand combat sport.   Most substantial investment still comes in from one on one personal meetings not from Linkedin posts or crowdfunding portal video views alone.   The portal might help in getting that meeting, and closing a deal quickly after a meeting with convenience, but the commitment comes through personal meeting.

TIP 19

PREACH TO THE CHOIR!  Keep your core supporters jazzed!  Provide a continuous good news feed!  Newsletters help.

TIP 20

Investors like to follow smart money.  Get some smart money behind you early if you can.  Then add that to your pitch.

Summary Take Home Messages 

1. Building a movement of engaged people and joining as an ally in the conversation.
2. Get big time news coverage, PR and buzz.
3. 1000+ phone calls and 100+ meetings.
4. Telling really good relevant emotional stories.
5. Applying peer pressure for ACTION at precisely the right time, not too early and not too late.   Keep it personal.
6. Keep it simple.  Make it easy and quick.
7. Get smart money, opinion leaders and bloggers.
8. Get your core supporters to get 3 more. Hold accountable.
9. Dominate trade shows.  Don’t just participate.
10. Remember it is about them.  Their experience.


Crowdfunder – www.crowdfunder.com
WhenYouWish – www.whenyouwish.com
CrowfundingPlanning – www.crowdfundingplanning.com
Crowdfunding Roadmap – www.crowdfundingroadmap.com – Oct. 23
Crowdfund Insider – www.crowdfundinsider.com
Crowdfund Beat – www.crowdfundbeat.com
DeliverTheCrowd – www.deliverthecrowd.com
InvestedIn – www.investedin.com