The Anatomy of a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

06/17/2014 04:24 pm ET | Updated Aug 17, 2014

My friends and I had no idea what to expect when we launched a Kickstarter campaign called The Bible Experiment last week. After a successful one-man show in Cincinnati in April we wanted to take that show on a national tour and put up four new shows over the next year. So we went for it. Here's why I think it has worked:

1. We presented a big vision to address a big problem.

All of us behind The Bible Experiment come from a Christian heritage. We believe that the stories of the Bible are being lost culturally. Our agenda is simply to make them known again to people of all (or no) faiths. To do this, our stories need to be freed from church walls, leather books and, so much as possible, from any religious agenda. Our already-tested solution was to bring them to premiere stages across the country as one-person shows. We have the positive reviews from the 1,000 people of all backgrounds who attended our first event that show these stories can stand on their own as theatrical experiences.

2. We invited our "real world" friends into the solution.

We rented out a theater and kicked off our Kickstarter campaign with a launch meeting with 150 of our friends attending. We debuted both the Kickstarter video and the trailer of our first show, The Gospel of John. I was able to physically stand in front of my friends and ask them to join us. Within 24 hours we were nearly halfway to our initial goal. Since then everyone in that room has been using "we" language. They are part of what we are doing.

3. We made direct "asks" for contributions.

Crowdsourcing, or any fundraising, works best when people are asked one-on-one to support a cause. I used to hate "asking people for money." Then I realized that people genuinely want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. You aren't really asking people for money or even for help. You're asking them to join you in a cause you deeply believe in. That's a different thing altogether.

4. We focused on what we do best.

Our core team has a dual background in vocational ministry and entertainment. We are uniquely equipped to deliver on this vision. If we were trying to kickstart a video game or solar toaster, it wouldn't work. This is what we know. That's why people trust us to deliver.

5. We produced a quality pitch video.

Most people lead with this as the most important thing for a new Kickstarter campaign. To me, it's in the top 5. I actually think the ideas above are more important. That said, we are a production company. We needed to show that we were serious about this. I think our video does that. Here it is if you want to watch it:

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