How I Crowdfunded My Research Project

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The hardest thing about conducting an academic research project is that you need to do qualitative research which requires funds. People in the research field will know the pain of getting funds for the research. Governments are also being picky in giving the funds as the number of students seeking them is increasing on a daily basis. I am a Biotechnology student pursuing a PhD in genetics, and here is my personal experience with fundraising for my research project work. While my professor had two ways of getting funds for the project; i.e., either from the NIH or NSF; the multi-million dollars became almost a nightmare. However, due to serendipitous events, I decided to change the topic of my research to ‘the science of the science blogging,’ studying about who these bloggers are, what they write, how they decide about writing their subject, what they do, what ethics they have, their impact on the scientific field et.al. The real struggle started there because people were less interested in the sociological topics. Who on earth will fund mere media research? Not the government. So, I had to search for non-profit funding. Here’s how I succeeded in getting it.

Use Your Networks

It is crucial to use both your private and social networks. Ask your family and friends to contribute a little in the first place. Once you’ve created enough momentum, you can take the campaign on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and any other place where people connect. Try posting in groups, relative pages or create a group on your own with the target group. My family pitched in the first 500 dollars for my campaign, friends followed, and by the time I was done with my personal network, I had close to 2500 USD.

Choose The Platform

It is important to collect the money in the initial phase without worrying about a Kickstart. Even if you don’t meet the goal, you can raise some funds anyway. Choose an appropriate crowdfunding platform for your campaign which has the ability to either make or break your funding. Go big.

Create A Reward Structure

You can try creating a personal site stating the innovative thought of the finance. Also, try rewarding/gifting your contributors with physical gifts like t-shirts, sunglasses, or customary mugs. It would be better if you gift something which has the potential to reinforce their business brand. This way, the target contributors will stay more interested towards the funding. My personal experience says mugs and t-shirts work the best while customized stationary is a big no.

Forget The Daily Business

Often during crowdfunding, I felt stuck with the amount of money that people were ready to put in. There were days when not even a single dollar poured in. This was the time when I realized that while it’s hard not to focus on it, it is ridiculous to count it and analyze it every day. My goal was to raise a fund which is adequate in the given time. Though I didn’t bag it in the first day or first week, I was confident that people would start showing interest soon.

Don’t Hesitate To Contact People

You never actually know where you can get the funds or where the money can come from. It could come from friends, neighbors, family or Facebook. Everyone and everything are invaluable. Therefore, contact as many people as you can even on the last day without giving up. Keeping the push goal in mind, categorize your target contributors and approach them in an authentic way.

The best advice would be to not to sound needy at all. Instead, sound confident and authoritative. Come off as a person who knows what they are willing to do and have your facts and figures on your fingertips while approaching someone for funds.

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