No-one is keeping any generic advice a secret. Far from it, there is no shortage of information available for SMEs on how to prepare, organise and run a successful crowdfund campaign.

The industry has its own professional body, the UK CrowdFunding Association – UKCFA. UKCFA represents a number of crowdfunding platform providers that will help you raise the investment or generate the donations or pre-orders you need. The current total numbers just over 30 full members who have signed up to their Code of Conduct, plus a further 20-or-so associate members (as at November 2017).

This does not include all the UK crowdfunding platforms. This link will take you to a helpful directory of over 100 of them you need to answer a simple questions that requires no personal information:

A number of the platform providers plus other non-UKCFA advisory organisations have put together some guidelines, usually available on a self-service basis. You can use these links to access some of them. This is not a full list of what is available.

In November 2018, Nesta published a report covering a wide fundraising landscape including matched crowdfunding. Matched crowdfunding (on page 27 of the report) is the process by which public, institutional or corporate funding is combined with smaller donations raised from the public on online platforms.  such schemes are used to not only make public money go further, but also use the crowd to test demand and help direct funds to causes which they know receive considerable public support. A good example is the Mayor of London’s annual support for crowdfunding projects that aim to create new local community services or facilities.

Always remember to look at your crowdfunding project through the eyes of the types of people you want to back you. In November 2017, Innovate UK published an illuminating 28-page report based on interviews with investors about what they look for when deciding whether to invest in a small or medium size enterprise. Sustainable growth and a strong management team with ambition and drive were top of the list.

Unleash female potential! In July 2017 a report by PwC and Crowdfunding Centre based on analysis of over 450,000 seed crowdfunding campaigns showed that although by far the majority are headed by men, ones headed by women are consistently more successful.

Here is an academic paper on crowdfunding published in 2017 and co-authored by an MSc student and a professor at the University of Bath. It particularly looks at the use of rewards, setting a funding target and how the virtually obligatory video should be constructed.

A useful source of information is Nesta, a charity dedicated “to help individuals and organisations bring great ideas to life.” You can use these links to download copies of Nesta’s nineteen-page generic report “Working The Crowd” from May 2013, their November 2015 56-page report on the UK Alternative Finance Industry, and a June 2016 report on Crowdfunding for Good Causes based on interviews with UK crowdfunding platforms and a survey of more than 450 charities.

Here is a link to Nesta’s own top tips for successful crowdfunding (still relevant though a little bit dated):

A team at the London School of Economics published a paper in February 2016 on the robustness of equity crowdfunding as a source of finance for entrepreneurs:

Do you operate in the renewable energy sector? Here is a 41-page best practice guide published January 2018 for project owners, platforms, advisers, investors and policy makers:

On the other hand, you may have a job to do or a business to run and you might be pushed for time. I’ve already looked at it all so I hope you will get in touch to arrange an introductory discussion about how Comanche Communications & Marketing could help you use crowdfunding to secure the investment or pre-orders you require to achieve your business objectives, or to reach your donations target for a worthy cause.