WeLearn Table Talk: Strategic Crowdfunding with Debby Nguyen & Rachel Domb
Just like that WeLearn for Spring 2021 has concluded, featuring two incredibly ambitious individuals: Rachel Domb and Debby Nguyen. If you’re familiar with the entrepreneurial space at Northeastern, these two names should ring a bell.
“If you do it right, all small donations have a big impact.”
— Rachel Domb
Rachel, a second-year Psychology major with an Environmental Studies Minor and the Co-VP of WeBuild at WISE, kicked off the Table Talk. Rachel has creatively and strategically utilized the Mosaic ecosystem through organizations such as IDEA, Scout, and Entrepreneurs Club to bolster the growth of her company, Rooted Living, a plant-based snack company. As her business gradually approached the stage of launching, Rachel realized she couldn’t self-fund her venture anymore. Instead, she made the decision to execute a crowdfunding campaign to raise money. In just over 5 weeks, Rachel was able to raise close to $11,000!
The money raised was utilized to purchase her first bulk order of compostable packaging and pay the student designers who helped curate her website, merchandise, and many other important assets. Transitioning to the various platforms to exist, Rachel identified IFundWomen to be her personal favorite.
Finally, Rachel concluded by outlining the process one should take when conducting a crowdfunding campaign, as well as providing her personal tips for success:
Here are the steps to take:
- Pick your crowdfunding platform
- See if they have a crowdfunding course
- Make a calculated guess for how much you want to raise
- Pick your prizes
- Build your campaign (a campaign video is gold)
Here are things to keep in mind:
- You must constantly be talking about your campaign on ALL social media platforms. If your old friend from 2nd grade doesn’t know about your campaign, there’s a problem.
- It’s important to prove your concept before crowdfunding.
“Don’t undersell yourself; know your value and be confident in it.”
— Debby Nguyen
For the second half of the Table Talk, Debby Nguyen took over to share how she effectively used crowdfunding to pre-sell her non-fiction book, Pills, Teas, and Songs, to readers in 15+ countries. Debby is a second-year Pharmacy and Data Science student and further developed this creative project as a member of the WeBuild Fall 2020 cohort.
Touching on a different perspective, Debby’s ultimate goal when conducting this campaign was not to generate revenue but to increase her exposure and encourage more individuals to read her book. In particular, Debby listed three different crowdfunding platforms that she feels are the most suitable for creative projects in general: Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and IFundWomen.
After setting a goal of $4000, she succeeded in surpassing this with a total of $4400! Here are 6 key takeaways from her presentation:
1. Invest in a video
- Storytelling is crucial, as this is what gets people to root for you.
2. Set a clear goal
- Be realistic and consider what you need to raise.
- Develop a strategy to achieve your goal!
3. Have an easy-to-understand message
- Keep it personal—something as simple as a customized thank you note can make someone feel valued.
4. Tie your campaign to a personal cause
- In Debby’s case, 100% of her pre-order profits were donated to CaribEd and Room to Read, two non-profits focused on children’s education.
5. Make it worth supporting
- Debby demystified the myth that crowdfunding is something that is done alone. In fact, she states that one should never be afraid to ask for help; she got Northeastern to give her $1000 simply because she asked.
6. Outreach consistently
- Be patient, authentic, and consistent
- Clout doesn’t happen overnight
Even though WeLearn for this semester has come to an end, we highly recommend that if you missed any of our previous workshops, take a look at our other Medium articles and resource guides — a completely free learning opportunity to leverage for your own professional and personal growth. Until then, see you next semester!
— The WeLearn Team 💚