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New report explores the key to successfully crowdfunding energy projects


Energy 4 Impact launched the third paper in a series of reports from its Crowd Power programme on energy access related crowdfunding in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Entitled Crowd Power – Success & Failure: The Key to a Winning Campaign, the report is intended to offer campaign-makers and potential campaign-makers, working in the off-grid energy space, with the tools and knowledge to develop a successful crowdfunding campaign.

The report identifies trends common to successful energy access related crowdfunding campaigns (measured as reaching the campaign target) across donation, reward, debt and equity crowdfunding. It explores success across three broad stages: choosing the right platform and passing platform due diligence, managing a successful campaign period and implementing campaign goals, as well as long run success of the entity raising funds from the crowd.

The report examines each campaign type – donation, reward, debt and equity crowdfunding – in detail and identifies fundraising trends across the four campaign types. The report also examines the onboarding and due diligence process for various platforms, provides tips for formulating and managing a successful campaign, and considers longer-term success and sustainability. In addition, each of the sections on donation, reward, debt and equity crowdfunding includes an interview with a venture that successfully raised funds via that specific campaign type.

Crowdfunding success is not down to luck – success involves thoughtful preparation and significant resources. Entrepreneurs must carefully consider the type of crowdfunding that best suits their financing needs, and consider if their choice is realistic given their network and where they’re at in the business lifecycle. Successful donation and reward campaigns are usually by start-ups raising seed funding from their network so setting a realistic target, that aligns with their network’s capacity to contribute, is crucial – as is the outreach strategy and quality of the campaign pitch. Debt crowdfunding has a high success rate, but the due diligence process can be lengthy and start-ups must demonstrate that they can service debt. A little over half of equity crowdfunding pitches are successful, so setting a realistic target and valuation, and having quality campaign materials – such as an engaging video – all increase chances of success.

said Davinia Cogan, Crowd Power Manager

The report concludes that a successful campaign period is dependent on, not only the platform choice but also, setting a realistic campaign target, formulating a thorough outreach strategy and developing high-quality campaign materials. For donation and reward campaigns, campaign-makers must carefully consider their network of potential contributors, and their capacity to contribute, along with the probability of them contributing, as the campaign-makers network is the main source of funding for most of these campaigns.

The report also finds that debt campaigns have the highest ‘success rates’ (in terms of percentage of campaigns that meet the campaign target) of any other platform type, and that 100% of energy-access SME loans have been funded by the crowd to date. For perspective, the leading equity crowdfunding platform Crowdcube had a 52% success rate.

The Crowd Power programme, which the report shares learnings from, has supported over 100 crowdfunding campaigns with around $600,000 in funding via match funding, lump-sum contributions, gift vouchers and partial loan guarantees. 250,000 people have gained access to clean energy as a result of the campaigns supported by Crowd Power.

Crowd Power is funded by UK aid. 

To download the report click here.

To read more of reports from our Crowd Power programme click here.