Bridge to Zion Project Creator Handbook

 

Welcome to your Bridge to Zion Project Handbook! 

We are excited to have you onboard and hope that this will help get you started in shaping and fine-tuning your successful project!




It's time to Get Started >>>





Getting Started

So, it’s time to get started on your project… You’ve come to the right place!

Let’s explore a few things that every Bridge to Zion project should include:

  • A project page with a video and description that clearly describes your project.
  • Full descriptions of rewards or incentives that your backers will receive when they donate into your project.
  • Frequent updates that share the journey of your project as it comes to life.


Now let’s go through each of these, one by one—beginning with Your Story >>>





Tell Your Story

Your project page will be where you share the story about your project. This is where you will use your video and description to clearly and concisely communicate what you are doing and why you are doing it.

You should choose a captivating project image that will inspire excitement for your project, as well as project confidence in your potential backers, showing that you have the ability to see your project through to its completion.

Both the description and the video of your project should include the following:

  • Introduce yourself and your team involved in the project.
  • Tell the story behind your project. Share early photos, prototypes, and/or research that you have done. People are interested in how it all began. 
  • Share a timeline for how you plan to complete your project and send out rewards/incentives. If you are not completely sure about these details yet, share that you are still working on these points.
  • Include your budget… Even if you only have a rough estimate for your budget, include that. You need to convey to potential backers that you have done your homework.
  • Above all… Enjoy the process!


Now it’s time to explore a little more about Setting Your Rewards >>>



 

Setting Your Rewards

Rewards (Incentives) are what you offer to the backers who financially bring your project to life. Rewards should be straightforward, creative and unique. You don’t have to provide rewards, but we have seen that projects offering rewards or incentives have a much higher rate of reaching their funding goals… so we highly recommend you to do this. The reward does not always have to be a tangible item. It could even be something like a digital download… Be creative!

Here are a few ideas for potential rewards to help get you started:

  • Early Product Release: Your backers will love to be the first to receive your product at exclusive limited-time availability. People love to be the first with a new product.
  • Limited Editions: Backers love exclusive limited editions. This gives your project a since of worth and pride.
  • Digital Downloads: Many backers lead busy lives and appreciate less clutter and quick access to resources. FREE digital downloads are a great way to offer something that will continuously bless your backers.
  • Experiences: Many backers enjoy firsthand experiences, like a free pass for a personal tour on location, a personal phone call from the owner, etc. This is where your imagination will shine!
  • Mementos: A photo of the location or project signed with a personal “Thank You” from the owner… or a personalized plaque or certificate with the backer’s name included. It really needs to just tell a story that the backer is an important part of your project.
  • Commemorations: Maybe you could place your backers name on a commemorative plaque or brick that will be placed on location as a donor into your project. It’s important for people to know that their names will be remembered.                                                                                          

Now that you have a few ideas of what rewards/incentives work, there are a few rewards that you will NOT be allowed to offer. So, be sure to check out our list of prohibited items found under Guidelines before you begin your project.


Pricing Your Rewards 

Remember that some backers can contribute large sums, while others can only contribute a little. Big or small, every contribution counts! We have found that the most popular pledge amount on Bridge to Zion is $25, with the the overall average pledge being $70 - $75. 

Here are some things to consider when pricing your rewards:

  • Offer a Variety of Pricing: There will be many of your backers who will be able to contribute $100 or more, while some may only be able to contribute $10. It’s important to offer something for everyone.
  • Carefully Consider the Costs: It’s important to carefully consider your production and delivery costs when presenting your rewards. Remember to budget and plan ahead!


Estimated Delivery Dates 

With each reward offered, you will be asked to provide an Estimated Delivery Date. This will provide your backers with a best guess estimate for delivery of that particular reward.

Be sure to be realistic and choose a delivery date that you feel confident in will work for you. Be sure to give yourself a bit of wiggle room. It’s always better to be early than late.
 
Remember, if you do experience any setbacks in making your delivery deadlines, it is important to give your backers an updated deadline.
 


Now it’s time to discuss your Funding Goal >>>


 

Funding Goal

Bridge to Zion is a donation based funding platform. This style of funding allows you to go forward with your project with the donated funds that your project has accumulated, regardless of whether or not you have met your designated funding goal.

It is important to remember that your funding goal should be set at the minimum amount necessary to complete your project and fulfill your rewards. 

Here are a few things to consider when setting your funding goal:

  • Crunch the Numbers: You need to be sure and consider every possible expense that you may incur from start-up to completion your project. Add up any and every conceivable expense… Don’t forget the cost of packaging and shipping costs for your rewards!
  • Consider Your Possible Backers: After you have crunched the numbers and have come up with a figure that you are comfortable with, it’s time to consider your supporters. If you already have a core network of people who are familiar with you and your work you will have a good idea as to the minimum support that you can reasonably expect.      
                Bridge to Zion is a great platform to share your project with new people and gain added.              You will want to use good sense and play it safe as you consider just how much support that                you could reasonably expect to gain.

  • Set Your Goal: Now that you have crunched the numbers and considered your possible network of backers, it’s time to set your funding goal. Because Bridge to Zion’s funding platform is strictly donation based, remember that you can always raise more money than your set funding goal. So, to set your goal you will need to consider both the cost and the possible network of backers, and then select your funding goal.
  • Set Your Funding Project Deadline: Most funding project deadlines last anywhere from 30 to 90 days. But statistics show that projects that last 30 days or less have a greater success rate. This is because projects with shorter deadlines project both a tone of confidence, as well as set a tone of immediate action.
  • Factor in a Cushion: Bridge to Zion applies a 9% fee to the total. Also, you will need to consider additional credit card processing fees, plus any taxes that you may incur, and any currency exchange fees charged.

You will receive your funds immediately once someone donates. You will want to make sure that you have completed your account set up with Stripe so you can transfer those funds into your bank account. You will complete this information when you begin the launch process. The amount of money disbursed will be the amount you raise, less the Bridge to Zion portal fees and any merchant account fees. Make  sure to check out our Fees and check with your accountant.

  • Tax Deduction Eligibility… If your project qualifies and you are a project owner with a 501C-3 nonprofit status, sponsorships may be tax-deductible. Remember that you will be responsible for sending receipts to your backers. Please talk to your accounting experts!


Now… let’s move on to Promoting Your Project >>>



Promoting Your Project

The difference between an exceptionally successful project and a mediocre outcome is found in credibility and promotion.                                                                       

For most projects, a great deal of support and promotion will come from people who know you--a core network of people who are familiar with you and your work. But the goal here is to get as many people as you can as excited about your project as you are--to make them know that they are partnering with you in something special.

  • Announcing Your Project: Be sure to send an email announcement to your entire list of existing supporters, friends and family so that they have the opportunity to be the first to pledge support for your project. This will give your project the initial boost and momentum that it needs to get off to a great start!

It’s important to tailor your message to your potential supporters, or groups of like-minded supporters. You may want to consider highlighting some of your project rewards in these email announcements, as well.

Also, there are various venues on social media where you can share your project—Facebook, Twitter, etc.

  • Follow Ups: After you have sent out your mass emails, posted your project on social media, and on your website it’s a great idea to craft personal messages to effectively let individuals know about your project. Included in these messages you should highlight specific areas of your project that you believe that certain individual might be interested in.

  • Press Releases: You may also consider writing articles about your project and submitting that to venues that cover work like yours. Highlight the project idea and in the end mention the fact that you are funding it on Bridge to Zion. 

  • Host an Event: Give a party that highlights your project, inviting close family and friends. You may even consider setting up a couple of computers where people who wish to support your project, but may not be familiar with Bridge to Zion, find your project and sign up as a backer.

Be creative and get the message out!


Now that you've promoted your project, let's talk about Updates >>>

    


Updates

It is critical to stay in touch with backers and would-be backers throughout your campaign. You should always communicate the progress of your project and campaign with your backers. They need to stay updated on your progress from start to finish. This adds value to your project and gives your backers a sense of involvement… adding to the excitement!
 
There are several critical junctures in your campaign that you will want to be sure to update backers…

  • Updates to Build Momentum: During the life of your funding campaign, keep your backers informed about new developments and milestones. This will inspire them to spread the word to others… exponentially accelerating your funding base.

Using pictures or updated videos to tell the story about milestones along this venture is a great way to communicate your backers’ involvement.

Once your project is launched, you will begin to receive a steady stream of messages
from your backers, as well as potential backers. It is important to check these
comments and questions often and respond to them immediately. This will show
that you care about their concerns. If you happen to notice many of the same
questions along the way, you may want to consider adding this to your project’s FAQs.

  • Updates that share your projects progress: Once your project has been successfully funded, it is important to keep your backers in the loop regarding the current progress of your project. Even if you are experiencing delays or setbacks… they need to be informed!

  • Updates that share your successes: Once you have shipped your rewards… share reviews, photos, press releases, etc. It’s great to keep the positive momentum going!

You're at the finish line! Let's talk about Fulfillment >>>

 


Fulfillment! 

So, your project was a success and you are ready to ship the promised rewards to your backers. This is where all the hard work in the beginning with budgeting comes into play…. Making this final leg rewarding to both you and your backers.

  • Tools: We have a few tools here that will help you successfully fulfill your rewards... Upon receiving each donation, you will receive an email with the backer's name along with any other information that you have asked to collect (i.e. mailing addresses, phone number, T-shirt size, ring size, etc.). For your convenience you can easily access your entire list of backers at any time by going to your project page and clicking on the manage project tab. 

  • Shipping: Shipping any promised rewards to your backers is your responsibility…                         Be sure that you have planned ahead for how you will package and ship your rewards. Don’t forget the costs of boxes, packaging materials and tape. And if you are shipping overseas, don’t forget that you will need to fill out custom forms. Another thing that you might wish to factor into your shipping costs is shipping insurance. You can research shipping costs online through the shipping venue that you will be using.

Another shipping option is to use a fulfillment service for your shipping and handling. There are several fulfillment services out there… and if you do your homework, you should easily find one that will be perfect for your needs.

  • Tax Deduction Eligibility… As we mentioned, if your project qualifies and you are a project owner with a 501C-3 nonprofit status, sponsorships may be tax-deductible. Remember that you will be responsible for sending receipts to your backers. Please talk to your accounting experts! 

  • Communication: It’s time to throw a fulfillment party! Take pics packaging the items and tell stories. Let you backers know ‘where in the world’ some of your products are being shipped to. Let your backers know their items have been shipped and about when they should expect to receive them. Well done! 

  • You’ve made it to the Finish Line! When you’ve fulfilled your project’s rewards… it’s time to celebrate! Well done!

So, be sure to stay in-touch with your backers and share stories of future milestones and successes! 


Congratulations!