"We are extremely satisfied with how the campaign went"
With 2099 supporters from 35 countries, a total of €155,000 pledged and the Innovationspreis Thüringen people's choice award, the pilot campaign of crowdFANding was a roaring success. On Sunday, 10 September, the follow up project crowdFANding II concluded. The focus once again was co-determination in the sports arena through crowdfunding, this time with Fanprojekt Mainz e.V. which was aimed at the building of a fan clubhouse for the active fans of this Bundesliga club. The campaign also hoped to achieve a world record and a respective entry into the Guinness Book of Records as the sports-related crowdfunding project with the most supporters. In an interview, Erik Ackermann and Dr. Robin Bürger from the Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy IMW's Innovation Financing Unit talk about providing scientific support to the campaign and the overall positive results.
Dear Mr Ackermann, dear Dr. Bürger, you provided scientific support to the crowdfunding campaign. What results did you observe?
Erik Ackermann: We are investigating success factors for crowdfunding campaigns. Just like in the pilot campaign, the support process involved an online survey in order to evaluate the support dynamics or the influence of events, for example, and to then come to conclusions regarding the strategy and management of future campaigns. During a further development stage, we intend to prepare the crowdfunding platform for so-called A/B tests that will allow us to evaluate which factors influence the support behaviour (such as the tonality, emotionality or colours of the image material).
Dr. Robin Bürger: The sports area seems to have an affinity for crowdfunding. For example, around 72 per cent of those interviewed supported the pilot campaign "crowdFANding – Südkurve bleibt!" for the first time in a crowdfunding setting. Compared to crowdfunding projects in other areas, it is also interesting that the rewards offered and the campaign video were not decisive for the success of the pilot campaign – maybe because crowdfunding projects in the sports area are generally emotionally charged.
What will happen next, now that the campaign is finished? And will there be a third edition of the project – maybe next year?
Dr. Robin Bürger: We are going to present our research results at national and international crowdfunding and alternative financing instrument events. As a member of the European umbrella organisation for crowdfunding, the European Crowdfunding Network (ECN), we also have the chance to discuss our findings from both crowdFANding campaigns with experts in this field. One key issue is to understand the co-determination opportunities in the sports area through crowdfunding better, from one-off support to influencing sports policy decision-making processes. With a contribution to the largest entrepreneurship, innovation and medium-sized business conference in the German-speaking countries, the G-Forum 2017, we will be already publishing some first results this year. With crowdFANding e. V., we are already planning a third campaign that is scheduled to start next year. We have already received various applications – also from other sports besides football. Should we decide for a third project in this area, a cooperation with Deutsche Fußballliga (DFL) may be on the cards.
The "crowdFANding II – co-determination in the sports area through crowdfunding" campaign ran until 10 September 2017. What are your conclusions regarding the way the campaign went?
Erik Ackermann: We are extremely satisfied, even though Fanprojekt Mainz, with 2599 supporters from 19 countries, unfortunately failed to achieve the world record we had hoped for. However, the amount of money pledged, 155,700 euros, exceeded the 100,000 euro mark that was our goal. Thanks to a strong media response from the social media channels, the daily newspapers (including the major German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) and football scene magazines (including the highly-respected Kicker), the "crowdFANding – a fan clubhouse for Mainz" campaign enjoyed a high level of attention.