How You Can Raise £1 Million from an Email List of Zero

Honest answer… You can’t… Yet still, as a crowdfunding consultant, weekly I’ll get one or two enquiries from someone that a) thinks this is possible and b) expects me to make it happen.

If crowdfunding didn’t need an email list, social media following and group of supporters I don’t think it would have the word ‘crowd’ in it. In fact, your email list size isn’t my first priority, your open rate is, but that’s another blog post entirely.

Crowdfunding without a crowd is like being told to go to a restaurant which is completely empty. We all look at it but think we would rather go to a busier place.


It’s like going to an arcade and putting your 2p’s into a penny falls coin cascade when there aren’t any 2p’s looking like they might fall at any minute. Essentially crowdfunding without an email list is like putting the first 2p in the machine and hoping that others will take the risk of putting their money in too even though it seems they’re unlikely to win anything.

However, it’s human nature to wait until others have started the trend then we join in.

Take this leadership video of the dancing guy for example, if you haven’t watched it, it’s here. The same principles as shown in the video are essential for anyone wanting to crowdfund too:

  • Who will start dancing first? The founder of the project has to be the first backer, no one else wants to take the risk of ‘dancing alone’.

  • Who should be the next adopter? To show that this is something to become a part of? Most obviously, the people that also don’t care to look silly dancing with you, those who won’t care that they have zero chance of wining any 2ps, and those that know they might have an awful dinner (but hey, at least the company was great). These people love you and will join you just because you are you, not because of your product/business or charity. Who are these amazing people? This is everyone else at your organisation, their boyfriends/girlfriends/mums and dads. By this point you should have a minimum of about 20 people backing you. Only then do you want to put the campaign out to your wider audience.

  • Who will join you to make it/you look cool? At the moment all you have is a family get-together — and we all have opinions about how ‘great’ they are? So who will be the crowd to take you from this crowd to the 30% or 60% mark? These are your ambassadors. The people who sign up for 50% discount, or give regularly if you are a charity. The people who share and like your posts and read your content. Rewarding these people for giving early will encourage them to tell their friends and invite more to the party and will be beneficial in all your further pursuits to bring ‘random people whose email addresses you don’t have on board.

Statistics show you want to hit 30% of your financial target as a minimum in the first week, after this your fans will start paying attention, the dance party will get bigger. When you hit 60% social media advertising will start to convert, PR will start to convert and other people who may have only just found out about you will start to pay attention. They want to join this huge dance party, the 2ps are almost hanging over the edge, the restaurant is now taking reservations and they want to be a part of that.

So, finally, without that email list, how can you achieve this? By sending out cold emails, cold social media posts and hoping PR will convert, all you are is a man/woman/gender fluid human dancing in a field hoping that random passers by will join. How likely is that to become ‘the party of the year’?

So yes, this may have been a clickbait title, but I hope now you won’t be one of the crowdfunding campaigners who sets up a campaign and expects it to magically make a million.



Jes Bailey is a crowdfunding consultant who works independently of crowdfunding platforms. Jes trains organisations and runs crowdfunding campaigns for her clients and in the last 2 years, she has helped 35 organisation raise over £2.1million for their socially focused businesses and projects .