How this family winery raised $22,000 through crowdfunding in less than a month

How this family winery raised $22,000 through crowdfunding in less than a month

A New South Wales winery has raised more than $20,000 within a month via crowdfunding platform Pozible to build more production space for its increasingly popular wines.

Four Winds Vineyard, a family-owned small business in Murrumbateman – just north of Canberra – turned to the Australian crowdfunding website after the owners realised they needed to expand in order to meet growing demand.

Four Winds Vineyard part-owner Sarah Collingwood told SmartCompany her parents planted the vineyard 16 years ago and recently sales have “bet expectations”.

“We really need to increase our capacity,” she says.

“We were looking for options where we didn’t need to go into debt. And like most small businesses, the funds we needed for expanding would follow the expansion. We thought crowdfunding would be quite a good way to build the extension now and provide the rewards next year once the extension was complete.”

Like most crowdfunding websites, Pozible asks users to pledge a specified amount of money to a project in exchange for a reward or benefit. The pledge can range from as little as $5 to much larger sums of money, and the cash is only taken from the donor’s bank account if the project reaches its funding goal.

In the case of Four Winds Vineyard, donors could “become immortal” and get their name engraved on the company’s cellar door for $5. People who pledged larger amounts were given the opportunity to receive a limited edition Shiraz and Sangiovese blend which will be made specifically for people who donated to the campaign, in addition to other rewards such as an invitation to a launch party.

The small business raised $22,369 within a month, almost $1000 more than its original goal. The money will go towards extending the winery as well as installing insulation and water tanks.

Collingwood says the family business has been “overwhelmed” by the support it received from both existing customers as well as strangers on the internet.

“The words of support on the Pozible website were so heartwarming and people were enthusiastic and keen to support us,” she says.

“It was a nice way to include a lot of people in what we’re doing in a tangible way. In the wine industry we’re pretty lucky in that people are interested in the magic of wine making so being in a vineyard everyday, there are lots of things going on and lots of things to talk about on social media.”

Collingwood says she would definitely recommend crowdfunding to other small business owners but points out a lot of planning needs to go into running a successful campaign.

“We really did need to put in quite a lot of work before we launched the project,” she says.

“Putting the video together was quite important… a lot of our supporters already knew who we were, but the video was a two and-a-half minute way of saying [to strangers] what we’re doing, what the future holds and what the funds will be used for.”

Here’s Sarah Collingwood’s top three tips for running a successful crowdfunding campaign for your small or family-run business:

  1. Put a lot of thought into planning your campaign. Not all crowdfunding projects are successful – it’s often a case of all or nothing. “How are you going to get the message out there? How much are you going to spend putting together or promoting the campaign?
  2. Make a high-quality video that convinces people who don’t know who you are to pledge money.
  3. Offer enticing rewards that you can deliver and go to the heart of what your business or project is all about.

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