How Emotional Styles Should Shape Crowdfunding Teams

I am attracted to the psychological and emotional behaviors swirling around crowdfunding. I like to put a microscope on possible reasons why the crowd chooses projects to back and, where possible, try to bottle it in some practical way.

It’s not out of reach to pay to attention to consumers’ needs, desires and aspirations. In business it’s called emotional branding, and thanks to social media it has a powerful place in your crowdfunding marketing and messaging strategies.

There’s a lot to be learned from developing an antenna for cues and then fine-tuning your approach accordingly to maximize good outcomes. But first you have to understand your own emotional and psychological makeup and that of your team. (You have a team, right?)  If not, you all might be doing tasks to which you are ill suited.

Here’s what I mean:

Crowdfunding requires wearing two hats—well many more, but let’s just look at broad strokes here. A successful campaign means accessing both a healthy dose of optimism and pessimism.

If you think there’s no room for pessimism in your crowdfunding campaign there’s a book you should read called “Learned Optimism” by Martin Seligman, the acclaimed psychologist. Seligman spent years studying what makes optimists and pessimists tick. He concluded that there is a valid and valued place for both personality types in the workplace.

Extending his concept to crowdfunding…that’s right: suffering from too much optimism can actually threaten your crowdfunding success. Why? To over-simplify Seligman’s research, optimists actually have a tendency to use denial to keep hope alive.

Mild pessimists—no depressives, please—on the other hand, are pragmatists. They don’t view the world through rose-colored glasses. (Hmm that saying takes on new meaning given my name and this topic!) So they bring with them a healthy dose of reality to a crowdfunding campaign just when it’s needed.

According to Seligman you should let the optimists run the show when you need to promote, sell, and play to win. That means your strongest optimists should create and implement the vision for your marketing strategy.

Listen to pessimists, however, when risks are high or tides turn. That means any work that requires attention to detail should go to the pessimists, as should any reassessment or course correction if you’re campaign is not working.

If you’re not sure where you fall on the continuum, here’s the Learned Optimism Test from his book. It’s fun and surprising to see how you fare.

Here’s how crowdfunding tasks might be divvied in your campaign:


  • You’re creative, so you should be responsible for quality content generation or curation
  • You’re good at relationship building so you should be a front person in your social media messaging and ongoing engagement
  • You are persistent so you should be the media-blogger-influencer contact person
  • You are competitive so you can burn the midnight oil when the campaign needs an extra kick
  • You are slow to burn out so you can take the lion’s share of the stress for the team


  • You are good at technical writing so you should definitely be proofreading all written materials for accuracy and truth
  • You’re good with contract negotiations so you should be doing any hiring of, say, a videographer for your pitch video
  • You are great with cost estimates so you should have a hand in setting financial goals and creating an accurate budget to make sure you can reach it
  • You are fairly perfectionistic so you should be making sure that any communications and messaging that goes out is highly segmented and thoughtful—no mass emailing, no Facebook spamming
  • You’re great with stats so you can keep track of blow-by-blow analytics to help determine next steps

Those are just a few examples of how your emotional styles can be put to good use in your crowdfunding campaign. None of these tasks work in a vacuum, of course, so you should work together providing checks and balances for the other side. Most importantly, both factions should honor the others’ abilities and be thankful for the opposing viewpoints. They may just prove invaluable to bringing your campaign to success.




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