Women hit their crowdfunding targets more than men – across sectors and the world

Female-led seed crowdfunding campaigns outperform male-led campaigns across all sectorsDuring the last few years I’ve done various pieces of work with international crowdfunding data observatory, The Crowdfunding Center (US spelling is deliberate!), run by Barry James and Kay Klug.

They’ve built a worldwide business which tracks and analyses crowdfunding campaigns, and can slice data across all manner of segments, metrics and territories.

Yesterday The Crowdfunding Center and PwC published the new joint report, Women Unbound: Unleashing female entrepreneurial potential, which compares the experience of women using seed crowdfunding to the more traditional finance-raising routes.

I was one of the two lead authors of the report, along with Aoife Flood of PwC’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Programme. It was a pleasure to work with Kay, Barry and Aoife.

The report shows that shows that while more men use seed crowdfunding than women, women are more successful in reaching their crowdfunding targets than men, in all sectors and geographic regions across the globe.

Female-led businesses and entrepreneurs have long faced barriers in accessing finance (if for some reason you don’t believe me there is extensive evidence of this, and we flag inequalities and biases in the report). But thanks to crowdfunding, entrepreneurs can now access the market directly – and this makes a huge difference.

This crowdfunding data also shows how removing the barriers that seem to be more prevalent in traditional finance routes provides opportunities that will benefit women and men, business and society. The report outlines actions that governments, funders, business advisers, educators, entrepreneurs, women and men can take to seize these opportunities and eradicate such barriers.

It also highlights how seed crowdfunding unlocks a multitude of opportunities beyond finance including market validation, a positive effect on cashflow, an increased likelihood of forging partnerships with other organisations and a greater ability to attract and retain good employees.

Why do women-led crowdfunding campaigns outperform those led by men?

  • we go into some detail on this on p14-15 of the report (which you can access, along with a fantastic interactive data explorer, here);
  • one factor is because because crowdfunding attracts, enables and empowers far more female decision-makers – as project backers and ‘micro-VCs’ – than within traditional finance;
  • but it’s also because female crowdfunders also tend to use more emotional and inclusive language in their videos and pitch descriptions than men. This language is more appealing both to female and to male backers, and positively correlated with fundraising success.

Fascinating stuff. Of course, emotional language and storytelling doesn’t only have a positive impact on crowdfunding success – it’s a key part of showing what sets you (your business, your social enterprise) apart – and makes you unique.

A few more snapshots from the report:

  • The analysis of over 450,000 seed crowdfunding campaigns from nine of the largest global crowdfunding platforms shows that female-led campaigns were 32% more successful at reaching their funding target than male-led campaigns
  • While men typically seek higher funding targets, female-led projects achieve a greater average pledge amount than male-led projects: on average each individual backer contributes $87 to women and $83 to men (a difference of almost 5%)
  • Even in more male dominated sectors, such as the technology sector, where there are nine male-led campaigns to every one female-led campaign, female-led campaigns are more successful, 13% to 10% respectively
  • The US and the UK are the most thriving countries for seed crowdfunding with the largest volumes of campaigns. In both countries, 20% of male-led campaigns reached their targets compared with 24% and 26% of female-led campaigns respectively
  • However, men continue to use seed crowdfunding substantially more than women and raise substantially more finance than female-led campaigns; 89% of campaigns raising over $1 million were male-led campaigns compared with 11% of female-led

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