IfundIT Cookbook

Your guide to ifundIT at IBM

Starting your Campaign

Defining your Focus and Outcome

One of the reasons IBM has had so much success with ifundIT is its ability to foster focused innovation in specific areas. Enterprise crowdfunding produces immediate benefits by harnessing the untapped power of the crowd - but it's also a powerful tool to amplify your organization's strategic goals.

For example, in the 2015 "Spring into Bluemix" campaign, all submitted projects were required to run on IBM Bluemix, IBM's cloud-based mobile and web app development platform. In addition to over 50 successfully funded projects, the ifundIT campaign increased awareness of Bluemix in the external Top Coder community which IBM was using to help in building some of the projects. The campaign resulted in 770 new Bluemix users, helping IBM achieve its goal of one million subscribers by the end of the year.

As your team begins to outline your first campaign, think carefully about its focus, and your desired outcome. Consider your organization's long term objectives - things like new development tools, educational initiatives, or any other strategic goals - and think about how you might be able to incorporate them into your campaign. For example, the focus of IBM's "Cognitive Build" campaign was on "Cognitive": a key pillar of IBM's strategy. To that end, project submissions were required to incorporate Watson APIs, but also encouraged Agile and Design Thinking methodologies throughout the process. Cognitive Build not only resulted in concrete innovation with Watson, but also a company-wide introduction to Cognitive, giving everyone in the organization a deeper understanding of the concept.

Building your Team

Running a crowdfunding campaign requires a serious investment of time and energy, and a passionate and committed team to make sure it is successful. The ifundIT team has both facilitated and actively managed a number of successful campaigns within IBM - while we've advised other organizations on running their own campaigns, we've also run some of the biggest ones ourselves. Based on this experience, we've distilled the responsibilities and requirements of managing an ifundIT campaign into four key roles, broken down below. All together, they make up the Campaign Management Office (CMO).

It's important to note that these roles are the roles we used within our own company, and as such may not reflect the goal or necessities of your organization. Feel free to adapt, combine, or subdivide these roles to match the scope and budget of your campaign. While each role is relatively distinct, there's also plenty of room for overlap!

Campaign Owner

The Campaign Owner typically makes the decision to run an ifundIT crowdfunding campaign in their business. They define the campaign focus and desired outcome, set the budget requirements, and develop the campaign timeline. In addition, the Campaign Owner coordinates between the Campaign Administrator(s) and the Community Manager to set the overall campaign strategy.

The Campaign Owner's responsibilities include:

  • Setting the campaign's budget
  • Choosing a focus for the campaign
  • Allocating personnel and funding
  • Determining the campaign's audience
  • Choosing a campaign mode
  • Developing a timeline for the campaign

Campaign Administrator(s)

The Campaign Administrator(s) oversees the many logistical and day-to-day requirements of the campaign, including initiating and leading the triage process for new project submissions, as well as the specifics of configuring the ifundIT tool for their organization. They also construct and appoint the Review Team, which is responsible for assessing the feasibility of each submitted project.

The Campaign Administrator's responsibilities include:

  • Configuring the ifundIT tool for their organization
  • Interfacing with the ifundIT team for any consulting or needed support
  • Determining and collecting the metrics they need
  • Establishing the investor model
  • Appointing the members of the Review Team
  • Conducting basic checks on project submissions to ensure that they meet campaign guidelines and organizational policies

In our experience managing previous campaigns, we've found that many organizations combine the roles of Campaign Owner and Campaign Administrator and designate a single individual to fulfill the responsibilities of both. While this approach can be effective for smaller campaigns, we recommend keeping the roles separate for campaigns that run longer than 6 weeks or have an audience of more than 10,000 people.

Review Team Members

The members of the Review Team are Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who perform a lightweight assessment of the viability of each new project. The Review Team ensures that project submissions do not duplicate existing work, meet any business or campaign guidelines, and are feasible within the established scope and scale of the campaign. Review Team Members do not rate projects based on their content or marketability, or decide if they are good or bad (that's the crowd's decision!) - rather, they are intended to streamline the flow of innovation and maximize the quantity of deliverable projects.

The Review Team member's responsibilities include:

  • Providing subject matter expertise to project owners
  • Participating in reviews of project submissions for feasibility and duplicate work
  • Facilitating a pipeline of healthy ideas

Community Manager

The Community Manager is responsible for developing the communication strategy for the entire campaign, and for leading the initiative to inform and promote the campaign with the organization's intended audience. They design any personalized content for the organization's instance of ifundIT, ranging from automated system messages to FAQs to landing page greetings. The Community Manager also manages the social aspects of the campaign and its participants, in the form of any online communities associated with the campaign.

The Community Manager's responsibilities include:

  • Designing specialized user interface content for the ifundIT tool
  • Developing the overall communication strategy for the campaign
  • Promoting the campaign throughout the organization
  • Managing online communities related to the campaign

Learn about allocating your budget next.