The Valley of Death and the Two-Humped Camel

camel standing in desert with rock mountains in background

Most crowdfunding campaigns experience a Valley of Death—a trough of activity that follows the initial surge of interest and precedes the final rush to the finish line. Envision a two-humped camel. The first hump rises up as the campaign team reaches out to their network. Friends, contacts and family members contribute and begin to share the campaign among their own networks.

After the initial funding comes in, there is a lull—but don’t be fooled into thinking that nothing is going on. If your first hump came up high enough and fast enough (about 30% of your goal in the first four days), then the lull is really the time for you to activate the second hump. The second hump is made up of people who fund the campaign because they have been referred by early funders, or who respond to your own outreach and marketing efforts. They have confidence in the project because they see the size of the first hump and are reassured by the trust other funders have shown. The Valley of Death is not really a dead time at all — but rather, a time to build on the trust of your first backers and reach out strongly to a wider audience.

This graph comes from the forthcoming book, New Routes to Funding, by our friend from the UK, Barry James. The book is full of data compiled from nearly 500,000 crowdfunding campaigns around the world. Pre-order your copy here and check out Barry’s work at


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  1. […] crowdfunding campaigns follow a predictable trajectory of initial success followed by a Valley of Death–the period of time immediately following the initial surge of interest that can feel a lot like a […]

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