Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Thoughts on Crowdfunding

Greetings.

I'm typing some ramblings here because they are too ramble-y, even for a Facebook status update.

It also seemed appropriate to have the conversation here on my artist blog, so here we go! I'm excited to hear your thoughts on crowdfunding, if you've ever had a campaign before, and what worked or didn't work. I'm not actively fundraising at the moment, but I'm sure it'll happen someday for some damned reason or another. I also have a lot of friends who use this fundraising method (usually in conjunction with other forms of fundraising).

-C McG

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I've just watched [a livestream of] one of the co-founders of Indiegogo speaking about crowdfunding and how to be successful at it.

There are a few close friends (and passersby) who have heard my rants about crowdfunding and whether we think it's jumping the shark, or if we just don't know how to use it correctly sometimes.

I also write this on behalf of those of us who are paralyzed by the mere reality of needing to do fundraising. What I learned I think I can tweak to be relevant to other forms of fundraising, too.

That all being said, here are my takeaways (in my own Classy words) (I hope I'm not plagiarizing or copyright stealing or anything too much) (I'm just really passionate about this stuff):

1) You need to spend some time finding the actual audience of people that actually care about the thing you are fundraising about. Sharing a link on Facebook all day isn't proactive enough, plus you are bugging the same people over and over again. Stop it. I'm still learning this one. Stop.
 
2) Two months before you even launch the campaign, find a team of people who will commit to pledging money AND to helping you find other people who will give you money. This is called a "Host Committee." In event terms, these might be your "Table Captains" or whatever. I might call them an "Investment Team." Find media people who would care about your product, and see if they'll write about you. Anyway, widen your circles, and have your shit together before you launch.

3) Make a video. When using multiple fundraising routes, make it in pieces. Make a piece explaining your project that can be a stand-alone to show anywhere, and have pieces that are specific to THIS campaign and how people can specifically help you at THIS time.

4) Perks/Backer gifts are awesome. Plan for 3-8 of them. I personally enjoy a copy of/ticket to/t-shirt of/sticker of the product/production I'm supporting. Ask donors if they'd like their name printed on an acknowledgement list (either in the program, or liner notes, or on your website, etc). Some donors like recognition, some don't. Just ask. Keep them happy. Don't embarrass them. Again, have your shit together. Real perks that your specific audience would find meaningful.

In short, Classy sez: Invest in your campaign. Invest time AND some money. Crowdfunding isn't a way to be lazy about your fundraising. It's just another tool in the giant fundraising toolbox. If you invest in your product, so will your audience.

Man, I hope that made any sense.

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