The 90s had its crowd-surfing craze and now there is the growing crowd-funding
trend, both of these involve getting uplifting support from many individuals. Recently,
I helped run an Indiegogo campaign which was a wonderful learning experience. Many Independent Artists have heard
of online fund-raising campaigns, but only a small percentage truly understands
what they are, why they would benefit from them, and how to use them
effectively. Commonly referred to as crowd-funding or sometimes crowd-sourcing, these online
campaigns are unique tools for building foundations for new ventures. Aside
from Indiegogo there is Kickstarter and GoFundMe all of which have helped
launch many art-related projects as well as other endeavors. Not everyone
automatically sees the incredible advantages that these campaigns can provide. Discover
why creatives need to utilize these awesome tools to help with special project
Three key things dictate your success in crowd-fund
campaigning: the value you are creating in return for contributions, the
quality of your artwork up to this point and the number of people you reach out
toby sharing on social media and direct
contact. Online fund-raising can increase your reach and will help you discover
support for your art you did not know you already had.
With that thought in mind, here are answers to some of
the common questions many have about these powerful tools.
What are Crowd-funding
Sites? Sites like Kickstarter that provide a solid template on
which you add content about your new art project launch or event along with an
outline for the reasons you are seeking people’s support. Add media such as
photos, video or sound files that will boost interest by allowing people to see
and hear what you are proposing to do. You want to tell them who you are and
why you are excited about getting to make your plan a reality. You want to fill in the blanks with your
compelling story that is unique to you and avoid creating a cookie-cutter campaign
site that lacks style and does not promise quality returns.
Keep in mind that running a website and hosting thousands of
campaigns and drawing millions of backers will not sustain without a price. The host site will require a percentage of
your total amount raised as payment for use of their services. I recommend you
shop around and find the site that has a take that is reasonable in regards to
the amount of funding you are seeking out.
The general consensus is that Kickstarter has a good track-record for
those that are doing larger projects with higher sums of seed-money (over 10,000 USD). Indiegogo is becoming more popular for the under $10k goals which
are centered on sole-proprietorships and small partnerships as opposed to the
larger businesses. GoFundMe has a solid history, it tends to come to mind for
hardship cases and personal needs as opposed to business related start-up funds. There are also musician-specific sites such as PledgeMusic.
Find out for yourself by searching for artists that are
doing similar work as you on here then compare with results on the other sites mentioned.
Why should I use
Since it is better to have experience on your side rather
than going it alone, these crowdfunding sites give advice and ideas in their support
blog or FAQ for how to best approach your intended backers. You may have direct support as well. They also give you
a clear structure and provide tools and that will help your campaign flow
smoothly from start to finish while preventing that "What do I do
next?" challenge. Benefits such as handling the payment transactions,
giving you a way to reach all your supporters and interested followers with
updates by email, keeping a running spreadsheet of who contributed what, site
analytics to show where your campaign page visitors are responding from, etc. will
assist the process while also improving your image and professionalism immensely.
How do I use them?
Many people report that a video of your heartfelt plea for
aid is indispensable. This was a factor that in a short 16-day campaign,
without any videography skills on our side, I admit was a wee bit of a concern.
Although not having a campaign video did not sink us, it probably would not
have hurt. My thought on the inclusion
of a video is that if you can make a good quality video that won’t be
tragically dull or poorly done to the point of putting off your audience then do
so. If not, try to make up for it with
plenty of photo images of your artwork.
If your medium is film, then that is a case where there is going to be
an absolute expectation for a video.
Here’s what isimportant: make sure you explain how the funds will be applied towards
realizing your goal. People want to know
how you are going to utilize their contributions so they know what to
expect. It is strongly recommended that
you break down the details that make up your objective. In essence you are inviting others to become
directly involved in your creative success.
Show them how you value their help by giving a play-by-play or basic budget
list to show what costs are being covered by the campaign funds.
Perks, bonuses, rewards – who doesn't love to be thanked for
going out of their way to help someone advance towards a goal? Whether it is a mailed thank you card, a
postcard, sticker, print or other unique gesture such as an actual piece of
your art it is important to add such an interactive element to your
campaign. It shows that you are an
active artist and have a will for follow-through. By doing so you offer assurance
that you are not going to just raise the funds and do something other than
intended with it. Rewarding those who
support your work also spreads rewards back to you as they will now have an
item to share with and talk to others about creating new interest. There are tier levels easily built-in to
award higher contributions with greater bonuses.
Writing high-quality updates as part of your campaign will help
you show accountability and encourage new contributions. Reflect the outline of
your plan by showing steps taken and new obstacles overcome. Simply write your update
about any developments that relate to your new project. When your campaign is
done, you may use the updates to announce when perks will be sent out, or to
give news on how it went and what is on the horizon for new artistic plans.
Shared image generated at keepcalm-o-matic
Who should use them?
All artists, craftspeople, musicians, writers, and any small
businesses that produce things which have a base cost factor should consider
using crowd-funding online. No matter how long you have been at your work you
can significantly improve the fund-generation stage while also speeding up the creative
process. In the end, you'll have both supporters and a timeline schedule to work with.
When should I use
Anytime you have something you need to do in a certain
time-frame that requires funding you have not already saved for in advance. Also,
you may have multiple admirers all clamoring for you to make something specific
or create something that is different from your usual way of doing so. If you find enough people who are willing to
invest to have this new art come into being so that they can also purchase it
from you this is an ideal situation.
Create a campaign and see how much additional support there might be for
you to tap into. If you already know people
who are willing to be part of your venture there is no reason not to take the
opportunity to create a campaign. It
will give you everything you need, and make it easier to keep everyone in the
loop. Simply go through the different sites and find one that best suits your cause.
Then let the campaigning begin!
Hopefully, that answers all of your Crowdfunding questions.
The bottom line is that sites for raising funds online can help you cover costs
and reach out to more people faster than you could alone. So why aren't you
using them? Have any more questions - please post a comment to ask or share your experience.
Inspiration and Originality Underlined is a collection of articles intended to draw focus on the contributions and perspectives of artists, authors and creatives of all mediums.
You are invited to be part of the ongoing dialogue about art here.