Tips for reaching your target from two successful campaigns.

In the last year, fundraising for creative projects has seen a major  shift. A process once ruled by arts grants and record labels has now been substantially democratized. The ability to fund an album, film or just about any other type of easily shareable work now also rests in the social networks of the creators. Kickstarter may become an even greater player in funding than the National Endowment for the Arts.

1) Choose Your Platform Wisely

After looking at the options, KC Roberts decided to go it alone. With some web design help he managed his band’s successful campaign from his own website. In addition KC produced a clutch of creative YouTube covers in support of the initiative. Here’s what he had to say on the matter:

“The main reason I chose to do a hands-on fundraising site was because it is a direct link between our band and the people who like our music. No middle men, and no chance for less passionate parties to water down the message and the project. The harder you work, and the more creative you are will directly effect its success”.

This cuts to the core message of a crowdfunding campaign. You must demonstrate your engagement and commitment to the project, not to mention your talent and creativity.  This shows in everything from the pitch video to site design to marketing copy to social media presence. If you feel that your time is better spent creating engaging promotional content you may want to limit your effort administrating the fundraiser. Kickstarter has yet to expand into Canada, so for now the most popular option is global fundraiser Indigogo. Consider that the site’s cut of of the bounty is a little higher than most other platforms (in some cases as high as 12%).

2) Timing is everything

Following a predetermined timeline can help to create an arc to your campaign. This is especially important when it comes to maintaining interest in the middle segment of the effort. At this point, early adopters have already donated, and the campaign deadline isn’t yet that imposing. Having some extra content ready to be fired off  can be helpful. Consider saving some material drawn from the initial campaign launch to “trickle out” during this slower period.

There are a wealth of resources to help aide you in proper post scheduling. For us creatives, it boils down to this: don’t post things on social media in the middle of the night. While it may be normal for musicians or filmmakers to be puttering away at 3am, the vast majority of users are fast asleep. This works against any (small) hope of viral spread.

Crowd funded campaigns are becoming more popular. Make sure your timeline won’t be in direct competition with a close friend or colleague with whom you share a similar social network.

3) Don’t Skimp On Production Value

With DSLRs readily available, it has become imperative to produce video that stands head and  shoulders above  average YouTube offerings.

“Video and audio quality is a major factor in retaining viewers” Says Alex Browne, (independent photographer/videographer) “If a video looks and sounds great, there is a far better chance of people watching the whole video. Using a talented video artist can show your commitment to quality and can serve as a preview of what is to come.”

For musicians, audio quality is worth breaking the bank over. You have an opportunity to demonstrate not only the potential of the project but also what you can accomplish without funding. Both are important factors in evaluating the feasibility of a project from a backer’s perspective.

 

4) Make and Maintain Personal Connections

In both successful campaigns for which I have assisted the vast majority of supporters are close friends. It is really important to reach out to these pals and family members with humility and honesty. There are a host of people out there who want to support you without feeling like they are getting “sold”. Use your discretion and above all else, put your relationship with these folks first. The credibility of your campaign depends on it.

There is a wealth of other great resources for planning your fundraising campaign (Shown below). Read lots, plan hard and hustle harder. Your effort will pay off!

-How to raise money from strangers.

-Kickstarter tips from Matt Haughey (Creator of MetaFilter)

-A filmaker’s perspective…

Matt Giffin is a musician in Toronto and a recent Graduate of Humber’s School for Creative and Performing Arts. In addition to his performing and teaching schedule, he blogs regularly at mattgiffin.com, tweets as @matthewgiffin and enjoys the defunct medium of the newspaper.