Crowdfunding sometimes can be an annoying word (and frustrating to many) that people usually associate with asking for money. Some people equate this practice to “begging.” Nothing could be further from the truth. There is honor in telling people about your goals and what better way to do it than online (still safer than in person, any salesperson will tell you).
Ok, so we have gotten past the begging part. Asking for what you want is very simple. The key to it is the how and why. What do you have to offer and what are the reasons someone out there should care? These questions are not just things to consider; they are an approach to look outside yourself and find out if your idea holds water.
Crowdfunding online is popular because it’s new and novel. The risks are low and the gains are potentially abundant. Yes, you could fail, but it’s not a reflection on you. Think of it as a testing ground that is free and available to you.
There are so many people who have failed in their crowdfunding efforts that you don’t hear about. It may be because they didn’t want to put all the launch effort that it takes to launch that product or career. If you don’t have the drive to run a crowdfunding campaign then you probably don’t have the drive to run a marketing campaign because it really is the same thing. The good news is that you do have the drive, but probably not the tools to get started. The stamina to sustain is something that needs to be developed. You can’t lift a heavy weight the first time at the gym. When using a website other than your own you have a way to reach people who are not on your list.
Tasks to add to your marketing list:
- Send out a press release
- Set up interviews
- Tell you friends
- Share your goal with strangers
You need lots of pre-production before you launch—your campaign is what gets your butt in gear. The urgency of the campaign forces you go into marketing hyperdrive. Your plan is completely transparent to your audience and you have the whole internet holding you accountable to get your goal so you better work your buns off. I know it always pushes me and because of running my campaigns other people in my industry have noticed my work where if I just stayed in my basement that would not have been the case.
In my first campaign I raised $10,000. Since the people in my community (shouting from the rooftops helps) knew I was looking for finishing funds they suggested I submit for a grant. When I did apply, I actually got it. I didn’t think that was possible—I thought only fine artists who play in museums got grants. Then I realized I had my short documentary play in museums, so why not me?! It also helped that I already put all the information together for my crowdfunding campaign, so I just had to repurpose the same info, and add a little organization and specifics. In the end, I got it—that was another $6,500 to help finish the film which later went to play over 40+ film festivals, picked up by a distributor, Cinema Libre and now you can view it for free on HULU, Netflix or buy it on Amazon.
Why not you—why not NOW?
Currently, I am running a Wrap-Up campaign for a current production for my documentary film, Ginger Girls: The Secret Lives of Redheads. I have all the challenges ahead to finish my movie still to come and I am happy to share what I have learned in my upcoming online class called Dream Funding.
Things to consider before you start your crowdfunding campaign.
Time for Assistance – Get a super duper intern that is inline with your industry and is motivated to learn. Post a call for interns on websites like Internships.com (Free posting but you need to message 100 interns to get one good one) Internqueen.com ($100 for 3 postings), or Youtern.com/ ($39 for 1 posting), just to name a few services.
Print Collateral – I like printing business card size cards with a logo for my project and to search for the project so when I am sharing my campaign at a national event or convention, I have something in hand that I can give them.
This is grass roots, but I also created a 8×10 flyer and hired people on Fiverr or Craigslist to hand out flyers in different, targeted areas and events. If there is a specific place you know your targeted customer is going to be at, have someone flyer at that event, or do it yourself. When I was at the end of my first campaign, I dressed up like a cow and people were happy to take flyers from me. Now, my project was about an Oscar nominated animator, Bill Plympton who made a short called, The Cow who wanted to be a Hamburger and this was NY Comic Con so not so out of place, and I still got a few moos as reactions.
Twitter – Hashtags are where the #community is at. By searching for tagged words that relate to your subject, you can track down individuals who might be interested in helping your campaign.
Think Ahead – Pre-schedule your posts throughout your campaign so you know you have the word going out especially when you are going through the middle of your campaign and having some of those “freak out” days where nobody pledges. Everything happens in the beginning and the end.
===Alexia Anastasio is an artist, actress and filmmaker. She was featured in HBO’s Bored to Death. She’s been an editor and producer on various film projects, and is currently working on a documentary on girls with natural red hair entitled, Ginger Girls. You can find the Kickstarter project for Ginger Girls here, and see her free webinar, Dreamfunding, all about the process of crowdfunding your projects.