Crowdfunding 101: The Basics
From California Technology Feestival Wiki
Facilitated by Kristine Maltrud
Before launching a crowdfunding campaign:
- What PROJECT are you raising money for? (a film, a piece of sculpture, album release, etc.)
- How are you raising money via other means?
- WHY are you choosing crowdfunding? (Don't say, "Because it's easy...")
- Are you prepared to fully commit yourself to a campaign (time, energy, enthusiasm, skills...)?
- Have you done your research on what platform fits you/your project best?
- Have you planned how long it will take for your project/campaign (planning, execution follow up)?
- Does your project have a clear goal that you can clearly and specifically define?
- Can you clearly state how the money will be spent?
- Have you carefully planned and budgeted the exact amount you need, including reward costs?
- Make it easy for people to donate: checks, PayPal, credit cards (use smartphone hardware like Square).
- Don't go it alone! Create a team of support, including technical support (e.g., an editor for written content, someone to shoot and edit a video, etc.).
- AND don't forget about emotional support when you're biting your nails or feel too tired to go on...
- Who is your audience of fans/funders and how do you plan to reach them (social media? Text? Email? Phone? Events?)?
- How many social media followers do you have and how engaged are they?
- Minor incentive/reward: people are not donating to receive a reward. The incentive to donate comes from a supportive/emotional/social place - the reward is secondary.
- Major incentive/reward: people mainly donate to get a reward, small or big
- Plan your rewards accordingly in terms of time and money (for example, if a reward is to receive a sketch related to your art show).
- Create campaign images that are compelling and professional, as they'll most likely be all over the campaign platform, social media, etc.
- Create a video that's no longer than 3 minutes - doesn't need to be professional, but needs to tell your story and appeal to potential donors.
- Use an e-newsletter service like MailChimp or Vertical Response (both are reasonable re: cost) to professionalize your email, guarantee delivery and deal with spam and unsubscribes.
- Email regularly, but not too often.
- Create a Facebook event for your project.
- Create a Facebook page for your organization or your creative business.
- Spread the word via your event, page, and personal pages of everyone on your team. (note: if you use personal pages, be VERY careful about other stuff that you post!).
- Create a # (hashtag) for your project/campaign.
- Tweet, follow, reply, mention - and KEEP IT UP!
- Keep it updated with new content and updates, including photos/videos about the process and your experiences (people love behind the scenes access!).
Word of Mouth
- Talk to everyone you can. Remind people and keep them updated throughout the campaign.
- Remember business that you frequent/know and think of incentives that would engage them.
- Create project/campaign business cards or postcards, and include a QR code that links to your crowdfunding campaign site.
- How is your project unique or special?
- What are you offering as incentives/rewards?
- Who are you/who is on your team?
- Create an update calendar and publishing matrix so your updates are well-timed and professionally delivered
- Create a tagline and/or logo for your project
- Have others retweet, share, email their friends, etc.
- Consider in-person events like parties, partnerships with businesses, etc.
- Most campaigns have a final boost of funding, so keep it up and don't lose heart! Final and intense pleas are a-ok!
- Excellent link describing different crowdfunding platforms/websites: www.squidoo.com/crowdfunding-websites
- A great ArtSpark blog post from a singer/songwriter who successfully raised money on Kickstarter: art-spark.org/2012/02/a-kickstarter-rollercoaster-ride/
- PC World article on preventing "Kickstarter nightmares": www.pcworld.com/article/2013400/6-kickstarter-nightmares-and-how-to-prevent-them.html
- Foundation Center webinar on fiscal sponsorship for artists (who aren't nonprofits): foundationcenter.org/getstarted/training/webinars/fiscalsponsorship_webinar.html
|Overall Look||Neat, crisp||Neat, but lots of projects listed on landing/home page|
|Incentive||High: ALL OR NOTHING||Medium/low: depends on campaign|
|Fees||5% + 3-5% for Amazon|| 4% fully funded
9% less funded
|Length of Campaign||1-60 days|| 1-60 days (full funding)
1-120 days (flexible funding)
|Payment|| Amazon payments (you're not charged until the campaign is
|All major credit cards and PayPal|
|Approval||Requires approval||No approval required (although projects are reviewed)|
|Type of Campaign|| Project oriented, focused on creativity - does not fund
|Flexible - does fund operating expenses|