Crowdfunding 101: The Basics

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Facilitated by Kristine Maltrud

Crowdfunding Strategy

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.

Other Media

  • 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!

Other Resources

  • Excellent link describing different crowdfunding platforms/websites:
  • A great ArtSpark blog post from a singer/songwriter who successfully raised money on Kickstarter:
  • PC World article on preventing "Kickstarter nightmares":
  • Foundation Center webinar on fiscal sponsorship for artists (who aren't nonprofits):
Quick Comparison of Kickstarter and Indiegogo
Elements Kickstarter Indiegogo
Overall Look Neat, crisp Neat, but lots of projects listed on landing/home page
Name Recognition High Medium
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

successful/fully funded)

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

operating expenses

Flexible - does fund operating expenses