Crowdfunding for the Arts or Charity: How to Stand Out in the Crowdfunding Community
We’ve all heard stories about the fundraising idea that goes viral, netting the lucky newbie thousands, or making a cause instantly famous, but let’s face it; successes like potato salad are the exception, not the norm. With less than 50% of causes reaching their targets on Crowdfunding sites, it’s important to choose your funding site wisely, plan your campaign carefully and take your supporters seriously.
Finding the Right Fundraising Site
If you want to raise money for an artistic venture or a charity, the following sites offer the best platform for your campaign. Before you decide on a site, take the time to think about the statement you want to make and the values that are important to your campaign. Visit plenty of sites and poke around in a variety of campaigns. The more insight you get the better, so pledge to a cause that grabs your attention – you’ll see how the process works and get an idea of how it feels to be a supporter.
The following sites are in the top ten worldwide:
Razoo: for “people who want to make generosity a part of everyday life”. Over 14,000 nonprofits have used this platform.
Causes: for people who want to change the world – categories vary from disaster relief to human rights.
Kickstarter: any organisation or individual can use this site to finance an event or project.
Indiegogo: an international crowdfunding site for creative ventures, charities and non-profit organizations.
Pozible.com: Australian based site geared toward creative projects and ideas, but also supports charitable campaigns.
When you are considering a crowdfunding platform, think about:
- Ease of use: is it easy to set up your page? Do you need specialist skills to make your page look amazing?
- Payment processing: what payment methods are available and how long will it take for donations to be deposited to your nominated account?
- Social Networking: is it easy to link your campaign to twitter, facebook, instagram and youtube?
- Visibility: choose a well-established site with a high volume of traffic.
- Payment: If you don’t hit your target do you still receive the money you raised? With some platforms if you don’t hit your target $ amount you don’t get any payment.
Planning Your Campaign
There’s no point putting an idea out there without support and planning. Ideally, your campaign will run for six to eight weeks. Any shorter and you may not have gained enough traction to attract supporters, any longer and people may lose interest. Follow these basic steps to give your campaign a head start:
- Identify and build a network before you launch. Approach community-based charities and companies that may be interested in supporting your project or cause. Utilise your own network too – make sure everyone you know tells everyone they know about your upcoming campaign.
- Consult a tax adviser before you receive your first donation.
- Test your idea before you launch – ask friends to read your script, watch your videos and rate your page layout.
- Make sure you’re easy to find – start building an online presence via social media, blogs etc. Get your project/cause into conversations and get people engaged.
- Create a page that fascinates and convinces – your story should be personal and appealing and include mages and videos. Make sure you explain how much money is needed and where it will be spent.
- Set a launch date and link it to a local event to create a buzz in the first few hours
- When you go live, link your page to your social media accounts, and make sure your local media is on board. Word of mouth and invitations via social media will help create traffic and show that your campaign is serious.
- Reward your supporters – rewards should be attractive and cost-effective. Keep rewards as personal as possible and always say thank-you, but remember an electronic pat on the back is not a reward. Supporters expect tangible rewards for their donations.
Start building that network and get your plans rolling: crowdfunding sites don’t offer guarantees, but they do present an opportunity to reach a larger audience than ever before. The rewards of an effective campaign will more than repay your efforts.