This post is part of a series ‘7 Things Artists Could Learn From Board Game Kickstarters‘ where I highlight some of the lessons artists and arts organisations could learn from the world of crowd-funded boardgames…
Focus on your timescale and actually delivering
Once you have established an exciting project that people might want to back, you’ll need to work out a realistic timescale and start to develop the material you will need for your campaign page. When you start to build this, it may come as a surprise how much work goes into setting up your project on your chosen crowdfunding platform.
Alongside important elements like the title and category (include descriptive keywords that will help people find your project), project video and a clear description (potential backers get to know you and your project), I would also advise spending time and prioritising space in your video and description sections to clearly show potential backers what they will get for their pledge.
Create reward samples
You’ll need to create a sample of some kind – this might be a prototype, a scale model or a computer generated image. Try to make this as close to the final product as possible. Some boardgame project do only this – creating a project video which is like an advert for the rewards offered. I’m not suggesting that you need to go that far, but again, it is worth considering the exchange between you and your backers again (see PART 2) – harnessing the desire to support the project not only because it is a good idea, but also because you’ll value the rewards.
Creating your sample rewards prior to the start of the project is also useful (essential) because it allows you to iron out some of the details about how to produce and deliver your rewards before you need to make hundreds of them! This is a good time to think about (and carefully cost out) the logistics involved in fulfilling your project rewards and other types of communication with your backers.
Think about your delivery date
Give a clear and realistic date for when you will deliver backer rewards. I would suggest that this date should not be so far into the future that people completely forget about it (less than 6 months) – it’s better to have sense of excitement running up to getting the reward (which will encourage people to engage with your project) rather than a feeling of something vague happening at some point in the future.
At this point you might also think about ‘staging’ your crowdfunding campaign – breaking down the production parts of your project into separate stages – and consider how you will fund each stage. This might mean that you have an initial R&D period (initial development of your idea and shaping your project), a pre-production period (where you set up your project page, prepare samples, work out rewards / reward levels and get feedback etc.), a main Kickstarter campaign stage (where you generate excitement around your project and attract backers), a production stage and a distribution stage.
R&D –> Pre-Production –> KS Campaign –> Production –> Distribution
The costs for the R&D and pre-production phases of a project can often be as expensive as the following project stages (especially if you need to make upfront payments to others who are working on your project). To help make this happen, you could consider running a smaller ‘pre’ campaign to raise funds for the R&D and pre-production stages of your project.
For example, you might use a more low-key IndieGoGo (options to have Keep it All or All or Nothing funding modes) page to gather initial backing and funds for to cover your pre-production stage (ie commissioning graphics / artwork / writing / sample creation) in the run up to a more high profile Kickstarter campaign which has a wider audience and reach. However, as you can imagine, this is going to add to your overall workload!! It may be possible to access some other kind of ‘seed’ funding for your pre-production period as you would be able to demonstrate the greater reach (and potential to raise a larger amount of money) that paying out for pre-production costs would allow and encourage and your initial seed funders might be attracted by the benefit from having their name / information associated with your high profile campaign.
Above all, work out carefully and precisely how you will ACTUALLY DELIVER your project, any associated rewards and distribution and be able to be open about this with your potential backers – they don’t need every last detail, but they do need to get a sense that your project is realistic and how it will happen.
PART 6: Use Kickstarter as a way to generate excitement about your arts practice, to launch something new, give a worldwide exposure to your work and find new audiences for your work >>
Are you an artist or arts organisation looking for some help in shaping a successful crowdfunding campaign? Get in touch to arrange an online Helpout! I also run workshops for students, arts practitioners and arts organisations in creative approaches to crowdfunding – contact me for more details.