Map Your Crowd – essential crowdfunding preparation

Behind-the-scenes planning for LOW PROFILE’s upcoming crowdfunder – Who is part of your crowdfunding ‘crowd’? Who wants you (and your projects) to succeed?

Who Are Your Crowd?

One important step in preparing your crowdfunding campaign is mapping out your existing ‘crowd’ and building this further to ensure you are in touch with, or can reach, as many people as possible who are interested in backing your campaign. Taking time to understand and map your crowd will really pay off – helping you to raise the money you need to get your new project up and running.

In this short training video Kickstarter expert Richard Bliss (from Funding the Dream on Kickstarter podcast) offers a useful reminder of who your crowdfunding crowd are likely to be:

“A crowd is really all about you. A crowd starts with you.
It’s built on your reputation and interests.
Your personal crowd usually consists of family and friends.

Your personal crowd reaches into areas where you are not as well known, but your reputation extends to those areas. The more distant the group, the more your reputation begins to represent you rather than personal contact.

In order to build up a crowd big enough to support your particular project on Kickstarter, you need to have touched multiple people within multiple groups.“

How to Map Your Crowd

When starting to map our crowd for our recent LOW PROFILE project (to produce a brand new limited edition art print, and support our arts practice over the coming year), Hannah & I wanted to make sure that we get the message about our campaign out to the people who are most likely to be interested in what we are offering as rewards:

– a brand new limited edition art print made in collaboration with artist Sarah Smalldon, based on our work “Never Give Up” installed at Exeter Phoenix

– a selection of gems from our artists’ archive (including badges & publications)

We made the following headings:

Who wants LOW PROFILE to succeed?

Who wants to own a Never Give Up print?

Who are our potential project cheerleaders?

Setting your own questions like this should be the first step to help you map your crowd.

This was also a really useful exercise in working out whether our existing crowd (the people we know, the people who would possibly be interested in supporting our work & the people who know about what we do through our reputation as artists and as individuals) was big enough to fund our project. There is also a recent Kickstarter Lesson from Jamey Stegmaier on this topic –  Is Your Crowd Big Enough?

From this we also worked out:

  • where to pitch our initial funding goal & stretch goals
  • a list of people to contact at different points in the campaign
  • who we do / don’t already know in our potential crowd for this project
  • what actions we need to take to let our crowd know about our project
  • groups of people in our that we have less contact with (the pink notes below)
map your crowd - LOW PROFILE
Mapping our crowd – example from LOW PROFILE’s crowd mapping exercise

Do You Know Your Crowd & Does Your Crowd Know You?

“You first give to the crowd before asking for something back.

Building a crowd takes time and significant personal investment. People give money to people they know and trust.

Your goal, is over time, to extend your reputation as strong as possible to those places your target crowd is gathered, whether in person or online.”

Richard Bliss – Funding the Dream on Kickstarter podcast

Luckily, LOW PROFILE has been going for quite a long time (about 14 years) and Hannah & I are both involved in lots of different personal and professional projects. This means that we have had a lot of time to establish a reputation and grow a crowd of people who may be interested in supporting our work. However, many of those people don’t have a huge amount of disposable income and it is still difficult to get the message out to people who we don’t know so well, or aren’t in regular contact with.

When you map your crowd, you may find it useful to think about what kind of income your crowd has, and how much of this they would be willing to pledge to your campaign.

From this point, we needed to work out creative ways to get in touch with everyone in our crowd – through email, social media, via other organisations and through personal recommendations. It’s hard work, but we are a very determined pair. After all, we have read the Book of Survival cover-to-cover more than once, and we know that the answer to the crucial question “Should You Ever Give Up?” is Never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never give up…

If you are new to fundraising, or preparing for your own crowdfunding campaign, you might also find this series of videos useful when trying to map your crowd, especially this one that focusses on the idea of Identifying the Stakeholders for a project:

New to crowdfunding?
Check out my quick start guide to crowdfunding!!

Quick start crowdfunding beginners guide

Rachel Dobbs is an artist and educator & one half of artist collaboration LOW PROFILE.

Based in Plymouth (UK) she works on a range of arts and education projects. Rachel fosters long term interests in radical pedagogy, self directed learning, creative community development and DIY arts practice. She lectures at Plymouth University and Plymouth College of Arts at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, and is the Coordinator for Visual Arts Plymouth. Rachel also provides strategy consultancy for digital & blended learning and the use of Open Education Resources.

We’re excited to be working with Sarah Smalldon to produce the illustration for our crowdfunder art print… For a sneak preview of Sarah’s work, take a look at her Instagram

If you find these resources useful, let me know in the comments below, or on twitter @RachelDobbs1. All of the resources I produce are available to download for FREE, but if you’d like to contribute to my future projects, say thank you or just do something nice for a fellow creative practitioner, feel free to donate by clicking the button below…

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