How to start crowdfunding: a beginner’s guide to resources & advice

Need to raise money for your new arts or community project? Wondering whether you should start crowdfunding? Confused by all of the different options and advice available?

Here’s a quick-start beginner’s guide to some of the best crowdfunding tips, overviews, resources and advice available online to get you up and running with the new skills & knowledge you’ll need to run your own successful crowdfunding campaign.

Here’s how to get started….

#1: Understanding the basics of crowdfunding

Abby Gordon-Farleigh’s excellent overview of “How to Run a Crowdfunding Campaign” for STIR To Action gives a great overview to understanding the basics of crowdfunding.

Download & read the PDF available at: 


#2: Will crowdfunding work for your project?

Crowdfunding is a labour-intensive and time consuming activity, and isn’t suitable for every project. When crowdfunding works best it is a way to convert social capital (your ‘crowd’, people who are already engaged with what you do or through tapping in to existing communities of interest) into financial capital (ie cash!).

Ask yourself the 3 questions in this quick overview from Crowdfunder UK that might help clarify whether your project will be suitable for crowdfunding –

#3: Pick the right platform before you start crowdfunding

By now, you may have noticed that there are lots of different crowdfunding platforms and different types of campaigns you can run to raise money for your projects. Here’s a simple, one-page guide to help you choose the right crowdfunding platform & type of campaign to help you raise funds for your project:

#4: Doing your research & taking advice

Before you start crowdfunding yourself, take some time to read tips and advice published online by successful crowdfunding project creators. Read & make notes on ideas and tips that you can use for your own crowdfunding campaigns.

To save you time, I have created a quick reading list of some of the most useful crowdfunding tips, overviews, resources and advice I have found online (or written myself!):

  1. Bri Castellini’s overview post of the advice collected via interviews and posts on Stareable (an online community of web series creators) – The Best Crowdfunding Advice You Need To Read
  2. Nathan Hangen, co-founder of Ignitiondeck (a self-hosted crowdfunding and fundraising add-on for WordPress) shares some useful pointers  – 10 Secrets of Highly Successful Crowdfunding Campaigns 
  3. Useful advice for not-for-profits on setting up a crowdfunding campaign from The Funding Centre (Australia) –  How to set up a crowdfunding project
  4. Understand why a potential backer would choose to support your campaign – Top 7 Reasons I Would Back Your Crowdfunding Project
  5. Nick Kolenda’s in-depth tips for project creators to better understand the psychology of crowdfunding & what you can do to encourage backers to support your campaign – 19 Psychological Tactics for Successful Crowdfunding Campaigns
  6. Try using existing crowdfunding projects as a resource by analysing what makes them successful with the Crowdfunding Project Analysis Toolkit
  7. If you’d like your crowdfunding campaign to start with a bang, check out the advice from LOW PROFILE’s successful campaign tips –  Crowdfunding: How to fund in 48 hours

#5: What you need to do before you launch your crowdfunding campaign

Here’s a series of posts I have written that talk you through some of the key preparation you’ll need to do to be ready to start crowdfunding. Some of these steps in preparation can take a LONG time, so make sure you know what’s involved so that you can plan accordingly. Read & make notes on the different stages involved in preparing to crowdfund your project:

#6: Setting up your campaign page & going public

I have surveyed lots of the existing resources and checklists available online, and have brought the best of these together in these “Useful Resources” posts. Read & make notes to prepare your own personalised project checklist for your campaign.

#7: Running your campaign & attracting support for your project

Once you start crowdfunding and while your campaign is up and running, your crowdfunding team will really come into their own – especially your Online Communications person & Campaign Cheerleaders. For the low-down on what is required from the roles, check out this post:

During this time, you’ll also need to reach outside of your existing crowd, to reach other potential backers via word of mouth, social influencers, press coverage or other sources. Read & make notes on these useful resources to help you get to grips with what is involved:

#8: Delivering your rewards & staying in touch with your crowd

After your campaign finishes, the focus shifts towards delivering your project and delivering rewards to your backers. Remember that the main contact you’ll have with your backers around this time will be directly related to updating them about either of these things – eg when their rewards have been delivered, or behind-the-scenes pictures and details about your project’s progress. Read & make notes on these posts as a reminder of what you’ll need to do after your campaign.

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…

Rachel Dobbs is an artist and educator & one half of artist collaboration LOW PROFILE. Rachel works on a range of arts and education projects, has a long-term interest in creative approaches to community development and runs workshops, teaching & training sessions for a range of formal & informal groups including students, arts practitioners and communities – contact me for more details.

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