I’ve just been prepping for a forthcoming Crowdfunding For Artists workshop I’m running for MA students from Plymouth College of Art. As part of this I’ve been dipping into Jamey Stegmaier’s excellent Kickstarter Lessons blog again… Here’s something that builds on one of his posts, reworded with an arts / creative audience in mind…
Top 7 Reasons I Would Back Your Crowdfunding Project
Here’s a quick run-down of really important things your crowdfunding project needs to communicate to potential backers
#1: You need my money
– Tell your potential backers clearly why you need the funding you are trying to raise. Often, there’ll be a minimum print run, or a specific amount needed to hire a venue or pay people to do something – a kind of tipping point that needs to be reached (before which the project cannot happen at all). This makes your project different from simply pre-ordering an advertised reward and makes my money (and my contribution) more important. If you can convince me that without my hard-earned cash the project can’t happen, I am more likely to fund you. If you have met your initial funding target, what will you do with any extra money that is raised? Do you need that too? Will it go into making the product / event better? How will it do this?
#2: It’s going to benefit me or people I care about
– Tell your potential backers clearly how they and the people they care about will benefit from your project being successful. They might benefit through receiving great rewards, being able to attend an event that wouldn’t otherwise happen, read a book they couldn’t otherwise read, access something they couldn’t otherwise access or own something they couldn’t otherwise own. This may sound a little selfish on the face of it, but maybe reading my Stop Thinking Of Kickstarter As A Platform For Donations post might give a little more context.
#3: It’s going to be fun / rewarding to get behind the project
– Backers don’t necessarily want this from every project they support or fund, but it is worth considering. Out of all the crowdfunding projects out there, what are the things that will allow people to really get behind this one? Every so often, a project will capture people’s interest or imagination, they’ll get excited about it and they will want to talk about it who people who are just as excited as they are. What can you do to help this happen? How can you form a community around your project? How can you get the people who are excited about your project talking with each other? How can you encourage them to get others involved?
#4: There is limited availability
– Let your potential backers know that the rewards you are offering are limited in their availability (ie not necessarily available after the campaign). Even if the reward is not ‘exclusive’ to your campaign, as Jamey Stegmaier points out, even relatively mass-produced items are in finite supply – creators can’t produce infinite numbers of things. Make sure you communicate this by making sure backers know that “the only way to guarantee you’ll get one of those finite things is to pledge to it now, especially if it’s a special edition that may not be produced again.” If I know this is the only likely opportunity to get my hands on something I really like the look of, I am going to find it hard not to back the project.
#5: I pay a discounted price
– Make it clear to potential backers that your project offers a lower price for the product / reward / event than would usually be possible. At the very least, backers would save the shipping costs, or secure priority delivery to their door (as included in the reward’s pledge level). Delivering individual rewards directly may also save backers time that would otherwise be spent seeking out the product / reward / event. If rewards can also be gifted to other people, let your potential backers know this as you might save them the hassle of sorting out a loved one’s next birthday present.
#6: I get backstage or pre-retail access
– If backers will get it before it goes on general release, or will have some kind of ‘backstage’ or ‘behind-the-scenes’ access to your project, make this a selling point. Many people are really curious about the process that goes into making something new, organising an event or working on a creative project, so why not open this up to them? This kind of access also gives backers a sense of ‘getting in on the ground floor’ – knowing about something new before the general public and feeling good about their insight (or foresight) – and can carry an extra level of kudos for some.
#7: I believe in the Project / Creator
– At times, I am not that bothered by the rewards I might receive by backing a project, I just feel compelled to support it. This might be because I have enjoyed previous things the project creator has done / made, or it might be because I admire their contribution to a community of practice / field of study / subject / genre. It may also be because I would feel sad if the thing the project aims to do didn’t happen (a mix of: You need my money & It’s going to benefit me or people I care about). If this is the case, pledging on the project seems like a great way to show my support.
If you’re planning a campaign on Kickstarter, IndieGoGo or Crowdfunder for your arts or creative project, check out my short advice series 7 Things Artists Could Learn From Boardgame Kickstarters
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