If you’re thinking about using crowdfunding to fund your creative venture, your first thoughts are probably about how much money you will need to accomplish your goals and how you will be able to raise it. While I don’t have a secret trick that will guarantee success, I can tell you how to drastically increase your chance of success with one word – and that word is community.
Now before you write this off as some kind of feel good post, I promise you that while working in community is a beautiful thing, it is also a lot of work. Below I have 3 strategies that you can use to bring as many people to your campaign as possible.
Your Current Community -> Mobilize them first
Well in advance of launching you campaign you need to make sure that everyone in your immediate network (aka friends, family, & close business relationships) understand your project and your plan to raise money through crowdfunding. You should be constantly talking about what your project is and why it is important to you. If you don’t think this sounds like fun or something you will be comfortable with you will probably find crowdfunding difficult and exhausting. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to combat this. The first, and perhaps most difficult, is to practice, practice, practice until you do feel comfortable.
Grow Your Community
Before you start your crowdfunding campaign you want your network to be as large as possible and as connected to you as possible. The more people who actually care about your success the more likely you are to succeed.
Use social media platforms to engage in meaningful dialogue with people in your industry and target audience – I personally love Twitter for this, but whatever network you are the most comfortable on may be best for you.
That being said, you also have to get off the internet and connect with people in real life. If you have locally based internet friends, meet them for a coffee, go to networking events, that party you were invited to, or even just go hang out at a coffee shop by yourself. It doesn’t matter where you meet them, but you have to meet and connect with new people.
Don’t be a snob about it – just because someone is a plumber and you are directing an art house film doesn’t mean you should blow them off while you search for another ‘creative’ person to talk to. Aside from the basic level of all beings having value and insight, you have no idea what this person’s passions might be, maybe they are a weekly patron of art galleries and independent theatres, maybe they wanted to be an actor before deciding on a different career or maybe they are are old friends with a now high-profile producer who grew up around here. The fact is you never know what role someone can play in your life until you ask them.
Build your team
Your team is different from your community. Your community supports you, likes, shares, and donates to your campaign; your team helps you bring your campaign to life. Find 3 or 4 people who are willing to help you run your campaign – they could already be involved in your project in some way, or just internet and marketing savvy friends and family members. Crowdfunding is a full time job, the more dedicated help you have the lighter the load, the larger your reach, and the more likely you are to succeed.
Alternatively, you can work with a crowdfunding consultant or campaign manager. even crowdfunders with some previous experience can get myopic about a campaign and often miss avenues to advance the project. A Crowdfunding Consultant or Campaign Manager has experience and insight that will help you succeed when failure is not an option.