Running a successful crowd-funding campaign, whether it be through KickStarter, IndieGogo, ChipIn, or another platform, is no easy feat. Over the past few of years, we’ve seen some excellent campaigns as well as some not-so-excellent ones, and we took note of what worked, what didn’t work, and what worked for some but not for others. Then we raised a little money for our own projects and about $300k for the projects of others. Not too shabby, right?

We freely offer advice via Twitter, ScriptMag, and PBS MediaShift, but if you’d like a more thorough consultation with us, let us know! We’ll also have an e-book full of information soon, so stay tuned.

Want to see us talk about crowdfunding in person? Come see us at the Great American Pitchfest in June. For 20% off any of your GAPF packages, use the code JJGAPF11 by June 1st!

Crowd-finding is a lot of work, yo.

Quick & Dirty Dos (with implicit don’ts)

  1. Plan your campaign in advance. Have ideas before you hit the ‘launch’ button, because once your fund raising campaign is in full swing, you’ll be in a whirlwind of promotion and appreciation with very little time to make significant adjustments or changes.  You want to gain momentum as you move ahead, not change directions mid-way through.
  2. Appreciate the people who help you. Thank people.  Encourage people to participate in any way they feel comfortable.  Remind them (and yourself) that there are many ways to contribute.  Spreading the word is just as powerful as contributing money, perhaps more so.  Don’t forget that.
  3. Keep your backers posted. Most crowd-funding sites offer the option to provide updates to backers and, thus, to potential backers.  Use this function.  Show that you care enough about the people who’ve helped you to keep them in the loop.  This not only keeps your backers happy (and more likely to try to get their friends to back you), but it also sends a reassuring message to potential backers.
  4. Use your campaign to demonstrate that you are talented and should be backed. If you are giving something immediate to your backers for their contribution – a poem or a video or, as in our case, a fake biography – make it a showcase of your talent, your sensibility, your brand.  No shoddiness allowed.
  5. Spread positivity. It’s contagious.
  6. Build a community around your project. More on this one later this week.

We’ve seen a number of these techniques employed in several campaigns.  As far as we’re concerned, you need all of these elements to succeed.  We’ve seen some demonstrably talented artists fail because they don’t engage with their audience, just as we’ve seen some incredibly enthusiastic go-getters turn people off of their campaigns through shoddy pre-sale product or a generally negative attitude.

You might have the best movie idea ever thunk up, but if you turn people off with your bad vibe, self-centered focus, or poor communication, you might not make it. At least not on someone else’s dime.

The bottom line is that you are going to have to cast a very wide net to raise funds through crowd-funding. Most people, especially in the current economy, are going to chip in between $25 and $50.  If you have a high goal, you’re going to need a lot of people at that level.  If you want your net to spread, you’re going to have to count on your initial backers (your family, friends, and people in your immediate social network) to spread the word.  In order for them to feel comfortable doing that, you have to give them many positive reasons to.  So help them out by making those reasons obvious from the get-go.

Want more?