Need Money for Art? Kick Your Funding Into High Gear

By Carolyn Edlund

Do you have a creative project in mind and need money to fund it? Use “crowdfunding” to invite others to become a vital part of your project by backing you financially to achieve your goal.

Whether you need $500 or $500,000, this can be a super-effective technique to raise capital. Websites such as www.Kickstarter.com, www.IndieGoGo.com and www.peerbackers.com in the U.S. and www.sponsume.com in the UK,  offer you an opportunity to present your ideas and find seed money to make them happen.

Courtesy Terri Lloyd

Artist Terri Lloyd has worked on a project called B*tch Fest which appeared on Kickstarter, and has raised money for other events there as well.

Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing platform, in which you have to raise the entire amount of your goal or you get no funding. Once a project is funded, the creator must be accountable for the use of the money raised. Five percent of the money raised goes to Kickstarter.

Terri shared some thoughts on how to present a Kickstarter project and publicize it for maximum impact and results.

–         Create a Compelling Page. Carefully plan a headline which communicates clearly and makes an impact. Use bullet points and concise meaningful sentences to make it easy to read and understand.  A short video can also be very effective.

–         Tell Your Story. To inspire giving, an emotional connection is key, and stories are a powerful way to do this.  Let people know who you are and why your project matters. Make sure your personality shines through.

–         Communicate how they can make a difference. People will want to participate if they feel that their contribution will count, and if it resonates with them personally. A prospective backer might think, “What’s in it for me?” Will the backers feel warm and fuzzy about doing a good deed, have a great laugh, help save the earth or make the world a better place? Let people know and update your project page often with content that shares this.

–         Be Credible. Address how you can complete your project by sharing your accomplishments and experience. Let your prospective financial partners know you are capable of creating a truly wonderful and meaningful project.

–         Interact with the backers of your project. Consider the rewards you will offer those who pledge financial support. A DVD of your project, a piece of art, the opportunity to participate in your project somehow?

Then – start publicizing. Terri advises to “be audacious” and spread your story and your goals to everyone you know. It’s not enough to list your project on a crowdfunding site and then sit back and wait. You have to do a lot of legwork and PR. This can include:

 

  1. Approaching the media. Don’t just send press releases – try to get interviews. What about your project is fascinating and would make a great article? Or write one yourself about your project, and submit it to publications and blogs with readers who are part of your core audience
  2. Sending emails to your list. Email blasts to your customers, contacts, friends and other interested people will help get the word out. Ask them to pass on your information to anyone who could become a supporter. Make sure you have a “share” button on your email.
  3. Using social media. Your project can have a Facebook page, but use your personal page as well to get the word out. LinkedIn, Twitter, Stumbleupon, and other sites are important resources for publicity. Use them on a regular basis to promote your project.
  4. Blogging on your own website. Use this platform to write posts about your project, and draw your reader in. Make sure you use a “call to action”, which is a request for them to click a link to your Kickstarter page and contribute.
  5. Personal networking. This is a key method to raise funds. Choose events where you will connect with your target audience. Be well prepared to present your case. Follow up with phone calls, emails, personal letters and thank you notes to those who pledge. Ask for referrals, and for introductions to those in your community who have the ability to back you financially.
  6. Updating your Kickstarter page. Keep backers and prospective backers informed on how you are progressing. Stay front and center to create more buzz.
  7. Breaking the ice. When you get a few contributions to start, it encourages others to back you as well. People like to see a successful campaign. Ask your core supporters to make their pledge early, and get some bucks on the board.

 

Terri notes that Kickstarter campaigns, like ebay auctions, can pick up speed toward the end of the time period allotted. Don’t give up your push for funding by thinking that you are falling too short of your goal. Regardless of the outcome, you will gain experience to draw from for planning future project funding.

 

Comments

  1. Thanks Carolyn for allowing me to share my insights with the Artsy Shark group! And thank you for your ideas as well. Invaluable stuff!

    : )

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