Hoping To Eclipse Past Crowdfunding Failures With Hatchfund

Guest blogger Terri Lloyd shares an honest look at the difficulties with crowdfunding and potential solutions.

 

"Celestial Wheel" by Terri Lloyd

“Celestial Wheel” by Terri Lloyd

 

I’m in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign as I type this. You’ve probably read all sorts of stuff about the dos and don’ts of crowdfunding. I certainly have. And to be honest, I wasn’t going to return to crowdfunding, because I’ve failed miserably on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo. But here I am giving it another shot because I’m planning to exhibit at an art fair in 2018. And while I can afford the space at the fair or the printing and framing of my art, I don’t have the means to do both.

Years ago, when I ran a non-profit arts organization, we decided to try crowdfunding. My partners and I had a big vision for an arts festival. At the time, there were basically two choices, Kickstarter or Indiegogo. We started with Kickstarter and failed. And then we went to Indiegogo where we failed again.

I think we bit off more than we could chew. We had a big dream and a huge budget and zero experience as a collective that handled large projects. We were so caught up in our enthusiasm and dreams that we really didn’t have a plan or strategy, and that worked against us. We also didn’t have a large following and only a very small membership. If I recall correctly, we didn’t bother to explain exactly how we would be using the funds either. In our naiveté we assumed everyone else would be on the same page as us. They weren’t. Looking back, all I can say is “no wonder we failed.”

I’d like to think that I’ve learned from those mistakes. Earlier this year, my mentor insisted I find a way to get my recent series to the stARTup art fair in 2018. I’m essentially an unknown emerging artist without representation and this is a great way to put someone like myself in front of collectors, gallerists and dealers looking for new talent.

The question of how I plan to pay for all this is challenging, to say the least. I need between 12 and 15 thousand dollars to pull this off. Before I did something financially risky, like mortgage my house, I remembered Hatchfund. I have been receiving their emails for years and silently watching many artists achieve their goals. So, I figured, why not?

What I liked immediately about Hatchfund is that they are a fundraising platform specifically for the arts. I also appreciated that they have an education component and that they provide one-on-one support throughout the entire fundraising process. All of which contributes to their 75% success rate. Like Kickstarter, however, if I don’t make my fundraising goal, my project doesn’t get funded.

 

"Libra" by Terri Lloyd

“Libra” by Terri Lloyd

 

Another thing that impressed me is Hatchfund’s willingness to work with the artist at their pace. I tend to be a little slower and more methodical than most my peers. My video took about 6 weeks to produce. I could have just used my phone to shoot myself in a studio space talking about my project, but I don’t have an interesting workspace that I could exploit for video. Watching me work on the computer is actually kind of boring. So I had to think long and hard about how to share my process. My Hatchfund consultant was there to help me iron out the wrinkles.

We set the timing of my launch to coincide with the recent solar eclipse. It was a perfect serendipity since my body of work is based on the zodiac.

Before the hard launch though, I had a few other required tasks. One was sending out press releases —Hatchfund provides some good resources for this— and the other was to do a soft launch via my newsletter audience. The soft launch actually resulted in a couple of people donating, which was a great start.

But, there are some challenges I’ll need to overcome. My social media following is small in numbers. Again, Hatchfund educated me on the value of hashtags. I know, I know, but old Facebook habits die hard.

Knowing that the numbers aren’t in my favor, I decided to do give the campaign a little assist with some Facebook and Instagram promotion. I kept my budget to $50 total. The worst case scenario would be that I get more followers and no engagement, the best case is that I would get both engagement and new followers. As of this writing, I’m gathering new followers.

Don’t let me forget the perks. Here, I learned from Hatchfund that you really want to make sure that as much of the donation is as tax deductible as possible. And I didn’t want to offer too many perks, but I wanted to be certain that what I did offer was as personalized as possible. All the donors regardless of donation amount receive social media shout-outs that include their personal astrological sign. I use images from the series to make a graphic just for that donor. It’s a lot of extra work, but I think it’s worth it to add a personal touch and to keep engagement.

I don’t know what the outcome of this campaign will be, but I’m glad to have a partner like Hatchfund.

The campaign is live until October 9, 2017. You may visit it here.

 

About Hatchfund:

Hatchfund’s mission is to provide resources and support to the artists who advance culture and inspire brilliance. Projects on Hatchfund enjoy a 75% success rate. This crowdfunding service is free for artists with donors helping fund operations with small additional donations.

 

 

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