CROWDFUNDING - A FEW THINGS WE HAVE LEARNT...
Disappear Here exceeded the £1000 crowdfunding target needed to make the project happen- crowdfunding is an interesting experience - here are a few things we learnt...
We used IndieGoGo to run and manage the campaign. Overall, it's a good system - everything works as it should and the interface is really accessible for anyone who has used Facebook, Wordpress, or pretty much any other online wizard.
The key attraction with IndieGoGo is that it gives you the option to keep whatever pledges you receive, regardless of whether or not you reach your fundraising target. This is mighty appealing, because if you only wanted £1000, £500, or even £750 is still a substantial sum towards your goal, it shows confidence in your idea/project, and it might be that you were just unfortunate in hitting the full total.
For us, the option to keep what you raise makes IndieGoGo stand-out over other platforms, there's an ethical question over whether or not you should get anything from anyone if you don't meet your target - if you walked away with £120, some of the people might feel a bit screwed that the thing they put money into, in order to help make it happen, might still not happen...
When talking about crowdfunding, it's hard not to talk about fees. Ultimately, through using a neat and trusted online system to accept pledges of money in exchange for perks (and the great joys of investing in ideas or supporting the arts) you are using a service - and this costs.
On the other hand, you, the fund-raiser, most likely also the inventor/project leader - unless you happen to be part of a larger team - are doing most of the work. IndieGoGo offer a few cute resources and video guides - and tons of second, third-hand companies will come at you with amazing marketing offers to help make you project BIG - but you're just a temporary resident on their platform.
All that being said, the rates are reasonable, around 5% of the total raised - providing you hit your target - this rate actually increases to something like 7% for project that fall short of their goal - this is a strong incentive to get the rate as high as you can - otherwise you end up paying more from less. Part of this fee is a connected Paypal charge - another service gainfully employed- that also makes it very easy for people to pledge to your project!
TIP - calculate the chunk of fees that will need to be paid from your total target figure - should you reach it - the shortfall might trip you up down the line...
The important thing, once you have built your campaign on the website of your choice is to promote your cause. IndieGoGo provides the usual links to websites/YouTube/Facebook?Twitter et al - but you still need to generate "content" that elusive internet folly of filling-up an infinite system with digitised stuff, just to get noticed. The hardest part of the campaign was generating momentum, maintaining it and the on/off reaction of seeing the total raised jump upwards through very generous one-off pledges, days of £1s and £0s, and stretches where nothing was coming in but time was moving on regardless.
TIP - talk smart - no-one wants to hear you ramble, but a meaningful discussion (blog post etc.) or meaningful social media chat with the right people (organisations/artists/similar projects/relevant journalists) about what you're trying to acheive can make a real difference - and best of all, you don't feel an absolute heel for begging attention, as more often than not, the right connection is a genuine one.
We will write more about this soon, but for now, it suffices to say that one of the most fun aspects of crowdfunding is in offering people cool stuff in return for supporting you. The best aspect of this is that most perks are not equal to the value of the pledge given - this is nice - because both the pledger and th pledgee know the T-shirt you will reward them with doesn't cost £20 - it's just a way of indemnifying the faith they placed in you and your ideas - a respectful exchange - not a financial transaction.
TIP - consider the exact cost of each perk you offer before you add it! A badge costs X to produce en-masse, but you might not "sell" every single one, so the bulk-buy discount on purchasing the amount Y is diminished - also you will need to pay postage.
WHO GIVES A ££££?
Who/why/will/won't pledge to your campaign? It's important to consider the angles when fixing that target lodestar. Like bands just starting out, first novels or holiday snaps - the first people you will shout-out to will be your hardcore base: family, friends and people you know within your scene/locality/area of interest - this isn't lazy - these are the people who raised/love/loved/support/believe in you - don't feel bad for asking for their help - even if it's just a Share/Retweet - or eve a Pledge - people will give where they can and feel they should. They've had your back this far, what does it matter a couple of quid?
But that's the easy part - next-up - you need to convince outsiders, real people you might never have metto take a punt on you in exchange for a credit in a project that might never happen and for a mute reward of mercahandise - some people come-up with amazing perks - but ultimately, you have to make a strong enough case that what you're trying to do is interesting/important - however - don't underestimate these connections - Pledge people are your project core - the first and last people to thank - the bulk of a mailing list - and hopefull they will be there to share/promote what you achieve when everything kicks-off - and will be proud enough to say- "I funded that!" - don't let them down.
CREDITS - The Funders
Thanks again to everyone who has supported Disappear Here...(so far)