We’re the creators of the web series Out of It. This is our new weekly column to share with you all the things we learnt along the way.
6. Lessons Learnt – Finding the Funds
The age-old problem – you have a project you want to make but not the funds to make it, so what can you do? This is the exact question we posed ourselves over a year ago when we started our series and unfortunately (spoiler) we still haven’t found a magic solution, but we do have some tips on what we learnt whilst crowdfunding for the rest of the series.
We decided it was important to us to make the full series, but we wanted to show people that we were serious about the project before asking for any donations to help. By self-funding the pilot we had the opportunity to show our audience where the series was going and how their money would be spent (with a better idea of budgets.)
The Social Network
We had a plan in mind to gain a following before we started our fundraising plan, whether that be on Facebook, Twitter, email, friends or anyone who watched the pilot. If you already have a network in place before you start your campaign you will already be able to reach more people than simply starting a campaign from scratch. You never know who will donate or share so reach out to as many people as you can and get your immediate circle to share your project with their own networks. Be aware that to keep up momentum you have to keeping reaching out, interacting with posts and have plenty of visual content – starting and maintaining a crowdfunding campaign is a lot of effort! In retrospect, we didn’t allow enough time to gain a following and our two-month long campaign on Indiegogo was longer than we needed and took a lot of work, but it really depends on the timings that work for you. The most important thing is to keep everyone updated on how the project is going and thank your contributors personally.
There are a number of platforms to choose if you want to start a crowdfunding campaign and many more coming into the market. We personally decided to choose between Indiegogo and Kickstarter as two we knew more about; they both have pros and cons. Kickstarter is well known and established but will only release funds if you reach your final target. Indiegogo has more flexibility and will release the funds you receive whether your reach your goal or not. The platform fee is quite high on both (at 5%) but there are additional fees that add up, for example payment processing and bank delivery fees. We ended up choosing Indiegogo because we didn’t think we would reach our target but we still wanted the option of making the series. To choose the right site, do the research to find out which platform works best for your project. Let us know in the comments below if you’ve found any other crowdfunding platforms to be useful.
Remember to put money aside for any perks you have offered to contributors during your campaign. Some of the perks we offered included being an extra, or digital downloads of the series, which we are hoping will be easier to fulfill. We didn’t have the time in the end to make a crowdfunding pitch but it’s something we would do if we have another opportunity.
When our campaign finally came to an end after a very long two months, we had not even come close to our target. Even if you do the work there’s no guarantee that you’ll make the money – but it’s not the end of the world. We sat down and made a second budget, asking ourselves; how can we make this work. Luckily we reached a positive conclusion and we will be making the rest of the series at the end of the year – but it’s up to you and your team to decide whether you want to continue the project and if you can make the rest with what you have.
We would love to hear any lessons you’ve learnt in trying to raise funds for your projects – what’s worked for you?