With Chelsea Wilson
Miss. Wilson returns to the topic of crowdfunding, highlighting the importance of being money savvy, organised and communicative. She also explains the fundamental necessity of, wait for it, *cringe*, networking.
Take into account postage costs, fees and manufacturing costs in your budget.
Kick starter, Pozible etc all have fees for hosting your campaign. Make sure you take those fees into account. For example if you need $15k for your project but pozible will take 5% plus other fees (including bank fees) for hosting the project, your bankable amount will only be 14k. Postage is also a consideration; make sure you add up how much postage is going to cost in advance. If you need 10k for your project but postage will cost you $1200, you should set your target higher to take those costs into account.
Also consider international postage — for my album campaign there were a few international pledges for vinyl records, which was great. However the post amount cost more than what the pledger paid for the record so essentially I gave these copies away! (doh!). Consider manufacturing costs too.
T-shirts/tea towels etc are great, but if you need $10k for your album and have committed to spending 1k on t-shirt production, how are you going to pay for your project?
Communicate with your supporters.
Keep in touch with your audience and keep them updated as you go on with the project. Your early adopting supporters can help you spread the word and may even update their pledge and put more money in towards the end of the project to get you over the line. Thank them profusely for their commitment! It’s pretty special! A lot of people don’t buy albums these days, so pre-ordering an independent album is a pretty big deal I think. Treat the campaign as stage one of your project marketing plan and think creatively about copy, interesting images, videos and other content to get people to click on your Facebook posts and engage with the project rather than scroll past. Create a plan of what content you can put up and roll it out progressively. Share behind the scenes images, teaser clips, funny video messages etc. It all helps create awareness of your project and gets the promo ball rolling.
Make a schedule and stick to it.
Think carefully about how long it’s going to take to deliver this campaign and if you are in a band try where possible to split up tasks among the group. Creating a campaign video, writing the copy for the project page and promotion all takes time. Simply posting and packing might take 1-2 days depending on how many rewards you will post. Can you ask outside friends/family/fans to help? These campaigns do take work. You can’t just set it up, post once on Facebook and watch the money roll in. Ask yourself, do I really have the time for this? Pencil in dates to work on this and stick to it.
Use your networks and fight the good fight against algorithms.
It does feel hard asking for money (see part one) but if you want your campaign to succeed you have to bite the bullet and push the campaign every way possible. Put fliers up at your work. Send personal emails to everyone you know. Send texts. Make phone calls. Once you get to 50% try and get community radio or local media on-board to support your project. Don’t rely on one social media platform only. Be mindful of Facebook algorithms – not every one of your Facebook friends will even see your posts. After three weeks of promoting my album campaign with daily Facebook posts I still had friends saying they hadn’t seen anything in their feed. It will feel like you are badgering people on Facebook at times but honestly you aren’t. Some people might see your posts more than others but not every friend will see it every day. Be true to your message and focus on the end goal and just keep posting. Just do it. Pledges do slow down at the half-way point. Have a plan for what you will do during these slow times.
Ask your account contact for advice.
The staff at pozible, kick-starter etc WANT you to succeed. They are a passionate bunch of people invested in the arts and independent projects, (and they take a cut for their services) so use their knowledge and advice where possible. You should be able to drop in and chat, call them up or email them for advice. If their site crashes for a few hours or so ask them for an extension. I have found the guys at pozible brilliant to work with and very supportive.
• Buy your post boxes in bulk in advance. I use Kebet in Heidelberg for the vinyl boxes; they are great. I purchased jiffy Padded P1 recyclable envelopes for the CDs (you can order these online through a few office supply retailers). It works out much cheaper than buying at the post office.
• Make it easy for people to support you. Get some Facebook banners and profile shaped posters and fliers made that you can email out and people can upload them and show their support. I had some fans make their own banners for Facebook which was lovely of them but not my exact design aesthetic. If you like everything to be a certain style make some banners for them so they can use the ‘official’ pictures.
• Have a back-up plan. If you don’t get the funds how are you going to finish your project? Fundraiser gig?
• Set a realistic target! Check out similar campaigns genre wise to you and bands at the same fan base level as you. How many supporters did they get?
Chelsea is available for questions at email@example.com