It seems everyone and their mother is doing a crowd-funding campaign these days; it’s almost inevitable you’ll have to put one together at some point. But where do you begin? What are the essential elements of a successful campaign? Here are some key points:
Video – should be professional and informative. More than one is preferable! You want both a sample of what you’ll be doing (a trailer for the product, essentially) and a personal statement. Be relatable, open and honest. Invest in a professional-looking video and a script with some personality. The statement aspect should take your project beyond the immediate and put it into a larger context. Who is this for? How will it make a difference?
Description – You want to give as much information as possible. Show that you’ve done your research and display a track record that shows you can succeed if given the money. Have a team together that display a variety of talents and necessary, related experience. Include budgets, biographies of involved persons, detailed information and plans, a schedule, etc. Visuals are especially helpful. You want to inundate the viewer with information while remaining clear and concise within each section.
Rewards – This is a tricky aspect, but you want to balance what you need with what the potential donor wants. Think about what might push someone up to the next bracket. Ask yourself what you would give money to receive and how much you would give. Be reasonable but savvy. What sort of reward can you put at $25 that might incentivize someone who would otherwise give $20 to give that extra $5? What’s something everyone’s going to want that you can put at a reasonable level? If you’re making a movie, at what level should someone get a digital copy and at what level a hard copy of the film?
Marketing – Work very hard to get exposure beyond your immediate group of family and friends. Be creative with your marketing strategies. Be confident about who your audience is and try to reach them where they’re most accessible. Utilize social media, post to relevant forums and make calls, leave postcards in relevant locations and be shameless. Presumably, if you’re doing this, it’s because you believe in the project wholeheartedly; it’s your baby. Go all out.
Remember that this is essentially a pitch packet, and you’re pitching to the public, which is, if anything, more difficult than pitching to investors. You’re asking people who aren’t looking to give away money to give you their money. You have to present yourself as you would to someone at the top of your field with a lot of money to give. Show yourself to be worthy and capable and don’t give up.