Crowdfunding. Think raising money by asking people to pledge to financially support your creative project or business start up. It’s a global industry and almost exclusively done online. Google crowdfunding and you will have a host of websites like Kickstarter or Crowdcube pop up. The rest is then up to you.
I knew nothing about Crowdfunding when I decided to write and illustrate my first children’s book. Ignorance can often be bliss so I did some brief research on successfully crowdfunded children’s books then decided that I would go with Kickstarter as my project platform as a result. It was literally as quick as that. Then the work really began.
I’m going to briefly share my campaign with you so you can have an idea of how it worked. Bear in mind I am UK based, have a good personal social media network (this is very important) and had a strong vision of what I wanted to do, and how I would do it, from the outset.
WHAT’S THE CATCH?
With Kickstarter the catch is you set the amount you wish to raise, and if you reach this then you get your funding. If you don’t then you don’t receive a penny.There is a 10% fee on the amount you wish to raise so build this into your project. You also set your timescale for the length of the project to run. When it’s over it’s over!
WHAT’S IN IT FOR SUPPORTERS?
People who pledge you money are referred to as backers. They are giving you money to make your project happen. With Kickstarter you don’t give anybody a share in your business or have any financial commitment to them. But, you are expected to offer ‘rewards’ to backers. This is how you incentivise people to back you over and above them loving your project and wanting to see it happen!
In my case as an author I offered different rewards depending on how much people pledged. This ranged from thank you’s in my book to signed copies and merchandise I created such as greetings cards.
WHAT’S THE COST?
It’s free to set up an account online with Kickstarter. However, all the most successful campaigns do have films to share their story, often photography and details of the project. This means you will need to invest time in preparing a business plan and must consider whether you feel that having a film is important.
For me a film was a great way to share my story in four minutes so I invested £7.99 in a phone mic, borrowed a tripod and used the free movie making software on my computer which I learnt to use. I filmed and edited my own movie which took around 80 hours! This might sound a lot but compared to £2,000 upwards to buy in this service I was happy to invest my time. My background is also photography and digital design so I had some creative skills. This really helped. To give it a professional edge I bought some music but there are lots of free music sites where you can download royalty free songs.