Thousands of artists, designers, and publishers have turned to crowd sourcing to fund their projects. They post project proposals on platforms like Kickstarter and offer incentive packages to potential sponsors. These packages vary from a public thank you on a prominent Facebook page for a $5 contribution to invitations to movie premieres for much larger amounts.
These types of programs link creators and backers in order to make projects happen and they have brought tens of thousands creative projects to life. In doing so, they have revolutionized the way individuals and small operations develop and fund their programs. Instead of competing for grants or applying for loans through a limited number of sources, they cast a wider net and draw in many, many smaller donations in order to reach their goals. In the case of Kickstarter, more than 4.1 million people have pledged over $620 million to support innovative projects.
So why not yours?
As with many things, these professionals are no different from innovative teachers who want to raise money for school by sponsoring special projects, funding art programs, or building a computer lab for their students. In an era of shrinking budgets, crowd sourced fundraising can be a lifesaver. As another bonus, you get to keep creative control over your project and you maintain ownership for the life of the program. You pretty much set the terms. However, your project will need to be appealing enough to drive in the dollars.
To get started, you will need to set a funding goal and a deadline. Quick deadlines tend to work best as long campaigns may cause prospective donors to wait and then forget your project. You’ll also want to factor in time for submission. Kickstarter will need a few days to review your proposal before they release it to the world. You will want to visit their school, review the rules, carefully consider enticements for your sponsors, and develop lots of great visual content to catch everyone’s attention. Then there is money. Kickstarter is free but they will take 5% if your project is successfully funded.
In return, you’ll be posted online and broadcast to millions. But I would not stop there. You will also want to do a bit of legwork to make sure everyone in your network is aware of your campaign. Encourage them to help get the ball rolling by chipping in money so others know your project has some interest. (Note: Please do not donate to yourself. It’s against the rules.) If people like your idea, they can pledge money to make it happen. If, however, you don’t make the mark, you won’t get the funds. Partial funding that does not reach the goal is returned.
44% of Kickstarter’s projects have made the cut. So take time to carefully craft your proposal to make sure you are successful. You may also want to start out small and then grow into larger projects. It’s a skill just like any other and a useful (not to mention marketable) one to have at that.