You have the idea, you have the talent, you have the commitment – but you don’t have the money. A familiar cry in the creative industries. Everyone needs financial support to get projects off the ground, whether they be short films, small craft products, art works or the written word. How do you get started when there’s not enough cash to get published, put on your exhibition, hire a production team or distribute your wares?
Power to the people – using crowdfunding
Maybe one big sponsor is not the answer . Perhaps more could be raised for your project by encouraging small amounts from a large number of individual sponsors – if it all adds up you could make your target in no time. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about crowdfunding, a phenomena which has grown by over 300% in the last two years. Crowdcube, the UK’s first investment crowdfunding site, has raised over £230 million for over 500 business’ since its inception.
There are a variety of platforms to research potential sources of crowdfunding – although there are a plethora of smaller ones which may serve your particular purpose more objectively. You need to research the most appropriate one for you. The main platforms have increased vastly in terms of participation over the last few years and many sponsors of the creative industries prefer this approach as they are able to support several projects simultaneously
The key is to plan your project a good while in advance. Think about how much you will need to complete your project effectively and remember to count in your percentage costs as these will be taken directly from the total raised.
Before you set up the page, think about supporters you could approach in advance, suggesting they may wish to fund you; friends and family, for example, may not have the whole amount to give you, but collectively the small amounts they can afford will add up. Use Facebook and Linked In where possible to flag up the fact that you are looking for funding for a great project with links to how to participate. The main reason for projects not reaching their target is due to a lake of awareness by prospective sponsors – so marketing your idea is key.
Thinking about rewards
The next step is to consider those people who are likely to sponsor and think about how you could make it a valuable experience for them. If you are planning an exhibition of your work and wish to raise money for a venue, refreshments and maybe a printed catalogue, consider offering free admission to the event for your sponsors. The breakdown of rewards needs to be relative to the amount given, as in the following example:
- £5 will ensure sponsors get a name check on your website or in your catalogue
- £10 will ensure a name check and free entry into the event
- £20 will reward a sponsor with a name check, free entry into the event and a 20% discount on any of your work they purchase.
There are many variations on the above – if you are planning to produce a short film, you could name check on the film and maybe offer free admission to a showing, or a wine reception for larger amounts…..
Presenting your case
Your page needs to be effective in encouraging sponsorship – even friends and family will think twice if the event or film, or art work is not to their taste, so this must be taken into account. Presenting a short film of your project plan on the platform will help and some short examples of previous work would support your case as well. Remember that people will only support creative projects if they see the relevance and like the product! You need to have a viable objective.
Plan your attack!
1. Prepare by writing your project description – what do you want to do and why?
2. Explain how much funding you need and what that funding will be used for
3. Add a short video and links to previous work
4. Ask for readers to pledge an amount towards the total project sum
Different platforms operate differently. In some cases you have to reach the target you have set before you are allocated the funding; in which case the sponsors are notified and their pledge is cancelled. If you are allocated the funding, the project must take place within the timeframe set and the rewards offered must be actioned. If this does not happen then sponsors will be refunded and your reputation tarnished – so you must be responsible in your approach and reasonable in your plans in terms of time and costs.
Check out some of the funded projects on the platforms, including for example Crowdfunder , Kickstarter and Just Giving and consider how you could utilise these resource to support your own creative idea!