Remember that the platforms you use to crowdfund have fees associated with collection and access to the marketing tools they offer.  Kickstarter takes 5% of the money raised and Indiegogo takes 9% (but if you reach your goal by a specified time, they will rebate 5%). On top, there are 3rd party fees such as Amazon payments fee or Paypal fees to receive the money you raised. Then, there are your fulfillment costs associated with the perks you offered (DVD copies, tshirts, etc. & postage for these). Take these into consideration when you are figuring out how much you need to raise so you don’t run short.

TFC Tidbit of the Day 43 What makes people donate?

August 18, 2010
posted by sheric

You must think of fun, interactive and interesting ways of soliciting funds. My friends from Tilt the movie had a really fun way of engaging their donors. They created a map of the town where their film is set and “populated” the town with their backers, complete with fun, made up bios of each one. For $15, a donor could see what kind of creative backstory could be invented for their presence in the story of Tilt. All from the creative minds of the filmmakers.

Think of the target audience of your film, what drives them, what interests them, what can you give THEM for donating? You will find that your donations are easier to get when people feel great about helping.

Ask any filmmaker who has run a successful campaign and he will tell you it was a full time job to get those funds. It is a crusade to exert your goal continuously and strenuously, basically you are bothering and cajoling everyone you know to help get to the goal. You must be committed to doing that to be successful.

Statistically, the shorter the campaign deadline, the faster the funding comes. I know this sounds unlikely, but if you drag out the process beyond 90 days, interest seriously wanes even from those benefitting from the funds. It is just not possible to keep momentum going for a long length of time. Keep it tight and focused.

Remember, Kickstarter’s policy is all or nothing. If you don’t raise your goal amount in the time allotted, you get none of the money pledged. Indiegogo allows you to keep what you raise, but if you raise it in a specified amount of time, there is a rebate on their fees.

This week’s tidbits are from Sheri Candler and will cover her assessments about successful crowdfunding initiatives.

To some artists, crowdfunding looks like easy money. Make a pitch video, give a synopsis and a few perks and let the money roll in. That’s a mistake. To be successful in crowdfunding depends on having a solid foundation of followers, people interested in your work. If you don’t already have a presence on social networking platforms, a well read blog, and/or a large network of friends and supporters, build that first before starting to crowdfund. If you try to raise money before anyone knows you or cares about your project, you will fail to garner interest.

Crowdfunding Part II, IndieGoGo

March 29, 2010
posted by sheric

Project Arbiter Tank and soldier mockup

My article on IndieGoGo for Microfilmmaker Magazine dropped today, a little earlier than usual.

In this second part of a series on crowdfunding, I take a look at IndieGoGo. The platform went live a little over 2 years ago and has been gaining traction ever since. It originally started out as a fundraising tool for film, but has evolved to encompass all kinds of creative endeavors including books, videogame development and film festival organizations. Founder Slava Rubin cited the reason for creating IndieGoGo was to harness the power of fundraising on the internet by building a site that aggregated all the tools together. “We knew there was Paypal, social networking, and YouTube but nothing available infrastructure-wise to help someone raise the money in an efficient manner through the fans and the community. So we created IndieGoGo.”

“IndieGoGo was born in the film space, but we have expanded so we see it as a tool for creatives to use to raise up to $100K at a time. You get a personal page that showcases your project, communication tools, financial transaction metrics, a flexible perk infrastructure, social media tools so you don’t have to do this all on your own in a spreadsheet. There are a lot of good fundraising products out there and things are really heating up in the space. We saw what it did with the Obama campaign and social networking and people getting used to doing transactions with their credit cards online. We are the only online site that allows for fiscal sponsorship and crowdfunding all at the same time. You don’t get double taxation and it is all integrated into one place. We are completely international on both the contribution and the project set up side. We have a full analytics dashboard for all project owners so they can see who the top referrers are, see where all the money is coming from.”

Read the article in full…

Production still from scifi short film Similo

Production still from scifi short film Similo

My latest article for Microfilmmaker Magazine dropped today. Here is a little excerpt:

The latest buzzword sweeping the microbudget filmmaking, indeed all of indie filmmaking, is crowdfunding. Crowdfunding describes the process of aggregating small amounts of money from many people to help fund projects. This money comes in the form of donations, not investment, so it will not be repaid. However, most of the crowdfunding sites do offer the ability to provide a donor with a perk for his/her donation. Perks vary in range andW are dependent on the amount of donation made. There are many donation sites available to the microbudget filmmaker and I will be covering three of the most well known over the course of the next few months. The first is Kickstarter.

Kickstarter officially went live in April 2009. The platform is not exclusively for film endeavors. Many creative projects can be funded on the site; everything from comic books, video games, and unique apparel to theater and music events and help with expenses for educational trips. While my requests for an interview with the founders was declined, I did manage to find an interview on Lance Weiler’s brilliant site The Workbook Project with one of the founders, Yancey Strickler. Essentially the way Kickstarter works is that you set a funding goal and a deadline by which the goal must be reached. If you do not reach the goal by the date, all funding is cancelled. So, when you pledge a donation, you are not actually charged anything unless the goal is reached. “It might seem harsh that you can be a dollar short and not get any of the money, but people who raise funds normally would tell you that it serves as a nice motivator. It is a way to protect yourself really because it encourages you to raise your funds before you start a project rather than getting a little bit of money and starting a project, but not having the funds to finish it,” said Strickler.

Story continues on the Microfilmmaker Magazine site.