Generation Y has produced some amazing and creative ideas. Born of technology, a sense of community and concerns over recession and sustainability, the concept of the power of groups to aid and support each individual has taken permanent hold. Dubbed the Sharing Economy, this widespread and sometimes spontaneous practice offers new possibilities for creatives, and a chance for everyone participating to help change the world.
Although sharing can take many forms – from Couchsurfing to Zipcars – one of the most exciting possibilities for artists is crowdfunding. Present a wonderful idea, and a smart appeal on crowdfunding websites, and you may find that others are happy to invest in your success by bankrolling your project.
Individuals can make small or large donations towards your goal. In return, you may offer rewards – anything from your undying appreciation to a personal note, a t-shirt with your logo, a copy of a finished film, even a thank-you dinner or tickets to the event where your work is unveiled.
Want to get funded? Try these sites:
Probably the best known crowdfunding site, Kickstarter funds creative projects which have an end goal (not funding for your vacation, paying your bills, etc.) You may need less than $1,000 or more than $10,000, but regardless of the goal, you have a good chance at attracting a group of enthusiastic backers. Kickstarter requires that your project be fully funded before money changes hands.
Known as “the world’s leading international funding platform,” IndieGoGo allows participants to keep funds even if the project is only partially funded, so there is a safety net. IndieGoGo has partnered with MTV and VH1 for media exposure.
Proclaiming, “Launch, Fund and Fly!” the RocketHub site describes itself as a destination for emerging artists and entrepreneurs. They offer RocketHub badges for user profiles that recognize accomplishment and dedication. This site offers artists an option to keep partial funding or get perks by reaching their stated financial goal.
Regardless of the platform you choose, your participation in promoting and publicizing your goal is essential to getting crowdfunding to work for you. It’s up to the artist to present their project effectively and follow through. This may include pledge parties, meetups, posters, press releases and email updates to backers.
Creating your “pitch” in a compelling way is the first part of seeking funding for any project. Use videos to tell your story, focusing on why funders should back you. People will want to participate if they feel that their contribution will really make a positive difference, and if it reaches them emotionally.
Seek out media attention, not only through press releases, but getting interviews on blogs, publications and radio. Share your story and your needs through an email blast, being careful not to spam others. Make sure you have a “share” button on your emails.
Social media is a perfect vehicle for crowdfunding. Getting out the word and encouraging others to do the same is the very spirit of the Sharing Economy. Link to blog posts you have written about your project. Issue “calls to action” and request contributions. Include as many ways as you can think of to get your crowdfunding project page in front of the world.
Stay current. As you begin to get donations, update your page. Let people know how your project is developing. Success breeds success, so you may find that as the balance of money donated mounts up, it snowballs and you find that many more supporters sign on to contribute. Don’t give up. As the final days count down, projects often draws more attention than ever, becoming fully funded and ready for you to start creating your dream project.
Photograph by artist Hazel Berger.