Many musicians and other creatives around me have been launching crowdfunding campaigns lately. Out of curiosity, I’ve been asking them about both their successes and the lessons they’ve learned along the way, and now bring them to you.
Mistake #1 – Not Planning Beforehand
Seldom does a serious crowdfunding campaign meet its fundraising goal without deliberate forethought and planning. Setting up a timeline of a month beforehand to get all your brainstorming and materials together will ease the stress, and help create a crowdfunding campaign that is part of the fan experience, not a spammy “musician tax” detracting from it.
Mistake #2 – Treating All Fans The Same
As you likely know, not all fans are equal. The active superfan who buys merch and brings their friends to your shows is appreciated a little more than the passive social media follower, and there is a special place in music heaven for the fan who pledges at the top tier of your crowdfunding campaign.
So when it comes time to ask fans to invest in you and your next project, doesn’t it make sense to treat them differently too? When I helped coordinate the crowdfunding campaign of a Top 10 Folk artist, we made a list of the top 50 people in her fanbase most likely to pledge larger donations – the VIP’s if you will, and reached out to them individually, before sending the announcement.*
Mistake #3 – Setting Fixed Funding
There are two types of funding available on most platforms – Fixed, all-or-nothing funding, and flexible, keep what you raise funding.
While with fixed funding, platforms take a small cut of the money raised, your backers will be refunded completely if you don’t raise the goal amount. This is a wise decision if your project requiring funding needs all the money (building a superior toaster, maybe?).
With music, however, compromises can be made if you don’t reach the goal amount – so flex funding is your safest bet.
Mistake #4 – Forgetting To Count The Platform Fees
Whichever crowdfunding setting you use, the platform will take a cut of the money you raise. Therefore, it’s important to take that into account when setting your fundraising goal.
If your chosen platform takes a 5% cut, and you need to raise $10,000, your goal should be set to $10,500.
Mistake #5 – Not Raising 1/3 in The First 24 Hours
It’s been statistically shown that the majority of successful crowdfunding campaigns raise 1/3 of the money in the first 24 hours – and unsuccessful ones do not. So in the first 24 hours, be sure to DM all your Facebook friends, send an announcement to your email lists, shout from the rooftops, and any other method you can think of to raise that money
Mistake #6 – Not Bringing Out A Halfway Surprise
Most crowdfunding campaigns are 30 days long. How do you keep your audience’s attention, interest, and donations coming the entire time? By bringing out a surprise perk halfway.
This surprise perk needs to be exciting and attention-grabbing to your fanbase, enough to make those who haven’t donated yet pull out their credit cards and those who already have donated again.
Crowdfunding is a new way of inviting your base to contribute financially to the creation of your work as part of the fan experience. Here’s to your successful campaigns!