A post by recently successful crafter, Sarah Bedford of Durham University, on what she learned about crowdfunding through her own campaign.
Our company, Rag and Bone Productions, did just that. This summer we are making our first appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe with a dark and innovative take on the classic Greek myth, Echo and Narcissus. With the festival starting in just a few weeks, this was our final push to raise money as much as possible to go towards set, costumes and lighting.
At first we relied upon social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, encouraging the cast and crew to post updates and statuses. This however, did not prove successful since we were stuck on only £15 up until three days before our deadline.
Our change of strategy involved composing a list of all our close friends and family; anyone who we thought would get excited to hear about the project we were involved in. From this list we sent emails, finding that if people had personally been asked, they would feel more of a duty to donate. Whilst keeping the number of people we emailed large so they didn’t feel too much pressure, we also spread it over a few emails to ensure it still felt personal to those who received it. We kept the email friendly, whilst also conveying a sense of urgency; the deadline was in three days and we stressed that if the target was not reached, no funds would be received.
In just 72 hours we went from £15 to £390; £90 over our target! A few days before the deadline we were prepared to accept we would not meet the target. Now we cannot believe we were going to give up so easily. We aren’t suggesting you leave it so last minute to send out personal pleas – if anything you can learn from the mistake we made of leaving it until only a few days before! However, simply posting it on Facebook will not work. We realise now anyone who clicked on the link and saw we weren’t doing well wouldn’t be encouraged to sponsor; seeing others have donated is attractive to potential pledgers. It was the personal touch of private messages that seemed to work for us and remember even when you are prepared to give up, keep on pushing the page everyday as much as you can!
What can you learn from Sarah’s experience?
1. It’s never too late!
2. Contacting friends and family first is a great way to get the ball rolling and make your project look more credible to other sponsors.
3. Social media is great for finding contacts, but you need to contact them directly and personally to get donations!
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