In 2015, I was part of a crowdfunding campaign to raise $2,500 for an independent pilot called Schema. Raising enough money to fully fund our “indie” pilot was challenging, but after just a few short weeks we had hit our mark. When the dust settled, I got to thinking about why our campaign was so successful. I mean, let’s get real. Asking the world to give us $2,500 was no small feat. But we were able to meet that goal, plus bring in some additional cash for a grand total of almost $3,500. Some might call it luck, but I would say we were successful because of these four key ingredients.
I have to say I’m always a bit surprised at the amount of filmmakers who use Kickstarter to fund their projects instead of Indiegogo. In their defense, I have never used Kickstarter. But when it comes to raising capital for a film, I think Indiegogo has the advantage because of one major difference: they let you keep what you raise. Donations on Kickstarter are referred to as “pledges” which simply means you won’t actually get a dime of money unless you reach your entire fundraising goal. This may seem attractive to artists who would prefer to only shoot if they have the capital, but I believe a solid film can be made on even a shoe string budget.
CRM Is Everything
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a term people in the business world hear all too often. Let’s look at a real world example of CRM to see how its principles can be applied to fundraising a film. Recently the food chain, Chick-fil-A, launched a mobile app to reward customers with points toward free food each time they make a purchase. That’s their way of communicating value and appreciation to their consumers–which is the cornerstone of any CRM strategy. With your Indiegogo campaign, you have to do the same thing. Offer your contributers some kind of incentive (no matter how small) for donating. The same morning that we hit our $2,500 mark, we made an impromptu video where we simply thanked those who helped us reach our goal. No fancy lighting, no special intro–just a few genuine seconds shot on an iPhone 5. And the best part was, it was 100% free.
Lay A Solid Foundation
Our Indiegogo campaign launched in early January 2015, but that was not the first time people heard about our project. On a fateful night in September of the previous year, we launched the Facebook page for our pilot. The funny thing is that we didn’t really have much besides an early stage logo– but that was enough. At that point our goal was to try and generate buzz around our project. That’s the same formula that big studios like Marvel use. Right now I bet you know the names of at least five of their movies planned to release over the next few years. By announcing your project early, you can build some hype around your film and get people excited.
Have A Killer Team
The process of raising money for a film can be scary–if you are alone. No matter what you do, you won’t succeed unless you have the right people in your pocket. For example, I consider myself to be pretty tech savvy, but there’s a lot I don’t know when it comes to things like editing video and graphic design. That is where my team stepped in to make sure our campaign looked professional. They also contributed in other ways like helping to share the campaign across social media. An Indiegogo campaign for a short film called Bloggers is a great example of what a solid team looks like. Originally asking for $7,950, the team of six actors has now raised over $10k. Just from glancing at their page, you can instantly see their bond and how working as a team can literally pay off.
Crowdfunding isn’t for the faint of heart. It can be tough, frustrating, and downright confusing. However, if you follow these tips you are guaranteed to raise more money and possibly surpass your goal. If you found this article helpful, subscribe!