The development of Assets for Artists over the last 5 years has coincided with the explosive growth of “crowdfunding” for artists. In our training sessions, we’ve introduced crowdfunding to many participants in the program, discussing its challenges and encouraging them to make use of web-based fundraising tools like Indiegogo and Kickstarter to tap into their own network of potential donors who stand ready to support their work. Of course, it’s one thing to talk about the wonders of crowdfunding, and another thing to actually do it.
Now we’ve taken our own medicine and have launched a campaign on Indiegogo for Assets for Artists. Please check it out (the video is a great intro to our work), and pitch in to support our exciting expansion.
We’re still in the early going, about 12 days in on a 60 day campaign, and we’ve raised about 40% of our goal. Not bad, but we could really use more help. If you think we’re onto something with this program, please show your support with a donation and receive a “perk” from one or more of our artists in return, plus a tax deduction. We’re happy to accept gifts of any size. And please help spread the word.
So have we learned anything new about crowdfunding so far? Here are a few initial thoughts (lots of other people have said these things, but they bear repeating):
- Take the amount of time and effort you expect to put into the campaign and triple it – that’s probably more realistic.
- Remember that your campaign may be the first time that many people hear about your work. Even if your campaign goal only represents a relatively small amount of money, and even if 90% of your money will come from close friends and family members who would give no matter how your campaign website and video look, you still want your campaign to represent you at your best. Don’t bother with a crowdfunding campaign unless you’re prepared to make a truly solid video and tell your story with a lot of passion.
- Social media is your friend, but social media is not a person. The goal of crowdfunding is to found a community of supporters that will come together and believe in an idea, a project, an invention that you put forth. It’s like raising a barn; you may not know everyone who shows up to the party but if you ask you’ll find out how they got there. Having several friends who are hooked into the social media pipeline helps your campaign get exposure it might never have otherwise. Know who those tech savvy friends are and directly ask them to use their personal platform to help you. Not only is it a sign of true friendship and support, but it helps nourish a spontaneous energy and shows emotional investment as well.
- Momentum is key. Have some very close friends or family members lined up ready to make contributions right when your campaign goes live (if possible, gather them in a room and make them do it. This is about crowds, after all.) You’ll sleep better. If you go live and then send an email blast and put it on Facebook and expect the money to start rolling in right away, your campaign may look pretty lonely for a few days, which is not a good feeling. The truth is, other people are not nearly as excited about your campaign as you are. Even people you know will give eventually may have to be nudged a few times (or several times) before they give, and you may need to ask them in a very personal way. It’s not a fault of theirs. It’s just life. The kids need to be fed. There’s something good on TV. There are bills to pay. They’ll deal with your campaign request another time, or maybe they’ll just forget. If you’re not willing to ask multiple times and in multiple ways, including personal appeals, your campaign may not get far.
So we’re asking again: please give to Assets for Artists. If you’ve seen our emails and Facebook and Twitter posts and still haven’t given, we understand. But hopefully this will be the time that you have a few moments to spare and can make a donation, large or small. We’d appreciate the help.