Crowdfunding festivals - tips for a successful campaign

Arts, film or music festivals are crowdfunding 

They should be easier than most ventures to fund as they generally have a team developing the festival backed by performers, artists, back room staff, business and the community - who all should want the festival to happen.

Made in China a Dublin film festival  raised €1315 of €1123 target with 24 backers.

An interesting take on a festival was DocFest for a film festival in Sheffield. 5 films pitch for the full amount raised. The 2011 campaign chose the US site IndieGoGo and raised $3954 of a $3200 goal. They had 88 backers.

Not all are succesful. Take the Asabaako Music Festival raised only £970 (11 backers) of a target £5500.  Was this because the festival was in Ghana so few European donors could attend?

The Accidental Festival is a student led educational project bringing emerging and established artists the opportunity to showcase their work for free at The Roundhouse

 It was a strong project with a track record benefiting many artists. There should be plenty of people who want to see this happen

Strengths of the campaign (pre-launch)

  • there is a strong team behind the festival 
  • crowdfunding is only one aspect of their fundraising 
  • the campaign was planned in advance
  • marketing was taken seriously with a team working on social media who planned a webpage, press, a blog, smart phone/android apps and viral and guerilla marketing
  • the rewards are well structured and relevant
  • the video is well produced, informative and fun - the team comes across as likeable and attractive

As Andrea says “I think we have a good strategy put in place to keep connected to our supporters and update them/thank them for their support”.

What’s happened now - with tips to improve

On the campaign landing page they won the WeDidThis hit of the month (and were awarded £100) - there are some updates but not enough posts - there should be photos and stories.

They are posting 4-10 twitter posts a day and have 617 followers. Some tweets are links to other projects - not all tweets ask for support or refer to the campaign. How many followers are retweeting - are the team asking for this? There should be a core group of supporters who regularly retweet. There is an underused #accidentalfestival.

They have 466 likes on their Facebook Page but not many posts by these friends. The page should be actively managed. Make it personal. There should be updates from all team members, photos of the team and from past festivals.

The website is good - but no fundraising events are posted. And where are the photos of this likeable team.

The AF can make good videos - so there should be more on YouTube and Vimeo. If you have the good fortune to be photogenic - then use this!

People sell campaigns

The Employable featured the campaign which was tweeted 13 times, 5 Facebook likes, posted to LinkedIn 7 times. The article featured one other campaign who posted a response to the article The AF didn’t though.

A quick search showed no other mentions, blog posts by friends or endorsements by artists. The pre-launch research should have identified where they could write guest posts and ask for reviews. Write blogs in advance and tweak during the campaign. See this excellent article from the Black and Blue on how to get bloggers to support your campaign.

See my blog post on who should collaborate with your crowdfunding campaign. The Central School of DramaTheatre Bristol and Ideas Tap publicise the application process to be part of the Festival - but there is no link to the AF campaign. Even The Roundhouse which will host Festival does not mention it and the Festival will be held there. This should have been set up in advance.

What happened to all the other marketing ideas? These should have been in place before the launch.

So the main tips

  • crowdfunding is about people and stories - so make it personal
  • don’t forget to keep asking - and not just for money - posts, retweets etc are important too
  • make sure everyone who will benefit from the project’s success is fully involved in the campaign
  • get the project on all relevant sites/blogs before the launch
  • write your blog posts and make videos in advance - then tweak during the campaign

Join me on an introduction to crowdfunding workshop

Middlesbrough 14 June  10.00 15.30

Workshop in partnership with Funding Information North East and Middlesbrough Voluntary Development Agency

Central Middlesbrough venue

Rochdale 26 June 09.30-13.00

Workshop in partnership with CVS Rochdale

Venue: CVS Rochdale, Partnership House, Sparrow Hill, Rochdale OL16 1QT

Crewe 3 July  10.00 - 15.30

Workshop in partnership with CVS Cheshire East

Venue:The Exercise Studio, Belong, Brookhouse Drive, Crewe

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One Response to “Crowdfunding festivals - tips for a successful campaign”
  1. Thank you Anne for this fantastic article!

    It is truly hard work to run a crowdfunding campaign! It is so important to take all the points into consideration and launch your campaign only when you are ready to do so. A lot of pre-launch preparation can save you many headaches and running around during the actual campaign!

    All that we can say is that crowdfunding is being a great experience for us. As you know, we are studying at Central, so we enjoy the challenges we face everyday as this is the time were we can make all those little mistakes.

    We definitely aim to implement all the little tips you give in your post, we really want to make this happen! Today we have started a new offer, so the next 20 supporters will get an invite to our programme exclusive launch party which will be happening in Camden on March 15! So if you want to join us visit:

    Finally, if you are a new reader of Anne’s blog, we would recommend you to take a comfy sit because if you are a fan of crowdfunding, you will love the information you will find here!

    It definitely is helping us a lot!

    Much love,

    The 2012 Accidental Team

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