Crowdfunding success – Chorlton Art Market Mural

Alice de Ville raised £3,982 of a £2,500 goal (159%) for her Chorlton Art Market Mural project from 68 backers.

 Alice moved to Chorlton in 2006 and dreamed about doing something with the unused, neglected space in the precinct.  She never had time until she gave up work and went freelance after the birth of her daughter 2 years ago. Earlier this year, she ran a 3 week pop up shop in the precinct as a tester for the Art Market that she proposed to the precinct owners, which then lead on to the plans for the ‘beautification’ of the area.

The project is local to me (and I was a backer) so I was delighted when answered a few questions.

Q - What was your project?

Our crowdfunded project was based on the notion of regenerating a neglected part of a town centre with large scale murals and wooden benches.

Q- Why did you decide to crowdfund

I used crowdfunding after it was suggested to me in a meeting with Manchester City Council Regeneration Team.  It was not a concept I had heard much about prior to this, but the idea of it seemed to fit in well with the project.

Q- Why Kickstarter?

I chose Kickstarter because it seemed to be the main crowdfunding platform related solely to creative endeavours.

Q - How much planning did you do?

In all honesty, I did not do a huge amount of planning for the Kickstarter project.  I had spent months planning the concept of the whole project, but when it came down to setting up the Kickstarter project, I did it all in one evening.  I really only just did a bit of research of some of the other projects on the website to see how other people went about presenting their projects.  My initial project had to be tweaked 3 or 4 times before it was accepted so it took just over a week for it to be up and running.

Q - How much time did you spend during the campaign?

During the campaign I spent A LOT of time working on it!  I quickly realised that this was the only way to make things happen.  The main things I did were constantly tweeting about the project and sharing the link on many various local Facebook groups.  I was very vehemently against social networking before I started this project and only joined up to FB and twitter for this purpose so I had to learn everything pretty fast!  Once the project went live, then I began to get a lot more support with other people tweeting about the campaign and sharing the link on Facebook.  Some of the shops in Chorlton also let me put posters and flyers up. 

Regarding my opinions of social media now - I see it as a double-edged sword with equal positives as negatives.  Without it, I would not of connected with the majority of people who are now involved in the project. 

Have a look at the project on Facebook, the website, article in the Nubian Times, SoChorlton and Victor Chamberlain Blogs and Twitter.

Q - What else did you achieve apart from the money?

The best bit was every time a new pledge came in - that always felt very nice!  It also proved a relatively easy way to raise funds in a short space of time, with a lot of the advertising for it done from the comfort of home.  The downside was that I had to learn very quickly that on certain online groups, you can encounter a lot of uninformed negativity from bored stupid people who seem to like to naysay about anything people try to do.  I had to develop a thick skin overnight doing this.

Q - What were the best and worst bits about crowdfunding?

I believe that I achieved a lot of things from doing the crowdfunding, apart from raising the money.  Through the mire, I found a lot of people who have been extremely supportive of the whole thing and I have developed some good friendships with like-minded people.  I quickly realised that there were a lot of people who have also always wanted something to happen with the area so it has been the perfect opportunity to get all these people together to share ideas and plans. I have now set up a group which we have called Chorlton Revival. In the past few months I have learnt a lot about business and I have realised that my fear is that by the time my 2 year old is a teenager, there will be no independent shops left on any high street

Q - Can you give others two tips and one pitfall to avoid

My 2 tips are: 

  • I would advise planning how you are going to present and explain your project on the crowdfunding website.  I was never 100% happy with how my project came across so next time I use Crowdfunding, I will certainly spend longer on this rather than doing it in one night. 
  • I believe that projects with an accompanying video have a much higher success rate so this is something that I would do in the future (we did not have time to get a video done for this project).

A pitfall to avoid would be trying to do too much on your own because it can feel a bit overwhelming - try to get as many people as possible advertising the campaign so that it is not all down to one person.

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Crowdfunding Workshops Autumn 2013

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