Personalization has proven to be a key element of many successful crowdfunding campaigns, especially for creative projects.
Article Contributed by John Trigonis
As a crowdfunding success story myself, having raised $6,300 on Indiegogo for my short film, and writing a book on the subject as it pertains to filmmakers, I was fortunate enough to discover first hand the sheer power of a crowd coming together in support of a project... simply because of the innovative and oftentimes personal techniques the campaigners were employing.
If I've learned one thing it's that, today, raising money for creative projects has become synonymous with fostering relationships between creatives and their audiences.
Then in April, President Obama signed into law the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act, and I can’t help but feel a slight sense of trepidation that crowdfunding, for these kinds of projects, will become less of a personal connection and more of a business transaction.
While the JOBS Act is undoubtedly a positive leap forward for small businesses, especially in light of the global economic crisis, it may be a step backwards where crowdfunding for creative projects is concerned.
There’s a reason visual artists, indie filmmakers, aspiring writers, and even inventors look at crowdfunding as a chief means by which to secure the funding they need –– it’s an alternative to the traditional modes of fundraising like writing grant proposals and seeking investors who put in not only the Benjamins, but their two cents as well. Maybe that’s one of the reasons Kickstarter, the kingpin of crowdfunding for creative projects, has said recently that it will not swap its rewards-based model of fundraising for an equity-based one?
Perhaps Kickstarter understands that crowdfunding is not necessarily the arena for investors as it is for the average member of the crowd.
With crowdfunding, project owners are not only raising the money they need to make their products, but also an awareness of that product. Many of the most successful campaigns for indie-films and music albums imbue their social marketing strategies with a personal touch. It can take the form of a pitch-video that sells not only the project, but also the person behind it, perks that nurture a connection between crowdfunder and contributor, and promotion –– a sincere “thank you” tweet or a well-worded status update on Facebook that elicits a response from the audience. This is one of the more important tips you'll ever hear about a crowdfunding campaign.
With the dawn of equity-based crowdfunding looming on the horizon, campaigners should remember to push the personal touch to ensure that their campaigns are not only about the money raised, but awareness gained.
Pushing the envelope with a heartfelt pitch or an interactive “choose-your-own-adventure”-style perk instead of settling for your film’s trailer or standardized rewards like a T-shirt or ROI is similar to the difference between gold and bronze –– No matter how much you polish the latter, it’ll never be as valuable or meaningful as the former.
How do you think the idea of a campaign having a personal touch will affect equity crowdfunding? Let us know in the comments below.