Jan 4, 2014

For and Against Privately Run Crowdfunding Campaigns – Revisited

Last year I said “it’s a tough call to make as the positives and the negatives seem to be fairly balanced” – this year, having crowdfunded through this site privately, and having used a larger, established site, I feel differently.


Problems we ran into:

Despite making an amazing teaser trailer/promo video (see bottom of page), the number of people who saw it, in comparison to last year’s video, was less than half. The amount of people who saw the campaign page, and even spread the word about it, was double the amount we hit this time last year, so why did people visit the page and skip our biggest selling point? Well it seems that was mostly because of the other problem we hit…
We set our goal too high. £15,000 was always an ‘ideal world’ figure, as it would cover every aspect of the production, but we knew we could still make the film if we made only 5% of that – it would just mean no-one got paid, we would have to use the equipment we already had, and not be able to use anything as superior as we had hoped, and we would have to personally pay for DVD production costs, festival fees, and all the other minor expenses that eventually add to thousands. Obviously that puts a fair amount of unnecessary pressure on us, but the film will still get made. The issue with having the £15,000 target emphasised to the right of the campaign page, was that people would rarely see the small print beneath it which read ‘Flexible funding – all funds will be received’. Sites such as Kickstarter only give crowdfunders their funds if they reach 100% of the target. So people would visit the site, think ‘they’re not going to make that target’, and leave. Lesson learnt.

 Comparisons to last year

Exposure we expected to get by using a more established site was not noticeable at all. In fact, the figures show we reached more people personally than people who found the campaign through the IndieGoGo site (96% reached by us and people we know/backers who referred the page, 4% found it by mistake).
Local press shunned us (as usual) because the arts are undervalued in our area.
Lower target – using our own site we could’ve asked for less money (we lose 13% of our funds because we used a more ‘established site’).
Instant Payment – Paypal payments (40% roughly) were received immediately this year. Again, this does speed up pre-production. When using this site to crowdfund last year though, 100% of the funds were available instantly, because every contribution was transferred using Paypal. Something to consider.



In closing, if we do decide to crowdfund again, we’ll most likely be doing it through this site. For the time being though we’ll be applying for funding (the old fashioned way), through arts grants, investors, and working with small businesses. Maybe crowdfunding isn’t the way forward after all (more campaigns don’t succeed than those that do – it’s currently around 60/40).
We greatly appreciate all the support we continue to receive. The words of support received as we ran the campaign made it all worth while again. Thank you to everyone who contributed. Because of you ‘TIME AND PLACE’ begins shooting January 14th 2014.

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