Posted on Tuesday June 14th 2011

We’ve been watching THISISPOPBABY grow for several years now and seen them develop a large and loyal following online. When seeking potential projects to launch Fund it, we felt sure their followers would be keen to get involved with funding their productions. After chatting about another crowdfunding site we sat down with Phillip and Jenny to talk through our plans for Fund it and explain how it would work.

We talked about creating an account, writing an overview of a project they’d like to crowdfund, setting a target fundraising goal and coming up with a series of rewards to offer potential funders in return for pledging money to their project. They understood that if they didn’t reach their target before the end of the defined period, none of the pledges would be drawn down.  But, equally, if they exceeded their limit within the time frame, they could continue to fundraise knowing that they would receive at least 100% of their fundraising target.

They decided that ‘The Year of Magical Wanking’, (YOMW) which had had a brief outing a few months beforehand, would be the project to join our launch list. Philly explained that they “thought it would be less likely to receive Arts Council support, and the cost of remounting the show seemed like an achievable figure to crowd source. Neil Watkins is a popular and well regarded artist, and we knew that people would buy into his story.”

Magical Rewards

Developing unique rewards which will appeal to your funders can be a difficult task. We always say the more creative you can be with your rewards the better.

In THISISPOPBABY’s case, they wanted to give rewards that were “attractive but notional” explained Phillip. “We didn’t want the cost of issuing the rewards to reduce the impact of the pledge. We didn’t want to give tickets to the show. This was part logistic and part about valuing the play. Giving out tickets within a Festival context would usually mean we would have to buy the tickets which made no financial sense. On this occasion we wanted people to buy into the notion of Neil Watkins and THISISPOPBABY as artists. We wanted to engage them in the process, and in a way build the ticket buying audience as well.”

The rewards for YOMW eventually included everything from a magical hug from Neil Watkins to a special invitation to rehearsal room run through combined with two tickets to the production and tickets to an after show party. The rewards were set out at a variety of price points from €10 to €500, which meant that anyone could support it and get something pretty special and related to YOMW in return.

Magical Funders

“We weren’t sure which rewards would be popular” Phillip said. “We thought that maybe the invite to the rehearsal room would be attractive as it breaks down the wall between artist and audience. “ In the end, the €10 reward (a magical hug from Neil) was the most popular reward for YOMW. From the graph below, we can see that:

Over 35% of the 165 funders for YOMW selected the €10 reward.
The highest pledge made was €1,000 and the lowest was €5.
Almost 90% of YOMW funders gave them an amount between €5 and €100.
The average pledge was just under €40.

While the lower value rewards proved popular for YOMW, their campaign also highlighted the importance of providing ‘luxury’ rewards at higher levels which appeal to funders with higher spending capacity. 30% of the funds YOMW received were from funders who gave €150 or more.

Magical Campaign

Like all projects on Fund it, THISISPOPBABY’s campaign included a mixture of on and off-line activity. They primarily used direct email, their social media profiles and other media coverage to generate page-views and pledges to YOMW.  Phillip gave us a quick outline of their activity in each of these areas and we’ve plotted them on a time-scale in the graph beneath.

Email (c.2,000 subscribers) : For our launch email we included a competition for Electric Picnic tickets in this mail to increase the open rate (which it did). During the campaign, we each sent personal emails to friends and colleagues to tell them about the project, to ask for their support and to pass the info on.

Facebook (2,000+ fans) : We have more followers on facebook, and using Fund it statistics; we knew that more people clicked to the site via Facebook. We personalised our campaign here. We put up images and videos relating to the show, we ran competitions (including tickets to performances at the Abbey and Gate and a Rubberbandit t-shirt giveaway) and Neil Watkins wrote a note about his involvement with the project and Fund It.

Twitter (1,600+ followers) : We thanked as many people as we could by name on twitter as pledges came in. It was one way of crediting people immediately and it was a way of highlighting the fund it page without ramming it down people’s throats. Throughout the campaign we mentioned competitions and milestones on Twitter to our followers.

Other Media : We contacted the bloggers and journalists we knew personally, and took a punt by mailing the likes of (who published our video)

Magical Lessons

Phillip says that their “lessons happened along the way”. “Striking a balance between hounding people and saying nothing was important. People only click your link when you repeat it AGAIN and AGAIN. It can seem aggressive sometimes, but you notice it more than others. Don’t be afraid to contact people – they won’t know about your project until you do, and most people are at least interested in hearing about the concept of crowdfunding.”

In the long-term, Phillip believes their campaign on Fund It has the opportunity to lead to a much greater engagement with their audience. They received queries directly and through Fund it about their campaign and are helping some of their friends develop their crowdfunding campaigns for the future.

If you would like to see the YOMW, you can see it at the 2011 Absolut Fringe in September in Dublin. Or if you are lucky, they’ve also been confirmed for the Cork Midsummer Festival since their Fund it campaign. Get your tickets before they are gone!

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