Edvinas Maciulevicius ran a Fund it project to raise money for his documentary film ‘Our Mental Health‘. He exceeded his target in the first week, and in this blog post, shares his insights into how he made it happen!
Edvinas and the team working on ‘Our Mental Health’
For our Fund it project we aimed to raise €1,500 to produce a documentary film on the mental health of young Irish people. We hit our goal within the first week and raised over €2,000 in total. Here’s a few things I learned from running a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Creating social media profiles for your project is a really effective way to build hype before the project even starts. To do this effectively, put out good content that’s relevant to your project, and bring value to people online. Use social media to build up an audience for your project and create a relationship with that audience before the campaign starts. You don’t want to be a stranger asking for a pledge when it goes live. You want your Funders to feel comfortable handing you money online and a reputable Facebook page can go a long way in helping them do so.
Continue the conversation when the project is up and running. I found that thanking people directly from your project’s social media page was a great way to reach a wider audience. Be sure to embed a link to your project every time you thank a Funder. This is a really effective way to reach friends of your pledgers’ who may not know about your project.
Put out weekly updates to keep the momentum going. Even after we had hit our goal, we informed our audience how the money that goes over the line would be put to increasing the production value of the film.
Don’t be fancy, be smart. Initially we tried to get cool rewards such as branded hoodies and wristbands but it was a waste of time. Not only was it expensive but it was also impractical and difficult to organise. I don’t think anyone really wanted materialistic rewards. Funders were more interested in saying “I took part” than in wearing an elastic bracelet.
Try to give back non-monetary value for your most popular reward – in fact for all rewards if possible! Analyse your project and figure out the different ways you can bring value to a Funder without it having to cost you a lot of time or money.
For the ‘Our Mental Health’ project we offered our Funders an invite to the film’s premier event, a digital copy of the film as well as a mention in the credits, all for a pledge of €20. This brought a lot of value to the Funder without it having to cost us a cent. Arranging a venue for the premier was quite easy and free – whereas the other potential rewards that we decided not to go with, would have taken a lot of time and effort to deliver. In our case the €20 reward proved to be the most popular.
If needed, bring in a third party organisation to help you provide an experience for your generous Funders. People who back your project with a large sum of money will have a genuine interest in you and your project, so why not invite them to a dinner and tell them all about who you are, what you do and where the idea for the project came from. With a bit of hustle, it could be possible to arrange for a restaurant to contribute towards or even donate a dinner in return for some publicity.
In a nutshell – find out what is special about the project that you’re doing, and what is the most cost effective way to give some of that “specialness” back to your Funders.
Edvinas sharing his pro-tips with Claire FitzGerald from the Fund it team, Project Creator Kevin Callaghan and Lia Boyland from Bank of Ireland at the Fund it Wednesday event in the Bank of Ireland Workbench Cork, 2017
Spikes in Pledges
The first and last week of the project received the most pledges. This seems to be the case for a lot of Fund it projects – it may be good to keep that in mind when planning your campaign strategy.
Be sure to “salt the tip jar”. Inform close friends and family about your project before it goes live and get some pledges from the get go. Projects tend to receive a lot of attention in their initial week. By having some money in the pot your project will look more appealing to someone who may know nothing about it. People are more willing to put money towards a project if there is money already there.
We received a lot of pledges in the last week of our campaign long after we had hit our €1,500 goal. It’s the perfect time to create a sense of urgency and get more Funders. Use social media to announce the project is coming close to an end. Induce a fear of missing out.
The biggest piece of advice that I’d give to anyone doing a crowdfunding campaign is to aim high! That’s the only thing that I would have done differently. We hit our goal within the first week, which not only slowed down our momentum in gaining more Funders but also killed off a little bit of our own motivation. Ego, time and effort all came into play when we set a “realistic” goal for ourselves. But looking back on it now it was more of a safety net. If we had stepped outside of our comfort zone and aimed to raise more, we would probably have a higher quality film today.