AnnMarie O’Grady is a singer-songwriter, author, designer, and teacher, who has run multiple successful projects on the Fund it platform. Having published books with O’Brien Press (Everything Irish, 1998 ), AnnMarie has also worked with a range of corporate clients such as AIB, Bank of Ireland, and Diageo to create books and marketing products. Adding to her already accomplished repertoire, AnnMarie has also launched a range of albums and opened shows for the legendary Christy Moore, Paul Brady, and Frances Black.
As COVID-19 became the focus of many people’s lives, AnnMarie decided to embark on a mission of developing a series of books, beautifully illustrated by Stella Kearns. Her ‘What is Joy’ campaign launched in December 2020 for Christmas and ended up being 194% funded, followed closely by the ‘What is Love’ campaign which launched before Valentine’s Day in February 2021 and was 124% funded.
What was the most important element of your campaign plan?
Be very proactive, seek advice, and don’t be afraid to ask for help! The age-old expression, “you don’t ask, you don’t get,” is true. If you surround yourself with good and uplifting people, I believe they will keep you strong on low days, when you’re feeling out of your depth or overwhelmed.
Try to take at least one action per day during the campaign to reach your goal. My project was illustrated by the extremely talented Stella Kearns from Little Star. Being the magician with a pencil that she is, I made sure to promote her throughout the campaign as well. You should strive to be as inclusive as you can to the team you are working with.
If you are passionate about your project, you will achieve your goal. Also, make sure you prepare a good video for your campaign and if you’re able, utilise someone with the right skills for help with this aspect.
What worked during the campaign / what didn’t work?
Timing and preparation are everything! Launching ‘What is Joy’ for Christmas was a strategic move as it made for a great holiday gift, so much so that we almost doubled our goal. Our campaign, ‘What is Love,’ was a little slower going as we launched in January. Reaching out to possible pledgers I knew personally, who believed in the project, worked best rather than sweeping too wide or blindly across social media. Wide impersonal messages just didn’t work for me, but you should think about the best way forward for you and your campaign. Social media might be a better channel for you.
Take time out of each day to connect and share so pledgers can follow along with your journey and see what you are creating.
What surprised you most about the process?
The amazing thing about this process is the support that comes in such unexpected ways. It’s so very important to share your gratitude with those that support you. Also, do your best not to judge those that aren’t able to support your campaign. Let it go and move on to achieve your mission with positivity.
What is your TOP tip for creators thinking of launching a crowdfunding campaign?
My top tip is to load up on positive energy every day and I do mean every, single, day. Ask someone to support you through the campaign. Anticipate that you may have moments where you feel a bit down with campaigning and do something to silence that voice. “My creative project is worth supporting,” should be your new mantra.
What impact did Fund it have on your project / creative journey?
Fundraising with the Fund it platform was such a positive experience! It was so empowering and amazing to be able to share a vision in the making and get help to bring it to fruition. You are sharing that journey with the world and that is exciting. If you are upbeat about your project, your funders will be too, in return. For myself, this experience has opened up a huge network of people to share my books with, giving me the ability to share positivity and creativity with each of them. People are out there holding these books and my vision has now become a reality.
What’s next for your project / creative journey in the midst of Covid-19?
We’re all experiencing a very difficult time during this pandemic, so my mission has evolved to create a wave of positivity while being more proactive on social media.
I also plan to send the book to nursing homes and mental health organisations. If you’ve any ideas regarding this or would like to take part, please visit my website which will have up to date information.
For anyone who missed pledging to the campaign via Fund it, you can still pick up a copy via www.wholeheartedlyyours.com.