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Some crowdfunding do’s and don’ts

May 7, 2014

Probably the first step in pursuing a crowdfunding project is getting over a common stigma: CF is sometimes perceived as begging. Katey Laurel challenged this notion, saying that CF is really about finding and engaging with true fans, the people that will ultimately sustain your career. From a funding standpoint, she stresses being very transparent about your needs and demonstrating that you are personally invested in the project.

Katey said some of her projects failed when she asked for too much money. She lets her fans know what is involved with each project and has typically invested 25% of the startup costs herself before asking for any additional support.

Rob Drabkin took a different approach with his one campaign. He decided his project would help promote the album (already created) because he had seen so many campaigns to produce albums. He stressed that you find ways to make your effort unique. But he said he thinks CF efforts are less trendy than they were about two years ago.

Katey and Reed Fuchs also commented about the importance of being unique with your campaigns. Reed specializes in videos to help launch the CF projects. He says these should be short, in the 2-3 minute range. In the context of premiums to give your supporters, Reed has tried to be creative, giving away dream catchers, pillow cases, and other items off the beaten path.

Katey tries to survey her fanbase at least once a year to ask what they are interested in receiving. She thinks that is part of the process of developing relationships with her fans. Such as, do they want the final product in vinyl or MP3? What other premiums would motivate them? Some of the responses from her survey have surprised her (Ipods, wristbands, etc).
Other ways to reward your supporters might include:

Anything with the personal touch is highly meaningful to fans...

Anything with the personal touch is highly meaningful to fans…

*A private concert in an intimate setting.
*A live feed broadcast of the material, with special shout outs to supporters.
*Signed copies of anything and everything (CD’s, T-shirts, posters).
*Authentically used items (guitar picks, handwritten lyrics, exclusive or personal photos – not too personal…).
*Any other way to give a shout out to these special supporters (mentioned on the liner notes, web site/blog, at live performances).

Reed emphasized the work you need to do before you roll out your project, such as getting your web site in order, creating attractive graphics for the campaign, and possibly creating a short video. You want the campaign to be unique and the purpose to be highly compelling.

Next, we’ll take a look at crowdfunding campaigns outside of the music industry and why this model is actually growing…

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