5 Tips To Help Crowd Fund Your Next Project
A few months ago we were attending an event in Los Angeles, held by the L.A Songwriters Collective. They're a group of people who host great events around LA showcasing new artists but more importantly helping developing artists with their songwriting and their breakthrough process. If you're in LA it's definitely worth going to one of their events. Check out their website here. At the event we met a bunch of people, one of which came over and handed us her business card, she seemed super friendly and had a great attitude which was enough for us to want to work with her. A few days later we filmed a few videos (see below) and were really happy with the outcome.
Jessica Louise then made her way to the UK for a couple of weeks, it was a good chance to catch up with her and find out what she had been up to since we last saw each other. We wanted to know why she was in the UK but more so how she got here, something she touched on briefly during our shoot in LA.
It turns out that Jess' trip was funded by a collective of donators who pooled their money together and crowdfunded the project via Gofundme.com. Go Fund Me and a few other websites raise funding for businesses, artists, friends, tragedies and all sorts of other projects which require funding. Does it work? Sure it does - Go Fund Me has already raised over $2 Billion. Think about that for a second. It's not a bank or a PayPal/Western Union-type institute and it's raised that figure alone, not even considering other similar websites. It's peer-to-peer sponsorship & donations, something which is very much a part of Web 2.0.
It's all good and well being a model that works for people or has worked for various projects but how does it apply to the musician and the independent artist? We had a chat with Jess in London to learn more about how to create a successful crowd-funded project. Jess' interview can be heard on our podcast 'Artist Development', we've taken the time to summarise some of the key points of the interview below.
Jess talks about how it's of the utmost importance to be authentic. People are buying into you and putting up a facade will often be the breaking point of that fan-creator relationship. Even though Jess claims she has a small fanbase the quality of each individual relationship is key. She doesn't post something online without taking the time to say thanks to someone or replying to their comments. It takes time, but it's showing a fan or as Jess likes to call them fan-friends, that you're genuine about who you are with them. Putting in the time and connecting by being genuine with your audience pays off in more ways than one.
Transparency is huge, this is an extension of authenticity. It's really important to be honest and transparent with those funding your project. Let them know where the money goes. How much do you need to hit your goal? What are you going to do with the funds? Create an album? Go on a tour? For Jess' London tour there were no tiers, as there often are on websites like Kickstarter or PledgeMusic. It was simply a matter of asking for the funding without directly giving anything in return other than the experience of following her progress, however as Jess is very keen on being authentic this wasn't a problem at all and people happily bought into the project. Below is an exert from Jess' campaign where she outlines the amount needed to help her with the tour.
"Believe that you're going to do something" - believing that you're going to be a part of something awesome really comes across in your promo and your campaign. Jess' EP 'Voices' was funded by fans so she understood that people would be willing to help her get to London. Before launching the campaign for her album however (via IndieGoGo) she was delving into the unknown. She worked hard by keeping up her presence on social media which eventually led to 20k fans on Periscope. Jess took to the power of social media and after updating her fans about her journey she progressed and found the funding for her EP.
Having that faith in yourself translates over to your audience, making them feel like they're part of something bigger welcomes them on your journey. Genuine belief in yourself draws out more of you're personality automatically making a much more personal and intimate affair. It's not just a case of asking for money, emotions and passions are on the line and viewers and audiences buy into that.
Be aware of your brand and what you stand for. Do your fans click with your brand and with what you're putting out there? Every time we hang out with Jess she's always on Periscope, Snapchat, Instagram - keeping her fans updated with what she's up to. Here's the thing about Jess, which you can't say about everyone you meet; that bubbly happy and almost-dorky person you see on Snapchat is exactly what she's like in real life. Full of smiles and with a positive attitude isn't just a facade, it's who Jess is. That's what we see on social media and that's what we see in real life, that's her brand and it's what she remains loyal to. She wants her fans to know that side of her and associate these quirks with what she puts out in the world.
We've touched on this before but it's so important to constantly update to your fans. They want to know where their money is going, who wouldn't!? Whenever something important happens in your campaign update your fans, whether that's via the campaign page or via social media. The small details go a long way with the people donating towards your cause. Once the funding is secured and you start spending the donated money, it's really important to show how you're spending the money. Show your fans that you're on tour or rehearsing for a show or printing your album. People want to see what you set out to do. Videos are a great way to show this and makes people feel like they're part of something more than just giving their money to an anonymous cause.
Crowdfunding can be scary, you're asking people you may not know to contribute to something that you (should) believe in with a passion. Jess says that working on who you are, getting your branding right and figuring out what you stand for as a creative and combining that with the personal approach can really help push a campaign and even make it successful. Show that you're genuine and that every fan - even those who can't donate mean a lot to you. Sometimes we might hear something like that and not have confidence in ourselves, I'll leave you with something that Jess says which might get you thinking twice about your doubts on crowdfunding.
"People are at different stages of their life & career and some want to give". Just because you might not be able to contribute to someone else's campaign it doesn't mean others wont want to get involved with yours.
If you have any questions feel free to hit us up via the social media links below or if you like get in touch with Jessica and tell her we sent you.
Official Website: www.jessicalouisemusic.com
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