Recently, I created a crowdfunding campaign on Pozible, for my Clay LAB project (https://pozible.com/project/203580) and I wish to share my experience of running the campaign with you.
It took me 6 weeks to prepare the campaign before its launch.
My goal was to raise funds for the fitting costs of my new studio, Clay LAB. The studio is designed to be a place of cultural exchange for Melbourne's ceramics’ community, as well as a sanctuary to create my own artwork. In order to achieve this, I set up a target of 13,800 AUD.
Before I launched the campaign, I talked to a few people who had already run successful crowdfunding campaigns, including Michael Klin, Ben Carter (both US-based potters) and Stephanie Ney (Project Officer for Arts North Coast). They became my advisory panel.
I also read numerous crowdfunding blogs and listened to many podcasts. One podcast was Crowdfunding Come Back (www.crowdfundingcomebacks.com). It interviews people whose crowdfunding campaign failed at first, but they came back and made a huge success second time around.
Furthermore, I researched similar projects - both successful and unsuccessful campaigns. This helped me plan my campaign better.
There are two basic types of platforms; one is ‘all or nothing’ and a second one lets you take whatever you receive, even though your campaign may not reach its target. I prefer the all or nothing approach as it creates the sense of urgency and motivated me to work harder. From what I researched, the all or nothing approach is also more likely to reach its target.
I ended up choosing Pozible as my platform, mainly as it is an Australian-based site, making it easy with payments and tax. I also felt that Pozible still had a sense of community, whereas other platforms were more about pre-selling new products.
You can check out crowdfunding platform comparisons here https://www.chuffed.org/compare
I also considered using BigCartel or setting up an online shop on my website as the platform. This approach would have saved at least 5% in fees. However, my advisory panel didn’t support this idea. Here’s why:
1: An online shop could not set a target or goal that people feel they are working towards as a community. In other words, group effort is missing.
2: People look to support projects actively on crowdfunding platforms, whereas they wouldn’t naturally search for my online shop.
3: Crowdfunding platforms give campaigns a sense of legitimacy as a fundraising effort that online shops don’t.
4: Crowdfunding platforms provide statistics relating to the campaign, which can be helpful as it progresses.
It is important to set up your rewards carefully, as it can make or break your campaign. The best rewards are those that relate to you and are relevant your project. The types of reward also determine how much work you must do once the campaign ends. Do online research for creative rewards - it may spark other ideas.
I set up 15 levels of rewards, which ranged from $25-$1,900, but may have provided too much choice. 7-9 rewards are the ideal amount. The most popular range was around the $25-$50 mark. Having said that my “Mini Me” rewards (a small figurine of the supporter) at $225 raised the most money. I think it was due to the fact that the pieces were customised to fit with individual supporters.
Making a few rewards, such as tote bags or t-shirts that you design but aren’t made by hand, is also a good idea. This will reduce stress levels after the campaign ends.
Setting up your reward price is also important. Don’t forget to factor in the actual costs of the rewards, along with postage & packaging material and your own time. If you use your work as rewards, consider adding 30-35% to the retail price.
Never underestimate the power of donation, either. A lot of my supporters simply donated money to support the project without asking for any rewards, which contributed to 15% of my campaign.
Early Bird Rewards
One reason I had too many rewards, was because I set up an “early bird” option, which enabled supporters to get a limited section of rewards at a lower price if they pledged early. This was done in order to create a sense of urgency and a buzz around the campaign. It helped people make decisions faster. Personally, I think the early bird rewards played a significant role in the success of the campaign.
Delivery times to fulfilment of schedule
Make sure that your delivery time is much longer than needed. I suggest double - if not triple - the time required to make your rewards + shipping time. People are always happy to receive their reward quicker than expected.
I also strongly advise you to produce most of your rewards before you launch the campaign! This will reduce stress significantly after the campaign ends.