Useful Crowdfunding Websites

Q&A: What Are Useful Crowdfunding Websites?

This question comes in from Ryne via e-mail.

What Are Useful Crowdfunding Websites?

The alternative (or some would say superior) to Indigogo is Kickstarter, which actually has a much larger base of donors. Many fundraisers are attracted to Indiegogo because of its flexible funding which allows you to keep funds raised even if you don’t hit your goal, but this has a downside as well. The possibility that a project will not be funded at all if it is not funded in full encourages many Kickstarter users to donate more money to projects, increasing the likelihood that they get funded (and increasing the overall funding potential of the project). At the end of the day, you have to choose the platform that best suits your project and your risk-tolerance, but I’d say it’s worth looking into all of the costs/benefits of each of these two platforms before making a decision.

As for the other platforms, I’m not sure I would spend much time on them right now. There are platforms that are specific to filmmaking, but the userbases are very small. It’s possible that you could run multiple crowdfunding campaigns, one after another, on different platforms, but my guess is you could raise a lot more money by focusing on one campaign, on one platform, and promoting the heck out of it before it goes live and while it’s running. My suggestion: if you’re going to run a crowdfunding campaign anytime soon, start building a Facebook following (a page and/or a group), and start building an e-mail list. These are the two highest converting platforms when it comes to crowdfunding, and you can never start building a following on them too soon when preparing for a campaign.

As far as rewards go, I don’t have any specific recommendations. If you’re planning on doing print items, keep in mind that all of these orders will have to be fulfilled. You might look to a service like Printful to help you with this. Keep in mind also that your margins have to be high enough to warrant the reward. If someone gets a free copy of the film for $10, or a shirt for $25, but the shirt costs you $10–15 to print, is that donation going to be worth it to you? I would create very high margins on items like these, and maybe bundle them with other items that take less time/effort for you to fulfill.

Maybe you can get more creative with rewards. Some projects offer fancy titles to high-level donors. Maybe you can offer advanced screenings? Private Q&A sessions? A notes pass? It sounds crazy but people might be willing to donate more money for more access to you and your project. Many people want to be involved with the filmmaking process but don’t have any relevant skills. Your crowdfunding campaign could give them that opportunity.

I’m sure there are a ton of other ways to get creative with rewards that I’m not thinking of. I definitely recommend looking at the top 25 funded films on Kickstarter and Indiegogo and making lists of their rewards. Whiddle that list down to what would work for you, and then really think about the items on the list and see if there’s any way to get more creative with them.

Ultimately, I don’t think the rewards are as important as the cause. Making people feel like they are part of a community and helping to push a cause forward is going to raise a lot more money for your project than the promise of a t-shirt or poster. Then again, making people feel like they are part of a community AND giving them a t-shirt or poster might encourage them to double down on their donation. 🙂

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