Right now, there are a lot of crowdfunding campaigns live – and more being planned. Lots of people are (quite rightly) thinking about crowdfunding as a possible funding route, especially given lockdown closures, drops in consumer spending, behaviour changes, social restrictions for reopening spaces, etc. But is there anything specific you need to think about? (Spoiler: yes)
First: yours is not the only crowdfunding campaign your audiences are seeing. Even in ordinary times that’s true – but right now, doubly so. Businesses and creators are launching campaigns, but there are also SO many great causes who need money right now: charities, campaigning organisations, activism, legal costs, individual costs.
So remember, your audiences may not be willing to spend the same as they would have maybe last year. They may already have invested in a bunch of other projects, and may be making decisions about supporting charities/activist causes over gifts for themselves right now.
Second: familiarity, though, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Often, crowdfunding campaigns need to provide some handholding for backers and prospective backers – how payments work, when do I get my stuff, help I’ve forgotten my password, etc. If your audiences already know how the platform/s work, you don’t need to spend so much time on helping them with those admin issues (which frees you up to spend more time telling your story).
Third: your audiences may be facing their own financial uncertainty. Whatever their work situation under lockdown (furloughed? key worker? running a business?) they may not know if it’s about to get worse or better. Keep that in mind when pricing your rewards.
Fourth: as restrictions lift, people’s interaction with public spaces is going to be determined more by their own feelings than by government policy. So it’s hard to predict if and how and when they might be up for in-person events. If your work or your campaign genuinely relies on in-person events, then if you can, keep offering virtual options – a one-to-one Zoom masterclass, exclusive digital content – alongside it. Some people you’re hoping to reach may still be shielding or may be otherwise vulnerable and unable to attend events – don’t leave them out.
Fifth: remember your role in the ecosystem. Support other voices doing the same or related things – you’ll all benefit from having an infrastructure in place when everyone finally emerges. If you’re a venue, mention and promote other venues’ crowdfunding campaigns, for example.
Sixth and finally: the last few months have been really hard, for a lot of people, for a lot of reasons. Use your crowdfunding campaign to give them something to hope for, something to be excited about, something to feel positive about. We all need it right now.