How To

How to Use Crowdfunding Websites to Fund Your Project

Crowdfunding websites are one of the easiest and most popular ways students, filmmakers, artists, and other creatives can raise funds for a project. Each site – from Kickstarter to Indiegogo to RocketHub – has its differences, but they all share the same concept: crowds fund a project on a donation basis, and in turn are then rewarded with a special thanks or a piece memorabilia related to the project.

Several Full Sail students and faculty members have used crowdfunding sites for school-related projects and personal endeavors, like shooting a film, recording an album, or developing a video game. Erik Noteboom, Full Sail's Vice President of Education Operations, is a big Kickstarter fan, frequently browsing the site and contributing to projects that attract him, while Production Supervisor Andrew Campbell has helped several Film students get their projects funded.

"Crowdfunding is an opportunity for a person to maintain control and raise the capital needed to bring their idea to the next level," says Erik. "From a user point of view, I love that I get to hear so many innovative pitches and ideas."

So, before you kick off your own fundraising effort, use these tips from Erik and Andrew to make your campaign as appealing as possible.

  • First, Figure Out Your Budget. "Before starting any crowd source campaign you should budget out your film [or other project] and find out what why you need additional resources," says Andrew. "You need to have a working budget so you can tell people how much and where the fundraised money is going to go."
  • Speak to Emotions. Don't just say, "Hey, I'm making a movie, I need your financing." If this is a project you've been working on for years, or is something you're incredibly passionate about, make sure you include that information on your campaign page. "Really put your hopes and dreams in there," says Erik. With that said, don't spare any details either. Be as descriptive as possible when describing your project so potential donors can really feel attached.
  • Promise The Donor Something in Return. While some people are okay with donating to your fund for the good karma, many will expect at least a little something in return. Be sure you have some great, tangible ways you can thank your donors, says Erik, whether it be a "special thanks" credit in the film or a copy of the video game when it's released.
  • Keep Them Updated. Both Erik and Andrew agree: don't just create your campaign page and leave it alone throughout the course of your project. For a film project, Andrew suggests keeping donors interested by releasing photos and posting updates leading up until the movie's premiere.

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