In crowdfunding as in filmmaking, preparation is key. If you don’t adequately prepare for your campaign, then you’re not likely to succeed. If you’ve never crowdfunded before, this can be a daunting prospect. Don’t worry, Guerrilla Rep Media is here to help. This post is meant to give you a timeline to prepare for your campaign, starting further out than you might think.
It’s based around what I’ve learned raising 33,000 of my own in the early days of kickstarter, as well as what I’ve learned from speakers and advising clients running their own campaigns.
6-12 Months Prior to Launch
Begin interacting with online and in person communities relevant to your target market
If you want to have a chance at people outside of your friends and family donating to your crowdfunding campaign, then you’ll need to become a part of those communities early. If you show up and immediately start asking for money, you’re only going to lose friends and alienate potential backers and customers. If, on the other hand, you become part of the communities you’re targeting early on then you may well end up getting yourself some new audience members who might just back your campaign.
Related: 5 Dos and Don't for Selling your Film on Social Media
It’s a lot of work, but the benefits may surprise you. They’re likely to reach beyond your professional life, and into your personal life.
3 Months Prior To Launch
Begin to be really active in groups of your target market.
Essentially, this is an extension of the list above. As your campaign approaches, spend more time engaging with people. on those online communities you joined 3-6 months ago.
2 Months Prior to Launch
List All Potential Perks
Let People Know You'll be Running a Campaign
Get set up with your Payment Processor
About 2 months before your expected launch, you should get as much of the preparation out of the way as you can. This includes things like shooting your video, listing your potential perks, and potentially even getting set up with the payment processor of whatever platform you’re using.
Many of those things take much longer than you expect them to, so doing them early will make sure that your campaign launches smoothly.
1 Month Prior to Launch
A month out from your campaign is when your pre-launch should be going into overdrive. You’ll need to issue a press release about your campaign to try to get some local press, make a facebook event for the launch party to try to get some early momentum, finalize all your perks, and potentially organize a launch party to help get people excited about your project. You may want to consider making your launch party backer-only, just to get the numbers up early on.
Related: Top 5 Crowdfunding Techniques
1 Week Prior to Launch
Do at least one press interview
Promote Launch Day on Social Media
Confirm a few large donations to come in on lauch day: Ideally right at launch.
With your launch date less than a week away, you’ll want to see if you can get any press. This can be anything from a local newspaper from the town you grew up in to a friend’s podcast, or even some old high school alumni newsletter. Press will give you legitimacy.
While you’re doing this, you’ll want to spend a lot of time talking about the impending launch on social media, and talk to some big potential donors about coming in on the first few hours of the campaign. If people see more traction early on, they’ll be more likely to jump on board.
Follow-up with EVERYONE you can to get them to donate.
If you have some large confirmed donors, then you need to follow up with them and remind them on launch day. It matters a lot to get some big fish in right as the campaign starts.
First Few Weks of Campaign
INDIVIDUALLY email EVERYONE you can to ask them to donate.
Once you get your campaign started, you’ll want to INDIVIDUALLY email EVERYONE in your address book. I’m not talking about setting up and sending out a mail chimp email, I’m talking about individually reaching out to follow up with EVERYONE who you have an email for. One trick I’ve learned from a friend and Former Speaker Darva C. is that you should email 2 letters of the alphabet a day, over the first 2 weeks of the campaign. Then email them again, starting on day 16 of the campaign.
It’s a grind, but making a film always required scarfice.
Midpoint of Campaign
Host an event to keep interest high.
It would be wise to have an event to keep your social media spirit high in the lull that is the midpoint of the campaign. You have to keep momentum going through he campaign, so having something like a midpoint event to talk about on social media is incredibly useful. This one I would HEAVILY consider making backer only, even if they’ve only backed you for 1 dollar.
Last Few Weeks of Campaign
Individually email everyone you can AGAIN.
Do that same thing that you did on the first 13 days of the campaign again. Thank the people who donated, and remind the people who didn't to donate again.
Host a celebration (or commiseration) party!
Finally, on the close of the campaign you’ll need to have a party, whether to celebrate your success or commiserate that you didn’t hit your goal. Either way you’ll deserve a night of fun because you WILL be tired.
Since this is about crowdfunding, I’d like to take this moment to remind you about my patreon. It’s a lot of work to keep putting out blogs week after week after week in addition to my other responsibilities. This patreon helps keep me writing this blog, even when some days I feel a bit blocked. I really can’t do it without you. As an additional bonus, I’m including a downloadable .pdf of a timeline checklist on the ad-free version of this blog. Click below to become a patron.
If you want to get some advice on Crowdfunding, or any other kind of financing, you might want to book a strategy session with me. It's completely free! I'll help you chart out the next steps of your indie filmmaking career, and show you how to take the first step to transform from being a regular producer to an executive producer.
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My name is Ben, I'm an Entrepreneur, Producer's Rep, and Author. I'm the founder of Guerrilla Rep Media, Co-Founder/CMO of ProductionNext, and founder of Producer Foundry. Together, the organizations seek to help make filmmaking a more economically sustainable endeavor. I am dysic, I have capitalization issues, and the blogs are often unedited. opinions all my own.
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