Everything and the Kitchen Sink: My Approach to Crowdfunding


originally published at: Shatteringthefacade.blogspot.com

There were a few things I knew to expect during my crowdfunding campaign on PasserBy (which is a platform that has now closed), and there were more than a few delightful surprises. I knew going into my campaign that it wasn’t going to be easy. Money is tight everywhere and it takes a lot to get people to part with their hard earned money.  I’m a one-woman show these days. I’m the writer, producer and actress on the project. I’ve chosen to work with a director that comes with his team of producers, makeup, camera guys, composer, the whole nine yards. This makes my job as a producer much easier, except when it comes to crowdfunding. One of the keys to raising money is being able to spread the word and reach as many corners of the world that you can. The more people you can list on your project and crowdfunding page, the better chance you have at reaching your goal.

I threw everything AND the kitchen sink at my campaign. Here are the things that I did.

1. Email Campaign

I sent an introductory email as soon as my campaign launched on PasserBy using MailChimp, a free email service that allows you to track clicks and opens of your email campaigns. I tried not to overwhelm people with the amount of emails I sent, in the end I believe I sent 5 emails over the course of three months. I lost some subscribers, but you can’t take it personally, they may just be trying to stream line their life, or perhaps your initiative and drive makes them realize their own lack of drive and initiative and its too painful to see, you never know, but you don’t have time to worry about that, you’re running a crowd funding campaign! Using the information from MailChimp I  . . .

2. Sent Personal Emails

Every few days I would send at least 2-5 personal emails to people who had clicked on the link in my email or had opened it numerous times. I also emailed people that I don’t have on my mailing list alerting them to my campaign but also asking them to help spread the word. 

3. Twitter and Facebook

My Twitter feed and Facebook page are now covered with my PasserBy link and the “Tactics” poster. I sent at least one message a day for the 90 days my campaign was active, and sometimes twice a day. It can get annoying, but you have to remember how fast a Twitter feed moves and how often posts can get lost on the Facebook. I’m pretty sure I lost some “friends” on Facebook due to the amount of promoting I did, but it doesn’t bother me, why would I want friends who aren’t supportive of what I’m doing?

4. Contests!

I decided to see if I could find some prizes that people would want to win if they donated at least $20 to my campaign on a certain day.  For instance, those who donated at least $20 on April 15-20th would be entered to win a set of Season 1 DVD’s of the MTV show “Awkward” signed by actress Desi Lydic. Desi and I were in an acting class together years ago and she was kind enough to offer her autograph and she even tweeted her followers the deal, no small offer, she currently has over 29,000 Followers!

5. Press

I am lucky enough to have a relationship with one of the journalists at my hometown paper, The Pueblo Chieftain (thanks to my Mom, the P.R. Maven, who scored me an interview when my first short film was in the Indie Spirit Film Festival in Colorado Springs) so I contacted the paper and asked if it would be possible to write something about my Crowdfunding campaign. They did and a little blurb about my project ran in The Pueblo Chieftain!

6. Thinking outside the Box

PasserBy suggested that we do a Google Hangout and talk about my project, my experience in the film business and as an actress, writer and producer. One Saturday morning, we connected via the inter-webs and they set about asking me some very insightful questions. I used these videos in my MailChimp campaigns as well as on my Facebook and Twitter feed. I think this was one of the most successful things that we did. It garnered a lot of attention as well as gave me a little more credibility as well as the opportunity for people to hear me talk about the project. It gave them some insight into who I am and what I was hoping to accomplish with my campaign! Any time you can use your own personal energy to communicate you will always be able to connect with others easier and on a more personal level.

7. Offer Credit

I offered to every actor, producer and filmmaker that I know who are working on their careers, building IMDB credits and trying to get out there, the opportunity to earn an Associate Producer credit. I extended to them that if they could drive $500 to the campaign, I would give them Associate Producer credit on the film! One actor took me up on my offer and raised $500 for me! I am happy to give him the credit and it doesn’t cost me anything!

8. Have a TV show with a Cult following, major stars and lots of hype

Okay, this wasn’t a “Tactic” of mine, but it did prove to be very beneficial for the Veronica Mars Movie!

9. Cultivate Relationships

In the end, most of the donations that I received came from people that I know, that I respect and that respect me. I keep in touch with people and care about what’s happening in their lives and their worlds. I help spread the word about friend’s projects, shows, bands, business ventures, etc. as much as I can.  Sharing a link on Facebook or Twitter can take two seconds, but can foster a relationship that may help you for years to come and lets face it, in Hollywood, your Facebook friend could be the head of Disney in a few years, you never know.

The best part of this whole experience was that I had a great excuse to get in touch with people that I hadn’t spoken to in years. I got the chance to catch up with people via personal emails and through Facebook. I learned that I have a lot of support in the chasing of my dreams. People that I hadn’t heard from in years, that I knew in college through my roommate or met in an acting class donated. I would get surprise messages on Facebook from old high school friends expressing how proud they are of me and how much they admire that I am out there, chasing my dreams. I was surprised by the amount of money some people donated, $500 with the request that we work together in the future, considering their donation as an investment in a future together! Absolutely, I’m on board, if you help me, I will help you! There is nothing better than helping friends achieve their dreams.