Let Go of These 5 Myths to Raise Money for Your Film
by Carole Dean
The reward for crowdfunding your film comes not just in money, but knowing that others support you and your work.
At From the Heart Productions, Carole Joyce and I work with filmmakers to help them create their own unique crowdfunding campaign. We provide lots of crowdfunding resources to engineer a successful campaign as well as fiscal sponsorship that allows tax free donations.
But, the campaigns we help only succeed when we’re able to get filmmakers to let go of these crowdfunding myths:
Myth 1 – You build it and they will come.
Nonsense. No matter how fantastic a campaign page you create, how important the cause, or how great the concept, you need to bring your crowd to the crowdfunding campaign. You will probably get 98% of your funds from you own email list. Not from Facebook, Twitter, or any of your social networks. Just from people you know.
Getting your crowd to send your emails to their friends is paramount to success. Focus on how to ask ahead of time for this favor and find ways to reward people for sending your emails to their lists.
Myth 2 – My film’s budget is $85,000 so that is where I need to set my campaign goal.
Your film’s budget has nothing to do with where you should set your campaign goal. Raising money is not easy so why set your goal for an amount you will have trouble getting. Break it up into achievable segments.
How to know what you can raise? Use the number of names in your data base and multiply by 5% for the number of donations you will get. Example: Let’s say you’ve got 1,000 names. 1,000 x 5% = 50. So, you can expect 50 people will give you money.
At From the Heart, we have an average of $100 per donation. That means for 50 donors you can raise $5,000.00 (per those 1,000 names).
Don’t plan on getting much from your name on your social networks. Only about 2% of your social media contacts who will donate. Still, you want to be on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to bring attention to the project
The money is in your close friends, family and your data base. Focus on your data base where you can send emails every 5 days. These are your prime donors.
Myth 3 – I’ve got 45 days reach my goal so I can take my time.
You may have a 45 day campaign, but it’s critical to hit 30% in first 72 hours. If you hit that, your campaign has an 80% chance of succeeding.
What amount can you raise in 3 days? $3,000.00? You may want to work backwards and use this calculation to set your ultimate goal. If you think you can raise $3,000 in first 3 days, then you ask for $9,000 and you can probably hit it.
Lots of work? Yes, but the payoff is more in marketing than you would ever imagine.
Myth 4 – If I don’t hit goal, I still get money so that’s ok, right?
Hitting your goal is essential. The record of how your campaign performed and how it was accepted by others will be out there forever. While not necessarily an accurate judgement on how successful your project will ultimately be, it will be seen by some that way.
Distributors want to know you understand social networking. They think crowdfunding is an example of how good you are at marketing so they judge you by your success. Be prepared for this.
Myth 5 – T-Shirts make great perks.
I like gifts that are personal and I like you to be part of the gift. Send me something personal. One filmmaker crowdfunding wrote a poem for those who donated to his campaign and he was very successful.
Make your gift something that sets your project apart and makes other take notice. One crowdfunder asked his potential donors, “Where is your dream vacation?” Then, he took a picture of you and put you in that location. He did very well because people posted these items on Facebook. That got him new leads who eventually donated because of the extraordinary gifts.
Need a Consultation?
Tailoring your campaign to your film is essential. We can do that in a consultation. If you are fiscally sponsored by us, you have a free campaign consultation.
If not, arrange a consultation with me. I will read all of the materials of your film. Then, we spend 40 minutes discussing your campaign with you.
Whatever you do on your campaign, let go of the myths and you will be much more successful.
Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-profit that offers fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She is also the author of The Art of Film Funding: Alternative Financing Concepts. Her Intentional Filmmaking Class teaches filmmakers on how to get their films funded.