No Other Crowdfunding Platform, Not Kickstarter or Indiegogo, Can Claim This. What is The Secret to Seed&Spark’s Success?
by Carole Dean
The films that get fiscal sponsorship at From the Heart Productions have consistently received the “green light” on Seed&Spark. This means they hit their crowdfunding goal and get the funding they raised. This occurs more often at Seed&Spark than other crowdfunding platforms.
Recently, I welcomed Gerry Maravilla, Head of Crowdfunding at Seed&Spark, to my The Art of Film Funding Podcast. He revealed the advice they give to filmmakers on how to have a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Goal Setting on Seed&Spark
This is a crucial part of the entire crowdfunding campaign. Getting this right is a one of the keys to success.
It begins with a surprising statistic and comes down to simple math.
“There’s traditionally a 1% conversion rate from social media share to a donation.”Gerry states. This means, if you have 1,000 Facebook followers, you can expect only 1% of them to donate!
He says that you can get 20 to 30% from your email lists. This must be a personal email to each person, not an email blast that would bring you much less. Personalization is the key to getting the highest percentage rate from your list.
Gerry suggests you ask your crew for their email lists. Ask your family too for any names they will let you use to crowdfund. Put all your names together.
So, how much can you can raise? The most popular donation amount is $25.00. So, consider that 30% of the list will give you $25.00 each. Multiply the number of names on your list by 30% and then by $25.00. This is a goal you know you can hit.
“But this is nowhere near my budget,” you say? Yes, but setting a goal at $100,000 when you can only expect to raise $1,000 will result in a failed campaign and no money.
Take what you can get from this campaign. Use the money move forward with the film and begin expanding your email list for your second campaign.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make an “Ask.”
Seed & Spark recommends that you reach out early to your list long before you start crowdfunding. Let them know that you are planning a campaign to fund your film and give them the start date. Say you need them to commit to make a donation for you in the first few days as that is the critical time.
“Once you hit that 30% in the first week you can easily hit 60% in the second week,” Gerry says.
Get your list excited and committed. Ask them, “Can I count on your support?” Let them know how much you need them.
Be sure that each email you send is full of gratitude. Gratitude is a key word in crowdfunding. Donors appreciate this and the energy in that email will be totally different with your heart on the page.
Creating interesting emails is key to keeping people motivate. Even if they have donated, you want them to be involved and you want them to read every email because you want them to donate again. Use creative titles in your subject line, that will get you a higher opening rate.
Campaign Preproduction is a Key to Success
Sounds crazy? Right? Yes, you have to treat a crowdfunding campaign just like a film. Gerry believes this preproduction work is another important key to their 80% success rate.
You need to prepare by building your email list and putting it on a mailing platform. (We like Constant Contact at From the Heart Productions, but there are other good ones as well).
Find the “uniqueness” about your film. What makes it special? Start marketing it with that in mind. Send links to the film or your campaign video to your list. Let them know you will be crowdfunding soon and ask if they can share this on social media to support you.
Contact Seed&Spark early and discuss your film with them. They’ve got great instructional videos on their website. Learn how to build your audience. Get your social networks and your email list ready for your campaign.
Give yourself several months. Study successful campaigns and learn from other filmmakers. Don’t rush into this, plan the campaign and it will bring you a greater return.
Give Your Donors an Immediate Tax Write-Off with From the Heart Productions
Our non-profit works closely with Seed&Spark. We are a partner with them and offer the lowest fees of any fiscal sponsor when using their platform. Having fiscal sponsorship allows donors to the campaign to get tax deductions for their donations. That creates a powerful incentive to donate.
Gerry says you want to be sure to mention your nonprofit name on your page. This shows your donor that a nonprofit has reviewed your film and accepted it.
Many donors like the fact that a nonprofit is involved to see that you use the funds for the film. They feel that you will finish the film. We believe that sponsorship gives you more credibility with donors.
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 hosts the weekly podcast, The Art of Film Funding, interviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film production. She is also the author of The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts. See IMDB for producing credits.