The 7 Laws of Crowdfunding Events
Got a burning idea for a new event but unsure exactly how to get it off the ground? Maybe it’s a passion project, and you’re not sure how much interest there’ll be in your concept? Perhaps there’s a lot more money required to run it than you think you can raise on your own?
Crowdfunding may be the way to go.
Crowdfunding involves sourcing money from others to help get your idea off the ground. You can crowdfund a product, a business, a honeymoon, or even your next event.
With crowdfunding, you set a financial goal and a time limit. Next, you elicit money from others to help you reach that goal. The beauty of crowdfunding is that your pledges don’t have to pay if your goal isn’t reached. The flip side is you need to start from scratch if it doesn’t work.
Read on for a guide to crowdfund your next event.
- Choose the right platform
There’s a plethora of different platforms you can use for crowdfunding. If you’re after one of the main players, with a solid platform and a lot of traction, you can head over to Kickstarter or GoFundMe. But these platforms are not geared towards events specifically.
If you want an event-specific crowdfunding platform, look at Picatic, CommitChange, Tilt/Open or GigFunder. For concert-specific platforms, check out Rabbl and Krowdpop. These platforms will help you get a specific artist to tour your local area. Purpose-specific platforms are handy but the users are fewer.
Have a look at each platform carefully and see what they can offer you. Inbuilt ticket sales? Social media plugins? Payable in different currencies? Make sure you take the time out to do your research.
- Offer killer rewards
Choosing the right rewards for your event can be the difference between raising some money, and raising a ton of money.
The obvious reward for a crowdfunded event is a basic ticket to the event. Try to make the cost of the ticket reward lower than the price of the event’s tickets. A greater discount in the ticket price will mean a greater chance of punters putting in their hard earned cash.
If you want to do more than just sell tickets, your options are basically endless.
Think VIP tickets with catering, meet and greets, involvement in the event planning process, merchandise packs… The higher the cost of the pledged rewards compared to the actual cost to you of providing it, the more return you can get. Giving people an opportunity they generally wouldn’t get to experience can be a very profitable method of revenue raising.”
EyeHeartSF helped bring back the Summersalt festival for San Francisco through Tilt/Open. They gave away early bird tickets for a pledge of $15 up to a BFF package for a $500 pledge. The BFF package provided access to the VIP and green rooms, a merchandise pack, and tickets to all EyeHeartSF gigs throughout the year.
- Tell a story
The best way to keep people involved in your event is to draw them in by telling a story. Connect with your audience by using videos, blog posts, and updates as you move towards you goal.
TV shows like the X Factor do this well. Why do you think they highlight contestants’ sob stories? Because this makes the viewer feel connected to the contestant – and the show.
Tell your audience about your dreams. Tell them the how, what, and why of everything. Let them feel involved. Make them understand your concept, and talk about trying to make it work. Let them know about any struggles along the way, and maybe add your own personal doubts.
If you can’t think of a good story, think about helping someone else’s dreams become a reality. With a philanthropist push, you can help others feel good about themselves, and give back at the same time.
A recent example of this was the Dance party for #dancingman, who was initially mocked online for his let-loose dancing style. The campaign raised $40, 830 to host a judgment-free dance party just for him – more than double the funding goal!
- Research Successful Crowdfunded Events
The best way to see what works in a crowdfunding campaign is to go and look at the most successful past examples. Find out which rewards are the most popular. Remember which campaigns engaged audiences the most. Find out what went viral and why. Make note of how quickly each campaign reached its goal.
Check out Wikipedia’s list of the highest funded projects for some inspiration.
- Interact With Your Audience
Don’t just be someone who is running an event from afar. One of the key ideas of crowdfunding is that people like to get involved with the project themselves.
Ask your audience for input. Poll them about rewards they’d like to see. Send out surveys and solicit their involvement as much as you can.
- Have Something For People That Can’t Make It
The beauty of crowdfunded campaigns is that anyone can pledge. If your Aunt from Australia sees you plugging your event on Facebook she might pledge money. After that, you may have pledges coming in from all over the world.
You may get pledges from people who can’t even attend your event. To cater to those people, you should offer rewards that don’t require them to show up.
Look into hosting a live stream, or sending a recording to those who couldn’t be there.
Stompy, from the guys at Project Hexapod, built an 18-ft wide rideable spider – just because they could. Several event backers couldn’t make it to the event, however. For those people, the guys gave away bumper stickers, wristbands, and t-shirts, each with a picture of Stompy on them.
- Have a Targetable Audience
Before you even start your campaign, you’ll need to ensure your marketing reach is far enough. You’ll need large email lists, a good social media presence, and a promotional team (or friend) that can help you reach further.
Look to people that wouldn’t be a general attendee of the event, but may like to get involved. Look to local businesses, family and friends for an added boost.