Crowdfunding Caveats

L. R. Laverde-Hansen By L. R. Laverde-Hansen, 17th Jul 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Art>Artists

Crowdfunding is becoming a powerful tool for fundraising projects, but it is hardly the answer for everything. Here is a brief explanation.

Adventures in Modern Fundraising

Last week the makers of the cancelled television series, Veronica Mars, were able to raise two million dollars ($2m) in order to help produce a feature-length film based on the show. They did so in only ten hours via public Internet funding, or crowdfunding. Using the online platform, they asked donors from among the public to give individual contributions, in exchange for "rewards," such as videos, signed script copies, and T-shirts, and perks such as production credits on the film. The result was a record for a crowdfunding project, and proof that websites such as Kickstarter and are now a serious part of the fundraising landscape.
However, notes of caution accompany this success story. Veronica Mars was a cult favorite with a devoted television following. Smaller projects by ambitious artists and impresarios lack the automatic reach of millions of fans, and have to be more realistic in their fundraising goals. Recently I attended the book launch of choreographer/dance teacher (and now author) Anabella Lenzu in New York. Ms. Lenzu has been studying and teaching dance for two decades, and like many artists she has turned to this new resource.

"I've used it twice for the book (Unveiling Motion and Emotion) and the choreography project (Pachamama - Mother World), " Ms. Lenzu said. Although she reached her funding targets with Kickstarter, the site served more to gain exposure and discover other donors than as a replacement of regular fundraising efforts. Though the pool of donors is wider, individual contributions are much smaller on average--a donor can give as little as a dollar. This can be less cost effective in the long term. Additionally, the projects run against a deadline. If the campaign fails to meet its objectives within that time period, none of the pledged money goes to the project. Indiegogo, by contrast, awards the money that has been raised.

Ms. Lenzu also pointed out that the novelty of crowdfunding projects may have begun to wear off, as donors are asked repeatedly to help out their friends' dreams. It gets harder each time to reach the fundraising goals by deadline. She said that while crowdfunding is a great way to reach new audiences (especially in far-away countries), she will continue to host traditional fundraising events, which bring out loyal donors.

"At the end, you rely on your core supporters."

Originally Published on Yahoo Voices
New York March 20th, 2013

Acknowledgements and Notes


Interview: Anabella Lenzu, conducted March 17, 2013


Arts, Arts Funding, Crowdfunding, Fundraising

Meet the author

author avatar L. R. Laverde-Hansen
Poet, playwright, commentator. I write wherever I can. Currently I reside in the City of New York.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
13th Aug 2014 (#)

So true. I keep saying I want to do a Kickstarter to pay a local artist to do art for the children's books I am writing and have written. But the necessary fan base to make it worth the work is immense, and for that rate, I think I would be better off pre-selling the book(s). And fear of failure freezes me into doing none of the above. Great article.

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author avatar L. R. Laverde-Hansen
14th Aug 2014 (#)

Hun, just employ it as a part of your fundraising strategy. And try to keep goals somewhat realistic. Also, offer cool incentives-such as free stuff and services, or credit, to those who give a little extra (at least $20).

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