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Practical Guide to Setting Up Crowdfunding Campaign


It’s not easy to find a perfect balance between offering something that will be exciting and attractive to your potential supporters as well as affordable.

A few ideas to get your imagination going:

– Before you start working on your perks, check out what other/similar projects are offering. Sounds obvious but to be able to prepare a good offer you will need a benchmark for what’s already out there.

– Once you know what’s been offered, try to think outside the box. Perhaps there is something you can think of that isn’t being offered yet or maybe you could offer a spin on what is already out there. See if this is possible at all.

– What tangible or non-tangible perks have you created beforehand that you can utilise now?

– Before you go ahead and start producing/making/creating your perks, make sure you have the right budget for all what you are offering.

– What kind of personal perks can you come up with instead of the tangible ones? What experiences can you offer to people as part of your perks? The more non-tangible perks you can offer, the better it will be for your budget.

– Make sure your perks vary depending on the contribution you receive and make sure they are reasonably priced. If you offer someone a DVD with your movie for $10, make sure the costs of producing and shipping that DVD will be covered. The numbers must always add up.

– In my experience, offering perks that will cost you a considerable amount to make and ship only make sense for higher-end contributions.

-Research shows that when people look at perks they either look for a fantastic business opportunity, or they like being patrons of the arts and love helping people out to fulfil their dreams (I’ve met quite a few of those on my journey). See if you can accommodate that. If someone likes being a patron of the arts, maybe you could create a special certificate that states just that and maybe create one personal perk for individual patrons if they ask for it. Be flexible.


If you promise something, you must deliver it. Try not to make your supporters feel that you have forgotten about them once you got their contribution. The word travels fast and your good name is one of your biggest assets. Don’t forget that as an artist or an entrepreneur, you’re constantly building your brand.

– I know I’m repeating myself, but always calculate the cost of your tangible perks into your budget as it may be way too expensive than you predicted.

– I know that some people in the film industry are firmly against utilizing IMDB or producer’s credits. But sometimes this is the only leverage you can use to make your film a reality.


– Regular updates are an essential part of any campaign. It shows that you are committed to your campaign and also care to keep your supporters in the loop. It also shows that you are happy to take time to build trust and relationship with your supporters.

– In my personal opinion updating your supporters will allow them to get involved and become emotionally attached to your project.

– I’ve seen people following the slippery slope of thinking that once the campaign is up and running, you have to do nothing else (unless you are a very famous celebrity and sometimes even that doesn’t help), just watch the money roll in. Sorry, it doesn’t work this way.

– Try to update your campaign at least every two days. I know it’s time-consuming, but you are asking people for their trust, their money and investment in you. If you want people to invest in you, or your project, you need to do something in return too. Build relationships and try to treat your supporters the same way you would like to be treated if you were supporting another crowdfunding project.

– During my first “Anna and Modern Day Slavery” IndieGoGo campaign I created daily video updates I shared with my audience how the campaign was going, what happened the day before, what progress in the pre-production was made. I talked a lot about various aspects of the upcoming production, so people felt included in the process. I tried to keep my supporters in the loop as much as I could and knew how. Once the campaign was over I kept updating everyone for the first six months making sure that people knew what I was up to and what I was doing with the film. When I was in full post-production mode, the updates were less frequent but, I still tried to communicate to my supporters that the project was moving forward, slowly but moving forward.

-Other ways to use your update section is to create a conversation with your audience/followers.


I’m sure you will check out a mountain of other campaigns before you start your own and I think you should as due diligence for your research. You will find that some to be a fantastic inspiration for your own campaign.

Companies and organizations will run some of the campaigns, but many will be run by one or two people.

You will most definitely find some campaign pages that you won’t like at all. These campaigns are a vital part of your research.

After your research is done, you will surely have a clearer idea of what works and what doesn’t. Armed with this knowledge, you can start setting up your campaign page.

While setting up my own campaign homepage I usually stick to these two rules:

  1. Don’t use too many long descriptions. I’m sure you’ve seen campaigns where all the Bios of all the people involved are on the front page, taking up space and causing the page to load much slower than it should. I’m sure you and your collaborators have lots of interesting things and experiences to share with the world, but you have to remember that the campaign isn’t about you and the people you are going to work with. The campaign is all about your project and the change your idea is going to bring to people’s lives.
  2. Too many pictures slow down the page’s loading time, which tends to irritate people. The media or update sections are better for uploading lots of photos and videos, and I always use those sections for my visual media updates.

Your homepage should be clean and have one purpose only: to convert the viewer into your supporter, fan or contributor. If you have too much going on, you may end up confusing people or lose their attention as they won’t know what is expected of them.

However, if you feel strongly that you should add information about you and your team go for it. But just make sure it’s not too long, and your core message (focus on your project) is still in the centre of your homepage.

Other Homepage Tips

– Start with a clear logline about your project instead of bombarding people with the full summary/synopsis of your idea.

– Somewhere below your pitching video elaborate on your idea/project using a Medium Length Synopsis.

– If you have any interesting and easily ingested facts such as costs, ways to make, statistics, etc. use them.

– Tell your audience why you want your idea to come to life and what your intentions are once you finish your project in short, bite-sized chunks.

– Explain how you will utilize all the support you receive.

– Add all relevant social media links for your campaign.

Your website and social media

You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve seen people putting all the hard work into creating a crowdfunding campaign only to use none of their online networks. People didn’t tweet, FB or even put info on their websites about the exciting adventure they were embarking on. How the hell does one expect the world to get interested, attached and supportive of the project if no one knows about it?

You have to use your networks; otherwise, it’s not going to work. Don’t be silly thinking that you shouldn’t advertise your work or ask for support from your networks, friends and family. Yes, you should; you MUST. How else are you going to reach the campaign goal? Modesty is a great quality, but it won’t carry you over the line. Remember, it’s all about bringing your idea to life. The only way to do it while running a crowdfunding campaign is to spread the word about what you are doing amongst as many people as possible.

While posting on social media, try not to annoy your friends and don’t tag everyone in the same post. This will appear lazy and disrespectful for your own campaign. If you want to run a successful campaign, you need to put time and effort into it.

Think about setting up your own, separate website for the project. You are probably thinking: more work, more time spent online but just imagine all your social accounts get hacked. What then? What will happen to your audience and your followers?

You don’t need to spend money on building a website. There are a lot of free services you can use for that purpose. Nor do you need to have fancy layouts. Make it simple, easy to navigate; make it count.

Your website would give you some back-up and a place people can reach you at if everything else is lost.

Final Tips

– You need to be active and creative while running your campaign. Don’t sit and wait for the money to roll in. Use whatever outlets are available to you to ask people for help and support. Be proud of putting yourself out there; you are doing a great job; you are daring greatly.

– Don’t get upset with people if they decide not to be part of your campaign; they have free will and can choose. You can still be friends afterwards.

– I believe that to run a successful campaign; you need to be the face of it. No one else is going to care for your campaign as much as you do and no one is going to promote your work, regardless of how much you are willing to pay them.

– You need to put all your insecurities on hold if you want to succeed. I know it’s not easy. At some point, I had to say to myself “Fuck it” and step up to be the face of my project. Believe me; I was scared shitless.

– I’m not saying running a campaign is going to be easy. It never is, so you must make your goals realistic and reachable. Think SMART. There is no point asking people for $200000 if what you need is $5000 to go ahead with your project. You can always ask for more, further down the line when you have more to show to the world.

– Be careful with “we have a mailing list of willing contributors ready” schemers. During my 2nd campaign for Anna and Modern Day Slavery, I kept getting on average two emails a day offering those kinds of services. I just can’t fathom people are not getting increasingly annoyed, continually getting emails asking them for money. Smells a bit like spam to me.

– Although I strongly recommend getting attached to a media outlet I’m not a great fan of paying for it upfront and buying interviews or articles; neither online nor in paper copies. It’s a rather costly marketing tool, and the end result is tough to predict, as, at times, even the most readable publications can’t create enough momentum for projects. If you have to spend lots of money to buy a publication, think twice and research before you do it. Maybe the money could be spent on something else instead?

– I created short ‘Thank you’ videos for everyone who contributed towards my campaigns. I thought it was an excellent way of acknowledging their support. I did it daily, and yes, it was a time-consuming task, but a lot of these people stayed with me throughout the whole project, and I believe my approach was a big factor in it.

– Be generous in words and actions: thank personally for received support (even a short thank you for retweeting may prove very effective); support other campaigns, preferably the ones you truly believe in (at least this is what I did). This way you show people you aren’t only there to take but also to give while building a community of like-minded people. People are more willing to reward others who know how to share.


While you are here, you might also be interested in Creative Distribution.

Filed under: crowdfunding, film production, filmmaking

About the Author

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Magda Olchawska is an award-winning independent filmmaker, writer and screenwriter. She writes not only about making films and writing but also about financially independent and sustainable lifestyle. Her current projects include Ecotopia Universe and School Runs.

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