What Makes a Compelling Crowdfunding Video?
Artists looking to build support by using your own network often run crowdfunding campaigns. Crowdfunding refers to time-limited, goal-oriented fundraising. Unlike other ways to raise money, crowdfunding depends on smaller donations from within your own community, often shared on social media.
Crowdfunding campaigns let you make your case directly to potential donors, through a variety of means. Crowdfunding campaigns let you include a text pitch about your project as well as other media, including video. Crowdfunding campaign videos are the best way in a crowdfunding campaign to make a personal connection to donors, to get them excited about your project, and enthusiastic about being a part of its success. Donors can see your face, hear your voice, and see examples of your work all in one place.
A great crowdfunding video can make your project come alive whereas a poorly-done video can leave potential backers feeling confused, uninspired, and unattached to your work.
Fractured Atlas works with artists to help you raise money in a variety of ways. Through our fiscal sponsorship program, we help you apply for a wider breadth of grants and receive some benefits of our status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. We also offer our members access to our crowdfunding platform to run tax-deductible crowdfunding campaigns. We are dedicated to helping artists support your work, and giving you the tools and strategies that you need to do so. Plus, we share tips and best practices, like our Ultimate Guide to Fundraising for Artists!
So, how do you make a crowdfunding video that really gets your message across, especially if you aren’t a filmmaker? Here are some important tips to remember:
Create a Personal Connection
One of the major benefits of a crowdfunding campaign is that you can let your personality shine, more so than other forms of fundraising. Your campaign video is an opportunity for you to be familiar, personal, and personable.
When you apply for a grant, you have to be able to clearly answer a number of specific questions about your work, its impact, your budget, and more. The mission with a grant is to show how your work aligns with a funder’s mission. The goal is different with a crowdfunding campaign. You are speaking person to person, not person to institution, so you can be a bit less formal.
While you certainly want to take care of all the nuts and bolts of your pitch, do it in a way that lets your personality and your enthusiasm show through. Speak from the heart and make eye contact with the camera to build that personal connection with potential crowdfunding donors.
Make Your Case Clearly
As an artist, you probably have big and ambitious dreams. It’s hard to distill your vision into a short video for the same reason that it’s hard to write about your art in a grant application. But nevertheless, you need to be able to make the case for your work succinctly.
Someone watching your campaign video should be easily able to answer the basic who, what, when, where, why, and how of your work. They should be able to do this even if they don’t already know you and aren’t already experts in your chosen field or medium.
You should clearly state why your work is important and what it brings to the wider world. You should address why it is important that you specifically make this work and why now is the right time for it.
If you’re worried about being clear enough in your campaign video, make sure to run your script and your video past friends or collaborators to get an outside opinion.
Pro Tip: According to Indiegogo, you’ll want to keep your video under three minutes.
Articulate Your Goals and Plans
In addition to getting people excited about your creative vision in your crowdfunding video, you’ll also need to address how you will use the money you raise. What are your expenses, and how will you allocate funds?
Will you allocate certain percentages to different expenses or will you wait until you can completely fund one aspect of your work before adding on others? For example, will you spend 15% of whatever you fundraise on hiring someone to run social media for your project or will you only hire someone to help with social media once you’ve raised enough money to print 100 posters?
Potential donors could be worried about getting scammed by a crowdfunding campaign; by donating money to a campaign only to never know where the money is going, never getting their perks, or, worse still, hearing that the money that they donated only went to line the pockets of the person running the campaign. Clearly articulating your plans for the money you raise can ease donors’ minds and show that you are accountable to your donor community.
Show Examples of Your Work
Regardless of the work that you make, you should use your crowdfunding campaign video to showcase that work. You could include a short clip of a past performance so that people can see what your finished work could look like. You might choose to shoot some footage of your team rehearsing or working together to highlight the creativity and collaboration in your project. Even if you don’t work in performance, you can still show your work in a crowdfunding campaign video. Consider showing images of your work, whether that’s photography, ceramics, painting, or comics.
It adds extra oomph to your own personal narration and description about your creative vision if you can show people at the same time as you tell them. It helps people draw connections between you and your work, and can make your project feel more vibrant and inviting for potential donors.
Focus on a Quality Video
As an independent artist or small arts organization, you might not be able to hire a professional team to script, shoot, and edit your crowdfunding video. But you can still aim for high production values on a DIY budget. If you are filming with your camera phone, use a tripod (or approximate it creatively with pillows, books, tape, and whatever else you need. Shoot your footage in good lighting (natural lighting is always best).
You can use free or inexpensive tools on the internet to edit your video or to add graphics and text to your video to give it a more polished feel.
Use Your Community to Create Your Crowdfunding Video
Crowdfunding campaigns require the investment and excitement of your pre-existing network. Your family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors will be the people you are reaching out to for donations. To make your crowdfunding campaign video as strong as it can possibly be, reach out to that community.
Run your script past your friends and colleagues to edit and comment before your film. You might know someone who could act as your “cinematographer” or who could edit your video for you. They might do this as a donation, or you could work out a trade with them. If you are worried about making a successful crowdfunding video because you don’t usually work in video, enlist members of your community who can help!
A bonus is that by asking for help from your community, you can increase the number of people who feel connected to your project and to your fundraising campaign. They might be more likely to share your campaign to their networks, broadening your reach.
Your funding community has a lot to offer beyond just money, including skills that they can donate or trade.
About Nina Berman
Nina Berman is an arts industry worker and ceramicist based in New York City, currently working as Associate Director, Communications and Content at Fractured Atlas. She holds an MA in English from Loyola University Chicago. At Fractured Atlas, she shares tips and strategies for navigating the art world, interviews artists, and writes about creating a more equitable arts ecosystem. Before joining Fractured Atlas, she covered the book publishing industry for an audience of publishers at NetGalley. When she's not writing, she's making ceramics at Centerpoint Ceramics in Brooklyn.