Successful Crowdfunding – a Demonstration of People Power

By Amanda Rigali on

Dana-Segal-2-RoundhouseStephanie-Graham-Barbican

This blog has been written by two Alumni Arts Fundraising Fellows, Dana Segal and Stephanie Graham.

On the 14th of July, a crowdfunding campaign we managed came to a close. In just 30 days we raised 156% of our target – a resounding success.

The campaign raised money to help republish a book written by composer Daphne Oram in 1972. Oram, who died in 2003, was a relatively little known British electronic music pioneer and inventor. Her book, ‘An Individual Note: of music, sound and electronics’, is a detailed explanation of electronics in relation to music and sound. You could say, it’s quite niche. Or at least that’s what we thought at the start of the project…

Following the campaign, statistics revealed the average donation was just £30 – fairly low when you consider the final total was well over £15,000.

This campaign demonstrates ‘people power’ – 515 people from 24 countries loved this project and wanted to contribute to. It also demonstrates the incredible possibilities available to small voluntary organisations, like The Daphne Oram Trust, when using the internet and platforms such as Kickstarter in order to have a global reach. (We had messages from donors asking if the book could be published in different languages – perhaps that’s the next project!)

The campaign alone also managed to go some way to achieving some of the aims of the project – to raise the profile of Daphne Oram and educate a new generation about her important work. Not to mention, the organisation now has 515 new people to add to their mailing list and to keep in contact with about future projects – successful crowdfunders can be extremely useful for deeper engagement with service users and audiences.

The rewards of this campaign were high, but were of course a result of hard work, preparation and planning. We invested in producing a great quality campaign film that had over 25,000 views, we contacted a number of press, media and other partners to help us spread the word, we took advantage of the opportunities to engage with donors on social media, and created engaging rewards for donors at all levels.

Similarly the Trustees at The Daphne Oram Trust were dedicated, and various tasks in support of the campaign were divvied up according to time capacity, skills and expertise. Milestones and targets were also a vital part of the process, which is why Kickstarter’s slightly riskier ‘all or nothing’ fundraising approach is a huge part of its projects’ success.

So what have we learned?

  • ‘Niche’ can still mean hundreds of people all over the world
  • With a little help from the internet, art and culture can transcend borders and language barriers
  • With some hard work, planning, preparation, and a great story, we can galvanise people

Crowdfunding certainly isn’t a good fit for every project, but when it is, the financial return is only a small part of the story.

People power!

What do you think? We’d love to hear about other successful crowdfunding projects!

 

Posted by Amanda Rigali

Amanda is Director of Strategic Development at Cause4, and Head of the Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy Programme. As well as running the Programme, Amanda runs fundraising training sessions for cultural professionals across England and offers intensive strategy support to a range of charities.

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