The last time I checked, Audrey Assad had raised $71,933 USD to record her first Independent album. In fact, she raised so much money that it looks like she is going to record two. That’s not bad for a month-long campaign. Not bad at all.
How how did she do it?
Like so many others creative types, Audrey turned to the crowdfunding website Kickstarter.com. You see, her contract with Sparrow Records had recently come to an end. And now Audrey was an artist struggling to make it on her own once again. But with the help of this amazing fundraising platform, she was able to appeal directly to her fans.
As it turned out, Audrey wasn’t all alone after all.
Kickstarter won’t necessary kickstart everyone or everything; it is limited to creative projects and, as far as I can tell, isn’t available in Canada. Wherever you live, though, a crowdfunding website of some sort is likely within your reach. Indiegogo is one site you might want to explore. Rocket Hub is another. And there are many more, in various stages of development, including Boumchicaboum.
This type of techo-fundraising tool just might be what you need to bring a project you are passionate about to life.
How does it work? The crowdfunding people in New York (Kickstarter) or San Fransisco (Indiegogo) or wherever provide the technical expertise and take a 5-10% cut. Meanwhile, you provide detailed information about your worthy project and come up with some creative rewards. You will need to create a compelling video and also write about the purpose of your project. And then, people who are interested in what you are doing hopefully kick in the cash. This, of course, is the hard part.
One weakness with this approach is that you basically need to have a crowd of people who are interested in what you are doing before you start. While you will gain some exposure, this system doesn’t primarily create support. Rather, this online tool provides a way for people to express their support. In other words, this method works best if you already have a community, a network, or a fan base of some sort.
As well, giving from such a distance implies a large amount of trust. For unlike a nonprofit organization, a governing board will not oversee how the money is spent. No audits are required. No financial statements will likely be forthcoming. This means that your project will need to instantly have obvious merit aside from meeting pressing personal needs.
People will need to have very good reason to feel confident that you are not a crook or a crackpot looking for some easy cash.
After taking the time to explore the Kickstarter site, it appears that more than a few loons have landed in this virtual fundraising pond. Would an Indie debut recording featuring 12 monotonous tuba solos receive the same kind of support? Probably not. Some people might get paid more if they promise to stop playing.
And while I am sitting on enough material to create my very own “Weird Nathan” album complete with potential hit songs like “Big Yellow Tow Truck” and “We Didn’t Start that Fire” inspired from listening to Joni Mitchell and Billy Joel…I think I’ll wait.
At Kickstarter, less than half of the projects advertised on the site actually reach their fundraising goals. Pause for a moment and let this sobering statistic sink in. This implies that anyone looking for a money tree to shake should probably look somewhere else. But at the same time, this online platform certainly has potential. Actually, it has an amazing amount of potential. Anybody can make use of it. And it is free.
This online service might just be what you need to bring your dreams back to life. What have you got to lose if you give it a try?
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