I have recently embarked on my own crowdfunding project and wanted to put together a post on the most useful information I have found in the hope it will be helpful to others.
Supporting other Creatives
I am passionate about supporting other creatives. There are many of us wanting to follow our creative passions and yet struggling to make a living from it, leading many to give up on their dreams and plump for a job simply to pay the bills. We often work in isolation, making the likelihood of giving up on those dreams greater. With this in mind a number of us have got together locally to form Canterbury Creatives, aiming to meet regularly to encourage one another and share our skills and connections. Through this group I have been encouraged to explore the crowdfunding options available with the aim of empowering others to consider these choices in the future.
At the outset I have to admit to having many fears and wrestles with putting myself ‘out-there’ to ask for crowdfunding. Nagging doubts and questions like ‘What right do I have to ask for money?’ and ‘Who would want to support me?’ raged. But I have slowly been able to put these thoughts to the back of my mind and forge ahead regardless.
One of the most influential books I have read in years has helped me with these struggles. It is Jeff Goin’s, Real Artists Don’t Starve. He opens up the history books and demonstrates time and time again of artists making a good living from what they love and are called to do. So often the key to that success has been patronage – others financially supporting the creative works they believed in. One of the modern day vehicles for achieving this patronage is crowdfunding.
The Crowdfunding Options
And so to the crowdfunding options out there. As always at the beginning of any fact-finding mission, the possibilities appear many, varied and at times bewildering. I had to stick clearly to my brief – finding the best crowdfunding option for a UK creative.
As a starting point I found a very useful article on TechWorld – outlining the best crowdfunding options. In researching it was important to look at the date of the articles. As this is a fast-moving space, several of the crowdfunder sites listed in some articles had subsequently gone out of business.
It was very useful at the outset to explore the pros and cons of crowdfunding generally, building upon the experiences that others had already shared.
Narrowing the list
With so many crowdfunding possibilities I had to narrow down the list. I will spend a little time on each of the sites that made the shortlist. There may be others I have missed or that would be more suited to your particular project, so I would always encourage you to also do your own research.
Crowdfunder was a very strong contender for me as it is UK-based. It has been established for a long-time and is widely known. The stumbling block, as a newbie crowdfunder, was that you only receive the funds if you manage to reach your crowdfunding target. For someone who has never done this before, this felt like a huge pressure, particularly given the steep learning curve embarking on anything for the first time.
Unbound “is a crowdfunding publisher that gives people the tools, support and freedom to bring their ideas to life.” This was a really interesting option as an author and maybe one I may consider in the future. However it was ultimately too restrictive for my own project which will continue to be most effective through my usual self-publishing channels.
KickStarter was another close contender with a long history, proven track record and wide recognition. However, it fell at the same hurdle as Crowfunder, as you only receive your raised funds if you meet your target. This is another option I may revisit in the future as I grow in confidence and skills in this arena.
And so to the first of the two crowdfunding options that I have decided to pursue. The first is Patreon. It is significantly different from any of the other contenders, as it is largely membership subscription-based. In other words, patrons pay a chosen amount each month to support your creative work. I really like their site and model as I have so much content that I love to share. I am looking forward to building a creative community excited to share in my news and new book releases.
I have examples of other creatives that I follow, such as Joanna Penn, successfully using this Patreon model.
I am aware that this site is going to take time to develop and is therefore a more medium to long-term goal in funding my creative work.
Just Giving is the second of the crowdfunding options I have chosen. It works well with the work I am doing with a local charity (Canterbury Christian School’s Work Trust) to produce a Confident Rhymers series of seven books to accompany their new confidence building course for young children.
Just Giving is very well-known and respected. The site is incredibly easy to use and well laid out. There is the option for one-off or monthly payments. All the payments are in pounds which is a great advantage to being UK-based. Their fees are also very small (approx 5%) compared to the other options. And the biggest advantage of all for me – you are still able to collect the funds raised whether you meet your target or not.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you found the information useful. If you felt moved to support my creative endeavours I would be extremely grateful. Also if you have any questions about crowdfunding or the work I do I would love to chat further with you. Please either comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a local creative and feel that Canterbury Creatives may be able to offer you support and advice please feel free to contact us through our site.