This lovely collection of contradicting words is the theme behind Live Unchained’s upcoming awards ceremony that will be taking place this fall. The show’s theme was inspired by the British Somali poet Warsan Shire’s of the same title, which celebrates the complexities of womanhood. This exciting awards show will honor the complex, talented and multi-faced community of Live Unchained artists but for it to become reality, we will need to raise funds to cover costs. Check out the amazing campaign video at my favorite fundraising platform, Indiegogo and contribute today!
So, as of Sunday, my Visions of New York art show fundraiser came to a close and I am happy to say that I ended up exceeding my $1500 goal. I raised $2,370, which doesn’t include over $300 I received in outside donations from friends and family.
Like any new adventure, I learned a lot in my fundraising journey and while I can’t say that I’m an expert, I do think I can pass along some helpful tips that I’d like to share.
Kickstarter v. Indiegogo (and god knows who else)
My initial plan was to raise money through Kickstarter, which is famous for it’s “all or nothing” model but after giving it a lot of thought, I felt more comfortable with Indiegogo, which lets you keep whatever monies you raise. I decided to go this route because I needed as much money as I could get, even if I didn’t reach my goal because I didn’t want the additional stress of worrying about not getting anything at all. Unlike Kickstarter, you don’t need to have your project approved for an Indiegogo campaign and you can also use your campaign for a charitable aim, which Kickstarter doesn’t allow. I’d definitely use Indiegogo in the future.
Setting Your Goal
I would say that this is the hardest part of setting up your fundraiser. To get a realistic picture, you really have to have a breakdown of costs, not only for your show, but also for the fundraiser itself. In terms of the project you want to fund, it’s crucial to factor in incidental costs that you may not have thought of, like marketing for postcards or newsletters, postage; art supplies; it really depends on what you want to do. (Today, for example, I found out from my venue space that you have to provide your own event space insurance to cover any liabilities incurred at the show) The more time you can spend planning ahead to price things out the better.
As for the fundraiser, you also have to factor in expenses for that, ESPECIALLY for perks, which is where I almost fell short. It was pretty easy to calculate how much it would costs to produce my tote bags and my larger-sized prints but where it got dicey was my postcard print sets. It took a lot of money in terms of ink and paper, packaging and postage to make them and send them out and I was worried that these costs would eat into my show budget. Luckily, I went over my fundraising amount and that helped a lot but if I hadn’t, that would’ve been a headache.
Of course, this is the most important aspect to raising money. No one can donate if they don’t know that you’re raising money in the first place, right? I found several different approaches that helped generate buzz about my fundraiser:
Creating a video: While it did take a lot of work in putting it together, producing a promotional video was completely worth it. I think it made a big difference in the success of the fundraiser because it told a visual story about my dreams, my goals, and what Visions of New York really meant to me. Additionally, it gave people a chance to actually see me in action and hear my voice. That may not sound like a big deal but people want to feel some sort of tangible connection (even if it’s only via the internet) to the person to whom they’re giving money. Visuals speak volumes and the more that you can provide, the better.
Business Cards: I also made business cards promoting my fundraiser through Moo (love them) with images that will be in the show on the back of the cards Once again, people like tangibles and the card not only gave them a cool visual reminder, but it also was something that they could hold onto because of the pleasing imagery. I also sent off bunches of cards to my friends for them to pass out to help get the word out.
Updates: This also helped a lot in getting contributions. Instead of begging people for money with endless tweets and Facebook blasts, I posted updates whenever someone donated money. Facebook was truly great for this because I could tag donors (as long as they were comfortable with being identified; otherwise, I just sent out a thank-you to anonymous), thank them publicly for their generosity and promote the fundraiser at the same time. Doing so really seemed to generate momentum because shortly after I posted an update, someone else would donate shortly thereafter. I think this is probably how I reached my goal in only 8 days. Plus that, it feels good to show gratitude for people’s support and kindness and you can never say thank you enough when people are willing to support your dream.Plus, I created visual updates every other day; putting the amount raised on an image and sharing it on social media, including Instagram and my campaign homepage. Not only was that a great way to keep people up to speed as to our progress, but it was also a clever way to promote the artwork for the show.
Newsletters: For the entire month of May, I sent out weekly newsletters with donation updates. At first, I was worried that I was annoying the hell out of people with the updates and someone would send me an angry email telling to me to be quiet, but that wasn’t the case. There were a few people that unsubscribed, but that was okay since these people are doing you the favor of cleaning up your subscription list. After all, you don’t want to keep emailing people that just aren’t into you anyway. On a more positive note, writing the newsletters was a way for me to be humorous and creative in telling people about the fundraising progress and people seemed to really enjoy reading them.
Press: Another great way to get people excited about your fundraiser is to get someone to interview you about it. I teamed up with Live Unchained’s Kathryn Buford, who was kind enough to meet up to do a video interview. Reaching out to a local newspaper or popular blog is a great way of growing your audience and get you and your work in front of new faces.Don’t be afraid to pitch your idea to different outlets because you never know who would be eager to do a write-up on you!
The Ups and Downs and the Nitty Gritty:
Let me say that running a fundraising campaign could easily be a full-time job. There were quite a few nights when I didn’t get much sleep because I was up working on the promotional video, making graphic updates, cutting notecards, putting together packages, running to the post office, tweeting, Facebook posting, all while working my day job. In hindsight, I’d probably let go of my inner-control freak and assemble a team of people to help with all the work, although my wonderfully supportive boyfriend helped out tremendously with video production and organization. Thank Sweet Minty Jesus for my iPhone which let me post updates and promotions while I was on the go.
In addition to the nitty gritty, there are the emotional highs and lows of running a campaign. As I’ve said before, I was completely blown away by people’s generosity. Some of my biggest contributions came from people I had never met before, including some that lived in other countries. There were also people that I had only met once or knew me solely through the internet but nevertheless, stepped up to give. I also received numerous contributions from old high school and college classmates and former coworkers whom I hadn’t talked to in years! There were times that I was moved to tears by people’s kindness and belief in what I was doing. I like to think this was because they were happy to see that I was going after something that I was passionate about and living a dream on my own terms. I think this is what most people want to be able to do in life. Those that weren’t able to give were still incredibly loving and supportive and were a big help in just promoting the event. I am very grateful to them too.
As far as lows, I really can’t say that I had that many for this fundraiser. There was a big rush of donations for the first ten days and then things slowed down a bit after I reached my goal, which took away a little euphoria, but really not that much. This is pretty typical of many campaigns, according to my research, so I didn’t really sweat it too much. Towards the end, the momentum picked up again and the donation total surged forward. It was an awesome feeling.
So to conclude, my fundraising experience with Indiegogo was very positive and will likely do it again in the future. I recommend it to anyone and hope that this little tidbits from my own crash-test were helpful.
I’m channeling the late, great Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” as I type this newsletter, because this week marks the last week of the Visions of New York Fundraiser! As of today, we’ve raised $2,030 via Indiegogo, which doesn’t include outside donations totaling $370. We still have until June 1st to raise money, so if you haven’t done so, here is your chance!
Your support and encouraging comments give me tremendous joy and make me feel like I have my own cheering section that I carry around with me everyday as I work on this show. That means a lot. So for those of you have contributed and spread the word, give yourself a hug and pretend it’s from me, because if I was there to hug you right now, I would.
But before I get arrested by the Schmaltz Police (you’re not a real New Yorker until you throw around Yiddish words in everyday speech), I wanted to share with you a video interview I recently did with the lovely and energetic Kathryn Buford of the blogzine Live Unchained. In this brief interview, I share the process behind my photography creations and tell a little more about what you can expect to see at the Visions of New York show.
And so I conclude this final fundraising newsletter with a deep bow of gratitude and an enormous smile. Stay tuned for more show updates in the coming weeks!
**Update! As of May 30, 2012, we’ve currently raised $2,080 with 4 days left!!!
Please pardon the random 80′s dance references but I figured it was only appropriate since, as of May 22, 2012, we have raised over $2000 for Visions of New York!
Yes indeed, what more can I say beyond thank you? Now I really wish I could do a backflip. I’d film it and post in Youtube.
In the meantime, I just wanted to give you this little update to thank all of the generious contributors and to also let you know that there’s still time to contribute. With 11 days left we can continue to help the vision grow! You can do so by visiting the campaign page by clicking here or by spreading the word about the Visions of New York Fundraiser!
Oh, and for those of you claimed your gifts, the rest of them are on their way! I sent out the second wave yesterday so they should be arriving soon. Any issues with getting your perks, email me at email@example.com and I’ll get on it!
Until next time!
So before you all think I’ve lost my mind, let me briefly explain the the title of this here post.
If you have ever watched a soccer match on Spanish television, you’ll now that the television announcer loves to make a resounding shout whenever a player scores a goal. It’s distinctive, stays with you, and even if you don’t speak Spanish you’ll know what it means when the announcer calls out in one drawn out shout: “Golllllllllllll!”
And that’s exactly what I’m shouting these days. As of last week, in only eight days, we raised $1500! I was confident that we’d get there but never expected that we do it so quickly! What’s even more exciting is that the momentum keeps going and we are continuing to surpass our goal. As of this email, the Visions of New York Fundraising Campaign has now raised $1630 with 18 days left to go! We can still make the show even bigger and better, so if you have not already contributed, you can still do so by moseying over here.
In the meantime, I have been very busy putting together my packages to mail out to all of you generous contributors. All the print cutting and packaging stuffing over this weekend had me feeling like Santa Claus in May, but I mailed out the first wave of gifts this week with the rest on their way. Even though the tote bag and the postcard perks have already sold out, there are still more opportunities to contribute and no amount is too small.
Once again, thank you for all of your support, positive comments and good energy. They help me burn that midnight oil!
Until next time,
Visions of New York Fundraising Campaign–http://indiegogo.com/jtodd.
Well, as you can imagine, this past week has been very eventful and has been keeping me busy in the best of ways. My fundraiser kicked off last week and it has been a fun, exciting experience. Within the first week, I’ve already raised $1,085, sold out my all of my $50 perks and we still have two and a half weeks to go!
Putting together a fundraiser is a lot of work but definitely a labor of love. Prior to the official fundraiser kick-off, I was feverishly working on putting together my promotional video. Didn’t get much sleep that week but it was well worth it because the response has been very enthusiastic and I’m so pleased the video came out the way I envisioned it. I wanted to tell a story about my relationship wtih the city, kind of like reconnecting with a lost love.
What’s also been especially fantastic about this experience is just the amount of support I received. People have really stepped up to contribute, all of them eager to see my work in person but also to see me pursue my dream. Their generosity has moved to tears at times because in many cases, people that I barely knew or only met once (or in the case of a generous contributor who gave $55 all the way from the UK) were quick to help. One of my spin instructors contributed money right on the spot after spin class. I could not have imagined that I would raise this much money in this short amount of time. At this rate, I should be able to meet my goal and hopefully beyond! The largest support has also come from fellow artists who are looking to do the same thing and feel inspired by my campaign.
Throughout last week, I created visual updates to keep people in the loop about how far we’ve come. It’s been a lot of fun making them!
There’s a lot more work to be done, but this labor of love has certainly lit a fire under me. Please stay tuned for more updates and if you’d like to contribute, please visit my campaign page!