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Before you go for funding - How to take your marketing into your own hands for your project (and accelerate fundraising potential)

I recently had a meeting with a lovely independent film producer who had produced a fantastic film which he was looking to raise money for. The film was borne out of true passion and a whole lot of hard work – and it is at the stage where the film can be watched (I went to a preview of it – amazing movie) and needs financial boost to get the film finished and out there.

Film fundraising is a lot of effort and it feels like you are hitting a brick wall – when the creating of the project in itself was such a big task, people can feel they are running out of steam and their efforts are meaningless if they cant get together that final funding.

A lot of money needs to be raised and it often has to come from individuals who have “high net worth” and who are willing to invest their hard earned money into what many think of as a high risk investment. Friends and family are often asked as well – and people don’t want to lose face and not deliver or let down those who have supported them.

When you are cash strapped, the idea of spending money on marketing and website design when you feel all should go into funding the film and the marketing seems to be risky in itself. What if it doesn’t work? Are you just throwing money away?

Get your house in order first

Before you go onto Kickstarter, Indiegogo or to friends and family to ask for money for your project, I say – do some ground work. Get your project online, in whatever stage it’s in – and present this as professionally as possible. Tell the story of where you are, where it came from, what you want to achieve. Write in a way that appeals to your audience.

And include a blog – so you have your OWN place online for articles and embedded images/videos. This is the place you control, that doesn’t rely on journalists, PR companies or anyone but you.

Then create a content marketing plan – and implement it

The thing is, marketing equals communication and awareness raising. Without people knowing about your project – whether it’s a film or something else you will never meet your goals. You need marketing for ever aspect of the process – from raising money to get project to get off the ground – to getting people to buy into the project when it’s complete.

Some strategies don’t have to cost a lot. It basically takes three things.

  1. Mindset – You need to embrace digital media and know that some new skills and activity are needed – but the learning process is fun and so rewarding!
  2. Time – When you don’t have a big budget, you need to put your own time in. But think 5 hours a week, not 5 hours a day.
  3. Skill – The skills will include how to use tools like WordPress, Twitter, cropping images, and basic straightforward design. These are all skills that we teach our client in 1 to 2 hour sessions. You don’t need to be a designer or a coder – these skills are actually quite quick to learn.

So to break this down into a simple 3 step strategy. Because if you have 3 steps – it seems doable!

  1. Define your audience and what you want them to believe. Only you know what this is. What do you want people to know about your project and possibly, about you? What do you want them to believe?
  2. Create a content plan. This involves coming up with ideas for content – that can be created and posted on your website, your blog, on YouTube, as PDFs, as emails – etc. Each piece of content needs to be written and put together in a way so that it helps people to believe what you want them to believe. Remember a crucial part of this: you need to have top notch writing skills and make sure you present your content professionally. You can enlist the help of talented copywriters, and designers. The content should be a mixture of, for example, success stories, mentions you have had in the press or on digital media, little interesting snippets about your project, sneak previews, images and quotes – a whole mixture of different things that all help to create the impression you want to give.
  3. Create a plan on how you are going to get your content seen. Anyone who is involved in the project can pitch in. The simple act of people cleaning up their online personal branding (an online audit), and learning simple skills on how to share content across their own socia media channels – is so effective. If everyone in your team does this, then not only will you get traction from those who are connected with those people, but also from reshares from their connections. The content that you create will then be shared and shared again.

The ultimate aim?

Raising awareness, starting with your own community, which will grow over time naturally as you become more active online.

By sharing great content that you create you’re generously giving people a peak into different elements of your project.

How I would help

If you want my help – I am here for you. I often help clients navigate their way through these skills and work with to help raise awareness about their projects (and businesses). Each session will focus mainly on a specific channel. Throughout it all we look at the strategy – this means remembering:

  1. Who are we? What is our story?
  2. What do our audience want to see/learn from us?
  3. What problems can we solve?
  4. What do we want people to believe?

This inspires all sorts of ideas for content. I would use this to help you create the amazing headlines that can be used for blog posts and other content.

Then I go through practical and technical skills – how to do a personal branding audit (including getting the best LinkedIn profile and writing online bios), how to share images online in the different channels, how to write great headlines, what content to post when and on which channels (creating a content calendar) and how to use Twitter effectively.

All this is available if you want it, but either way would love to know how you get on with my 3 step strategy if you choose to use it. The decision, as they say, is yours!

Update March 2021

Leo Corado, who helps nonprofit companies bring their advocacies close to their audience, wrote and suggested we could add a link to a more indepth take on the topic about crowdfunding tips from Donorbox. You can find it here – 

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