I am, by all accounts, a rather inquisitive fellow. That’s why about halfway into our crowdfunding campaign I asked myself: what are we really trying to achieve here? Not because we were getting bad results or because we didn’t know what we wanted or anything like that. I questioned what the ultimate end goal of a crowdfunding campaign should be because no one ever told me. The logical endgame is to get funded, right? Some might say that this is a stupid question. Your goal is to reach your funding goal. It’s that simple. Stop making this more difficult than it needs to be. But, here’s where I become the annoying kid in the class. If the only goal of crowdfunding were to get money aren’t there much better ways to go about doing that? If you really believe in your product you could cold approach businesses, you could offer partnerships, you could become a street performer if you wanted to. So, why crowdfunding?
I can tell you why we did it. I can’t necessarily speak for everyone else, but I can tell you why it was always our number one option. It connects you: the seller directly with your audience which in a perfect world is: the buyer. The problem is that who is paying attention to you isn’t always the person who wants to support you or buy from you. You’d think that if you’re following someone on Twitter or if you’re friends with someone on Facebook it’s because you like them in some capacity. As an artist I like to think that people follow me because they like hearing what I have to say. That’s not always the case though. In fact, I would venture a guess that that’s not the case in at least fifty percent of the cases. That’s right I don’t think at least half of our audience really cares about what we’re doing. Furthermore, I think that this is normal in most crowdfunding campaigns.
I wish there were some easily accessible research available on how many clicks you needed to get in order to raise a certain amount of money. At least that would give you an approximation of how many clicks you’d need to get. It wouldn’t provide you with the numbers on exposure. I don’t know how many people you’ve got to get your campaign in front of before people actually take that leap with you and donate. I bet it’s pretty high though. What’s more is I’d like to see research showing whether having pledge levels and rewards makes a significant difference in getting donations. We decided to go with GoFundMe because the hardest part of figuring out our crowdfunding strategy was deciding on rewards and reward levels. If I had to do it over again I’d probably go with pledge levels because at least from what I’ve seen it does seem to make a legit difference. Whether the numbers back this up is something that remains to be seen.
One thing I see a lot of is comparisons with other things that are being crowdfunded out there. I’ve had people ask me when compared with saving a dog from a kill shelter or providing money for medical bills if they should give to my campaign. The answer is simple. I don’t think the two can be compared. As an artist my goal is to enact social change. What people who are asking for money to pay their medical bills are looking for is a necessity. Does that make one better than the other? Of course not. I think they’re false comparisons. The goal of our campaign is to raise awareness for a sport that can help you and your dog and to raise money for us to help raise awareness by making a film about it. It boils down to where you think your money is best spent. If you simply want to give your money away then donate it to the person who needs it for medical bills. If your goal is something bigger then take a look at what we’re doing. Let me be clear: I’m not saying one is better than the other. I’m not saying that the goal of one campaign is more important or significant than the other. The purpose is different.
We have a way of looking at the world that is fundamentally different than most people. At the end of the day that’s why you should invest in us. As artists we know that the only way to bring about the change we want in the world is to be the change. We could ask for this film to get made. We could ask for people to give more awareness to flyball and we have tried that. We didn’t get far in either effort. That’s why we said: okay, we need to do this ourselves. These stories aren’t going to get told any other way and these stories do need to be told. The larger crime here is that studios and production companies do not believe that there is power in ordinary stories. Look at the top films at the box office. Look at the only options studios are providing their audience. There are superhero movies, there are remakes, there are reboots and there are sequels. We do not believe that these options are acceptable.
Our war is not being waged in the crowdsourcing community. We don’t want you to choose between funding our campaign and saving a dog from a kill shelter. We want you to donate to both. Both of them are good causes, but the purposes of each is different. One of the things we wanted to do when we started this campaign was partner with a charity and donate ten percent of our earnings to that charity, but you know what? The charities that our fanbase wanted to donate to either had a policy against partnering against crowdfunding campaigns, didn’t want to actively solicit funds with us or didn’t even get back to us about it. I think this puts a lot of campaigns who want to do something good with their campaign in a rather precarious spot. We want to help people and so do our fans, but the causes we want to help don’t want our help. That’s a tough position to be in.
All of this brings me back to my original question. What is the real goal with a crowdfunding campaign? I think the answer is simply to raise awareness. It’s not so much that you raise all the money you asked for or that you get funded, but that you told your story and engaged with your audience. As long as you do that anything else that you get is simply a bonus. We’ve had nearly five hundred unique visitors to our fundraising page and that’s awesome. That’s a lot more people that know about what we’re doing than where we were when we started and as far as I’m concerned that’s a win.