Most of you have probably come across different crowdfunding campaigns and the website platforms that facilitate those donations. A few are simply massive in size, while many others are pretty small. At FansRaise, we determined that we would only pursue a dedicated platform for the performing arts so long as we could define the specific shortcomings with the other platforms.
Band fundraising is a pretty well-travelled road. There are a multitude of tried-and-true methods, things to sell and deliver, and some of these fundraisers will become fixed parts of your seasonal calendar. One of the nice things about crowdfunding is that it can take place at anytime of the year, be aligned to any goal that is called for, and is extremely flexible, making it one of the best band fundraising ideas out there.
After a deep dive into the crowdfunding landscape, here's what we learned:
Many Crowdfunding Sites Are Ill-Suited to the Needs of a Performing Group
Many of these big sites (especially the huge ones) simply provide a means to share a campaign landing page URL on a couple of social networks. There isn't much personalization of the message you can create, and nothing built-in to help actually BUILD an ongoing relationship.
Also, from what we've learned - relying on just "sharing" your campaign on social media is not enough to produce compelling results. A multi-pronged approach including direct email messaging combined with other marketing-based principles is the most effective means of raising awareness while calling your donors to action.
Performing Groups Are Going Places - What About the Individual Member?
Org-level crowdfunding is pretty easy to facilitate anywhere (with varying levels of effectiveness). Rarely (and I would suggest "never) do you see an option to allow for an organizational campaign to allow for the members to share in a percentage of the donations (to feed their respective trip accounts or activity fees, for instance).
Marching bands, for instance, have massive needs in terms of equipment, transportation, staffing, and overall overhead. When considering marching band fundraising ideas, the ability to wrap incentives for the students in terms of sharing in the fundraising profit is key.
Do You Want To Play A Game?
Bonus points if you can reference the movie for the quote above, although I may be dating myself a bit. Leave your answer in the comments if you think you know :-)
None of the existing crowdfunding sites we've analyzed goes far enough to explore the full potential of a "game-ified" system for the member performers. The opportunities to tap into the competitive spirit and inter-section camaraderie are tremendously important to maximize your group fundraising efforts.
Once your campaign reaches its conclusion - hopefully a successful one - what is the next move? Most crowdfunding sites are simply useful for the campaigns you run, and then that's it. Wouldn't it be nice to leverage your newly acquired set of donor relationships to bridge over to your next event? Whether it might be another fundraiser, or perhaps an upcoming performance, these other platforms fail to link to your future plans.
Using a system that provides a crowdfunding experience is a great first step - but consider how much more effective your campaign could be with features and capabilities designed with your performing ensemble and your organization in mind?