In July, I conducted a crowdfunding campaign to cover travel expenses in order to attend and perform at the National Flute Association convention in New Orleans. I crowd funded for a variety of reasons:

  • a very short time frame of only 3 weeks
  • the importance of performing new music at such a large gathering
  • not knowing when this type of opportunity would come around again
  • and more which you can read about here

As a freelance musician, earning a living in this business is very challenging. Sometimes, no matter how much you learn about the business side of things and implement it into your day to day routine, the new students, the paid gigs, or the cushy traditional jobs just never materialize. This is why crowdfunding can be so attractive.

Crowdfunding is a way for creatives to invite their audience to participate in the creation process, and cultivate a patron-artist relationship that was mostly out of reach of all but those with enough disposable income to commission a piece or painting. Crowdfunding now enables us all to become patrons and shareholders in art that we believe in.

Personal reasons aside, let me walk you through the steps I considered to set up my crowdfunding campaign.

Platform

There are a lot of platforms available for your campaign – Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Rockethub are just a few. Research each site’s fees and decide where your project would best fit. For my recent campaign, I decided to go with GoFundMe, a donation website that can be utilized for a wide variety of causes and projects. Since my campaign wasn’t funding a specific creative project but funding travel costs for myself and my pianist, I felt that GoFundMe was the most appropriate option with affordable fees.

Budget

If you’re setting up a campaign that enables you to keep all the funds you raise, don’t be afraid to set a realistic budget and add 10% to cover the website fees. Although I came very close to raising the entire amount I needed to cover travel expenses, I set a lower budget because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. Be bold and ask for you what you need. If what you’re asking has any value, your supporters are going to help you out.

If they see the value in your project, you should too!

Promotion

Another thing I factored into my overall projections was the amount of time I would need to spend to raise a daily minimum amount. Anyone who has crowd funded will tell you that running a crowdfunding project can become a full time job. I was fortunate in this instance that my budget and daily minimum were low enough that I didn’t have to stay up all hours of the night to raise funds.

With that said, if you’re thinking about crowd funding a project now or in the future, think about your social media presence and your online brand. Do you have a core audience beyond your family and friends? Cultivating a strong network – local and online – will come in handy when you need to raise money. If you have these building blocks in place, promotion will be a lot easier. Don’t try to build a brand and promote all at the same time!

Conclusion

I don’t think crowdfunding is going away anytime soon, but I do think that it isn’t appropriate for every project. If I’d had more time to find travel grants or ways to generate additional income on my own, I would have not undertaken this campaign.

Fiscal sponsorship is another viable option for musicians and Fractured Atlas is one resource for artists. Research all viable options and decide what fits your goal. When you have the details of your project and a projected budget figured out, you’ll be able to decide which option works best for you. You’ll have more success when you use the right platform, whether it be crowdfunding, grants or fiscal sponsorship.

Advertisements

Free fluteboxing workbook

NEA’s article on Innovation

Talent or Practice, which matters more?

Little Free Libraries Popping Up

Gordon Music Learning Theory Workshops, Buffalo, NY

Kickstarter expects to provide more funding to arts than NEA

Sir Ken Robinson on leading the learning revolution

Phillip Glass turns 75

A musical tour of Mexico‘s last 200 years

Love to learn?

Go Easy on Yourself, New Research Urges

Community Supported Agriculture, I mean Arts

Support your locally grown artists!

Quote of the week:
“To find out what one is fitted to do and to secure an opportunity to do it is key to happiness.”
John Dewey

Image from:

http://blogs.walkerart.org/mnartists/files/2010/03/CSA-big.jpg

The Savvy Musician’s best reads of 2011

The 10 Craziest Kickstarter Projects of 2011

How to cultivate originality

Attentive Collaboration by the Audience:  Essential but Not Easy

Jazz’s encroachment on classical station upsets some

The future of classical radio?

Learn about SOPA and Wikipedia’s Blackout Page

Practice with your head, perform from your heart

So you think you know? Discovery in Alexander Technique

The three roots of Performance Anxiety

Making a good first impression

Financial Freedom for Music Entrepreneurs

The day one very determined teacher and The Philadelphia Orchestra changed a little boy’s life

In Philly, Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 7:30PM , a free talk by Eric Booth, Tricia Tunstall, and Stanford Thompson discussing El Sistema: Social Innovation Through Music Education

Wynton Marsalis:  My relationship to MLK

Edna Landau’s popular career advice blog for Musical America, Ask Ednais celebrating its first anniversary with a contest. Music career-related questions must be submitted by January 31 in order to be eligible for the prizes, which include a free career consultation with Edna. Those submitting questions have the option to remain anonymous on Edna’s blog. Just send your questions to AskEdna@MusicalAmerica.com

Quotes of the week:
You don’t have to practice boring exercises, but you have to practice something. If you find the practice boring, you don’t run away from it, but don’t tolerate it either. Transform it into something that suits you. If you are bored playing a scale, play the same eight tones but change the order. Then change the rhythm. Then change the tone color. Presto, you have just improvised. If you don’t think the result is very good, you have the power to change it- now there is both a supply of raw material and some judgment to feed back the process. This is especially effective with classically trained musicians who think they can’t play without a score or develop technique without exact repetition of some exercises in a book. –Stephen Nachmanovitch, Free Play

From Martin Luther King, Jr.–Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.
Images from:
http://www.artsjournal.com/bookdaddy/2008/07/
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/special/mlk/
http://www.songwright.co.uk/2009/12/16/why-any-good-songwriter-needs-to-be-able-to-improvise/
%d bloggers like this: