Creative Kōrero, Funding

Boosted Crowd Funding – Spinning Gold: How to use storytelling to supercharge your crowdfunding campaign

Recently we promoted the webinar Spinning Gold: How to use storytelling to supercharge your crowdfunding campaign put on by Boosted New Zealand’s dedicated Arts and Culture crowdfunding platform.

For those who missed it here is are some golden nuggets we have scooped out to shine some light on the art of putting together a standout crowdfunding campaign.

Boosted Background:

Boosted specialises in crowdfunding arts projects in New Zealand. Since it was launched by the Arts Foundation in 2012, Boosted has supported more than 600 successful art projects, which have raised over $4 million in total. In 2017, over 80% of Boosted projects reached their funding target – that’s one of the highest crowdfunding success rate in the world.

How can Boosted Help:
  • The Boosted team provides one-on-one support. They can help you plan your crowdfunding project, answer your questions and advise you during your campaign.
  • The Boosted platform is open to all art projects, from grassroots to New Zealand’s most established companies and artists.
  • Boosted deliver workshops and seminars on best practice for growing arts philanthropy.
  • They run a highly successful ambassador programme, with a team of practising artists that help guide and mentor project owners through their crowdfunding campaigns.
  • Project support includes mapping the project’s network, drafting a story to capture the hearts and minds of donors, creating a realistic fundraising goal and developing a campaign strategy.
How does Boosted work:
  • Donations start from $5 and donors are eligible for a 33% tax rebate
  • Around 85% of projects reach their funding targets which is one of the highest success rates for crowdfunding platforms in the world.
  • Projects are unable to offer gifts, products or other benefits in return for pledges.
  • People support projects because they want to be part of the successes of those projects, empowering artists to create work in the spirit of generosity
  • Boosted is an all or nothing platform so you need to reach your target or the donations will be returned to donors. Boosted work closely with you to assess your network, your campaign strategy, and how much time you have, to determine how much you could realistically raise.
  • Boosted charges a 10% flat fee on total funds raised of each successful project. There is no fee if the campaign is unsuccessful.
Campaign expectations:
  • You will deed to be single-minded and dedicated for the duration of the campaign -it will take up most of your time.
  • 1-3 months to plan (1-month bare minimum) and a 4 weeks/ 30 day campaign.  This is the sweet spot – any less and there is not enough time. You need to act with urgency – any more and the campaign gets stale.
Making The Ask
  • Why does your project have to be made? Answering this question will help identify the audience that wants your project to be made and may support your campaign.
  • Is this something your crowd are likely to care about? Put yourself in their shoes and consider what their emotional hooks are.
  • Figure out the personal – who might give and what are their personalities.
  • The ‘crowd’ are like groupies invested in getting the project completed.
  • Asking is connecting – “we need your help”, “be part of this initiative”, “come and join this community”, “make a difference”.
  • You will need to be engaging with the community around what you do.
Your Voice:
  • Distinguish the project, what is the long-term character of your project?  The voice comes through in your content and the tone changes depending on the audience and social media channel.
  • Create a vibe and bring it back to the personalities.
  • Create a Social Movement:
  • Bring value to the community by entering their world.
  • Inspire good emotions – awe, pride, humour, parental love
  • Inspire not so good emotions – sadness, fear, anger
  • A strong call to action which must be actionable.  What do you want them to do?  Press this button and give to the cause!
  • Build curiosity – with clickbait subject lines and headlines.
  • Tell stories – use compelling people to get your message across.
Touch Points:
  • People need to hear a message between 3-7 times before they take action.  Ask repeatedly in ways that are fresh and engaging.  Use social media, direct emails, ask over a coffee or by phone, leverage your partnerships, host events, use traditional media or blogs.
  • Facebook is a good tool, but email marketing might be more effective.  It is personalised, you know the person will receive the message, you can customise the design (Mail Chimp), you can tailor your message to different audiences.
  • Don’t ask for money every time.  Keep it short and tell a good story. Ensure there is a strong call to action. Use ‘we’ to give a sense of community and that it’s also about them. Talk about the funding.
  • How can they help make a difference – ‘You can make a difference’.  Make sure they can say no.
  • Don’t ask for funds in the first message.
  • Social media – make sure you provide content that is worth sharing.  The key to a successful campaign is that others share your messages – user-generated content by those that are already engaged.  They will comment, share, view, tag, provide testimonials.  Videos and images work well.
  • Use different messages depending on the social media channel.
Week 1: 
  • Introduce the idea/project
  • Emphasise the impact on the community/world
  • Introduce the team, introduce the ask
  • Do not talk about funding

Week 2:

  • Enrich the story
  • Take people behind the scenes
  • Provide some history
  • Create some fun facts
Week 3: 
  • Make it personal
  • Encourage others to take over the campaign on their social media
  • Encourage user-generated content
  • Acknowledge/thank you to donors
Week 4: 
  • Last chance urgency
  • Reaffirm the ‘ask’

1.      Continue to build your reputation and your networks

2.      Develop personas

3.      Craft your tone of voice for different channels/audiences

4.      Be creative with content

5.      Build your database

6.      Map your touch points

7.      Plan the timeline and key content moments

8.      Wordsmith the ‘asks’ and thank you’s

9.      Launch, hustle and connect with potential donors

10.   Boosted team support – they are there to help!

For a deeper dive into creating a winning crowdfunding campaign visit the Boosted School 

To view crowdfunding projects past and present visit

Creative Kōrero, Funding

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