HOW TO CONVINCE STRANGERS TO GIVE YOU MONEY

Hue loves it when FIT alumni follow their dreams. So does Kickstarter, the “crowdfunding” website that helps entrepreneurs gather seed money for their artistic projects.

Amy Lombard, Photography ’12, succeeded in her Kickstarter effort to publish a book of photos of Ikea showrooms, complete with customers who look like they live there.

On August 5, FIT’s Office of Alumni and Faculty Relations put on Kickstarter School: Bring Your Project to Life, a panel discussion of three alumni who have launched successful Kickstarter projects, plus Nicole He, Kickstarter’s Art, Fashion and Photography Project Specialist, and Sass Brown, Assistant Dean of FIT’s School of Art and Design.

Here is their best advice. (Or you can watch the video of the presentation.)

1. Start by surfing Kickstarter.com and backing lots of interesting-sounding projects. Even $1 will get you email updates about each project. Not only will you learn what makes a compelling pitch, but you’ll also learn to avoid common pitfalls.

2. You’ll need to choose little prizes for each donation level. The most popular giveaway will be your actual product, but think of desirable tie-in products and other offers that help funders feel like insiders. For a $20 donation, Heather Huey, an FIT Millinery alumna whose photo book project was funded, offered a shoutout on her collaborator’s popular Tumblr page.

3. You’ll have to choose a length of time for achieving your funding goal (if you fall short, you get nada!). He (we mean Nicole, not some mysterious as-yet-unmentioned man) recommends 30 days. Less isn’t enough time to build momentum; more and the momentum flags.

Stefan Loble, Entrepreneurship, raised almost ten times what he planned to for his line of easy-care pants. For him, Kickstarter was a way to take pre-orders and get paid before he went into production.

4. There will be delays. Keep your backers in the loop with regular updates.

5. Make a video to promote your project. But don’t worry if it’s amateurish. He thinks some of the most compelling videos have been just a guy mumbling into a camera.

6. Get critical feedback on your page before launching. Not just from friends – from people who will tell you what they really think.

7. Be ready. Have a prototype done. Convince would-be funders that all you need is money. (There are failures out there. Beware the doom that came to The Doom That Came to Atlantic City!)

8. If your project does get funded, be ready to go into production!

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5 Responses to HOW TO CONVINCE STRANGERS TO GIVE YOU MONEY

  1. My friend owns a blog about music production, and I think this would be something should look into. Crowdfunding is such a great opportunity for entrepreneurs who otherwise wouldn’t have connections to fund their projects, but could quite possibly impact their communities, country and society in a remarkable way if given the chance. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Juan Diegas says:

    Given the outrageous unemployment rates for graduates these days, self-employment of any kind makes more and more sense for more and more people. Ideas for financing can make the difference between success and failure. If this makes that difference for only one person, you have succeeded.

    For some inspiration regarding successful self-motivated graduates, see http://www.moneyspork.com articles 5/12/2011, and perhaps for even more incentive, see 3/25/2011.

  3. Informative piece. An eye-opener, it is.
    Susan

  4. Really interesting subject, thanks for info.

  5. mlm leads says:

    whoooooohoooooo
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