The Seed&Spark Blog

Film Crowdfunding
Motivating Your Teammates During Crowdfunding

April 30, 2020

• Bri Castellini

It is a truth universally acknowledged that as the creator of a project, you’re going to care 1000% about it more than even your most excited teammate. This isn’t because your teammates aren’t passionate or because they’re lazy, it’s because it’s yours, and you always love your own work on a deeper level. 


Crowdfunding is a full time job, however, so in order to bridge this passion gap, sometimes your teammates will need a little bit of help motivating them to get involved in the outreach phase to maximize your audience-building potential. We’ve put together some thoughts on making the process of crowdfunding seem more accessible for teammates who aren’t you.


Set expectations early


Your crowdfunding campaign should be part of your production schedule. Be super clear with your team about how the success or failure of your crowdfund impacts the project, and how their involvement will be vital to landing on the side of success. You can even consider building crowdfunding promotional support into contracts, to put into writing what the expectations are.


Of course, if you’re requiring crowdfunding promotion in your contracts, your team needs to equally share the profits. If the money you’re raising doesn’t go towards their salaries, then you’ll need to live with less team involvement. Making art for the sake of making art is easier to justify when it’s your project, not a project you’re hired onto and promoting.


Pre-write emails and social posts


Oftentimes, teammates want to help spread the word about a campaign, they just don’t know what to say in a manner that will connect. And if you’ve ever written a crowdfunding email, you know it’s not as simple as “Hey, give me money [link].” The best way to get a teammate actively spreading the word is by giving them said words. Write them an email template with clear places to personalize (like a mad lib!) so it’s as simple as copy, paste, and sign. They shouldn’t need to reinvent the wheel anyways, and you shouldn’t need to just hope that the tone and messaging are consistent from a variety of writers. The same goes for social media copy — write out exactly what you want them to say so they don’t have to think about it and can just post. (Don’t forget any mentions or hashtags in there!)


You’re already composing this language for yourself, so you aren’t actually doing more work. You’re just acknowledging that they’re busy with their own things, and that the easier crowdfunding is on them, the more likely they are to help out.


Schedule reminders with clear CTAs


It’s not enough to send them one email full of pre-written messages at the beginning of the campaign. You may be living and breathing for every percentage your progress ticks up, but they’ve got full, complicated lives of their own. So schedule reminders for when you know you’ll need the most support with fresh language for them to share and a progress update to get them excited about your momentum. The important thing is to keep these scheduled messages concise with a clear action item they can take as soon as they open the email. Don’t waffle by saying “if you get a chance,” say “Please post this as soon as you get this email.” Be clear, be straightforward, and make it as easy as possible. 


You can schedule emails directly from Gmail now, which makes this process a lot more manageable. When I’m crowdfunding, I often schedule a month’s worth of reminders to teammates at a time, staggering when each receives their own so that someone is talking about the campaign every day (rather than everyone sharing content on a single day and then going dark and then sharing more content and then going dark).


Make it about them


Appeal to people’s favorite thing — themselves. How can you highlight specific teammates regularly so they’re reminded they are a central reason why this crowdfunding campaign is running? And how can you do it in a way that will appeal to their network as well? It can be hard for a family member who wants to support their artsy son/daughter/child/niece/nephew to contribute to a campaign that isn’t run by them, so making sure they’re included in as many materials as possible will help.


Also, utilize your updates! You can get a direct link to all updates posted, so you can promote them on social media and in emails individually. Consider spending a day highlighting a particular teammate and their involvement in the project — do a short text interview paired with photos of them and their work to release as an on-platform update, then dedicate that day’s worth of social media to celebrating that person. Then make sure you’ve scheduled an email to said teammate ahead of time so they know when to focus their outreach to their personal network.


This also helps mix up your promotional content so it’s not all different phrasings of “money please [insert link here],” and emphasizes how much these incredible fellow artists ought to be paid their worth. A win, win, win.


Exclusive content


If you have a teammate with a particular skill who wants to be more involved and just isn’t sure how, design an exclusive incentive out of that skill. Can they sing impromptu songs, like the composer of Swoontown? Can they doodle cool cartoons, like the co-creator of Buy In? Give them the spotlight! Limit the number of incentives available to whatever they’re comfortable offering and also to make them more coveted and special.


Another way of giving your teammates the exclusive scoop is give them ownership over a piece of the campaign promotion. If they know they’re the only (and best!) person for that image, video or announcement, and they understand how it’ll help entice new contributions, they’re far more likely to share it and stay engaged to promote. Empower them with something they really care about. 


Attitude of gratitude


People like to feel useful, and part of the disconnect for most teammates during crowdfunding is not having the same connection to the success or failure of a marketing idea. You’re the one with an inbox full of new contributions and congratulatory DMs, so make sure you’re thanking your teammates publicly and giving credit where credit is due. Did your DP’s mom contribute? Did your producer’s childhood best friend claim a super fun incentive? Shout them out both publicly and privately (send thank you’s as soon as you receive a pledge!), and give all credit to the appropriate teammate so they see a tangible connection between their efforts and the campaign’s momentum.


Behind the scenes


Not all crowdfunding support is outreach itself; half the battle will be research and logistics. If you have a teammate uncomfortable with actually asking for money or being on camera for the pitch video, put them to work on the research phase, helping you define your audience and press contacts and where other teammates should be focusing their attention. They may also be willing to help with organizational tasks like sending out the thank you template to all pledges or helping schedule social media posts (and leave the front-lines teammate to actually respond and engage).

Ultimately, the principles of exciting teammates during a crowdfunding campaign come down to communication and ease of action. If you can lighten the load a little and clearly articulate the benefit of their involvement, you’d be amazed how much more support they have to offer.


Bri Castellini

Bri Castellini is the Film Community Manager for Seed&Spark, a graduate-level adjunct professor for digital media, an award-winning independent filmmaker, and, regrettably, a podcaster. She's known for the web series Brains (creator/star), Sam and Pat Are Depressed (creator/star), Relativity (executive producer), and Better With You (director), as well as the short films Ace and Anxious and Buy In (writer/director for both), and for her podcasts Burn, Noticed and Breaking Out of Breaking in, covering the USA television show Burn Notice and practical filmmaking advice, respectively. She has been described by collaborators as a "human bulldozer" and is honestly kind of flattered.



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