Raise the roof: a guide to creative crowdfunding

So you’ve got an awesome creative idea, there’s just one thing holding you back… cash, dough, lolly, moola, readies…

We’ve all heard about photographers and artists who have raised big bucks for creative projects using online crowdfunding sites. If you want a piece of the action, but don’t know where to get started, we’ve put together an overview of our top picks…

Kickstarter

Probably the best-known crowdfunding website. It works on a rewards basis. You set how much you want to raise and how long you want to run the campaign for. People choose how much they want to pledge to your project in return for a reward specified by you… as a rule bigger pledges get bigger rewards.

Kickstarter is what they call an ‘All or nothing’ system. So if you don’t reach your total you lose your pledges, but you also pay 0 fees if your campaign is unsuccessful.

It can work like pre-ordering and is best when you have a product like a book, series of art prints or set of enamel pins or to fund, plus additional rewards to offer your funders.

Fees: 5% of your funding total and an approx. 3% transaction fee.

We love…

Successful Kickstarter campaigns: FORMA playing cards created in Affinity Designer by Ale Urrutia and this rather nice coffee table design book—Clubbed: a visual history of UK club culture.

Kickstarter: FORMA playing cards created in Affinity Designer by Ale Urrutia

Indiegogo

Another rewards-based platform. Indiegogo boasts partnerships with prototypers, manufacturers and fulfilment companies that other crowdfunding platforms don’t. There is also the option to keep whatever funds you raise, even if you don’t hit your goal.

It also has a marketplace where you can buy successful Indiegogo products.

Fees: 5% of your funding total and an approx. 3% transaction fee.

We love…

The camera gear section, which is full of weird and wonderful photography gadgets and tech.

Seedrs

For some ‘Dragons Den’ level capital raising there is Seedrs. This is an equity crowdfunding platform so they’re talking business. It’s aimed at start-up companies or those looking to expand and raise serious capital from investors. Unlike some other equity crowdfunding websites we looked at, Seedrs handle the finance, legal and admin side of things. They also promote your ‘investment opportunity’ and are open to the public for investments.

Fees: 6% of total funds raised. 0.5% payment processing fee. £2,000 completion fee (excl. VAT). There is no subscription fee to pay.

We love…

MyMiniFactory, a successful 3D printing business and community from the list of Seedrs ‘alumni’.

Buy me a coffee.com and Ko-fi.com

On the other end of the scale is this super cute concept which we love! Add a button to your website or share on your social account to allow people to ‘buy you a coffee’ with a small one-off donation. What better way to keep your creative juices flowing… or keep you awake for those deadlines? (If you spend it on a cup of tea that’s your own business…)

Fees: None! Yippee!

We love…

A double shot latte to go, if you’re buying…

Kiss Kiss Bank Bank

Prize for the best name goes to Kiss Kiss Bank Bank. Aimed at creative industries, this French rewards based crowdfunder has gone from strength to strength in the past 3 years.

Kiss Kiss Bank Bank has ‘mentors’ from business and charities—if one picks your project they can offer advice and extra visibility to your project to get it funded. We think that’s a nice touch!

Fees: 5% of your funding total and an approx. 3% transaction fee (this seems to be the standard rate for rewards based crowdfunding sites).

We love…

Their solidarity category, which has an interesting spread of social enterprises, activism and thought-provoking design.


Subscription fund raising

If you just want the freedom to do whatever it is you do (creatively speaking!) then a subscription funding platform might be for you. These work on the basis of your ‘patrons’ or supporters paying you a smallish monthly fee to support you financially to get your creativity on. You reward them by giving them free stuff and exclusive insight into your processes.

Patreon

Patreon is probably the best known creative industries subscription site, with big name illustrators and content creators making a living from their Patreon supporters.

The idea is your ‘patrons’ can access different levels of subscription, so someone who can only afford $5 a month can still subscribe but will access less exclusive content than a $20 or $100 subscriber. This seems to work well for a lot of creatives and commonly supplied subscriber content includes things like exclusive art prints, behind the scenes/making of videos, art tutorials and early access to special retail offers.

Downside—by using Patreon you’re making a big commitment to your supporters, creating and potentially distributing new/exclusive content on a consistent monthly basis can be quite a lot of work.

Fees: 5% of your monthly patron subscriptions and a small transaction fee.

We love…

Women of Illustration podcast/interview series, Olivio Sarikas who makes Affinity Photo Tutorials and—although not strictly creative—this cat welfare project Kitten Academy (cute kittens on live-feed, you’ll thank us later!)

Patreon: ‘Women of illustration’

Drip

Drip became part of Kickstarter and is its way of dipping its toe into the subscription funding model. It’s currently curated, invite only, as it’s in its early days. With full Kickstarter crowdfunding integration, it is definitely the one to watch.

Fees: 5% of your monthly patron subscriptions and a small transaction fee.

We love…

Nottingham based community manual photography space, The Photo Parlour. Plus, Fireside—a magazine showcasing story writing that is dedicated to paying writers and artists fairly.

Flattr

Flattr’s philosophy is ‘many small streams form a large river’ meaning it’s focused on micro-payments and the philosophy that many small contributions from many users can make a meaningful difference to creators.

It works a little differently from others as it is a service that you as a creator install to your website. Flattr supporters install it to their browser and set how much money they wish to contribute monthly. Flattr’s algorithm measures the way they use the internet and works automatically, assigning money to the Flattr registered sites (e.g: yours) that they pay most attention to. It’s the brainchild of a Swedish company who also makes a top ad-blocking service, an interesting use of tech!

Fees: 7.5% of received revenues plus 9% transaction fee. $3 fee for withdrawing funds to your bank account.

Podia

Podia offers membership subscriptions for supporters of your work but also offers a platform to sell online courses and digital assets for download. Unlike Patreon, it is designed for creating your own shopfront rather than being a hub for viewing and discovering creators. So it’s a professional and integrated solution but the marketing is in your hands.

Fees: a monthly fee for creators to use the service - from $39/month


Good luck and happy fundraising!

So, the most important thing is to find the right platform for you, that meets your needs. If you have a crowdfunding success story that you’d like to share with us, give us a shout via our contact page.

We are not affiliated with any of the websites listed in this article, information is a guide only and accurate at time of publishing.


Artist relations
Charlotte is an illustrator and arts lecturer who is passionate about the creative industries and is now part of our artist relations team. Her interests include mid 20th century inspired design, comic books, board games, movie memorabilia, baking cakes, feminism and yoga. She shares her 1960’s home with her graphic designer husband and her toddler son who likes to hide her iPad. Get in touch with Charlotte if you have work you have made in Affinity apps to share with us, or tag your work with #madeinaffinity in the usual places.
Credits & Footnotes

Hero image by Davide Ragusa on Unsplash.