Crowdfunding, a once in a lifetime opportunity

October 30, 2011 § 2 Comments

This is the third year in a row for me to do a panel discussion at Womex, the world’s largest world music conference. Musician and cultural activist Alan Bern was also on the panel. He is director of a band called The Other Europeans who were selected from over 700 bands to showcase their CD at Womex. This was as much a challenge as an opportunity for him and his band.The Other Europeans


He needed more than 10.000 dollars to fly his 14 member band to Copenhagen. Alan chose to use crowdfunding as a way to raise the budget. He successfully did so on Kickstarter in 43 days and shared some interesting stats and lessons with us.

Alan did 3 postings, with audio and video, spaced in approx. 3 weeks. He reached out to his first circle of friends and fans via e-mail (450), facebook (1075) the band’s fanpage on Facebook (531) and another music fanpage (500).
Each posting caused a wave of backers totaling in 138 backers accounting for 10,971 dollars.

More than three quarters of his backers invested 50 dollars or less for which they received rewards like signed CDs and DVDs. These smaller backers, Alan explained, were very keen on this reward scheme. The bigger backers didn’t care about the rewards. They just cared about supporting the initiative.

In total Alan reached out to around 2500 contacts. There must be some overlap between the different media he used (e-mail, facebook, etc) but it gives us a ball park figure to work with. 138 people actually went ahead and backed the project. This represents just 5% of Alan’s network and the actual figure is less than that, because not all backers came from Alan’s network. The first wave of backers did, but the second and third were friends of friends.

Alan’s experience once again points out to me the significance of having the ability to get that first movement going. Without this group of “first believers” the other backers would have never jumped on board. Alan made clear to his friends and relatives that this project is a once in a lifetime opportunity for him and the band. He succeeded in getting that message out, and that was the key to the crowdfunding success of The Other Europeans. He never made the assumption that thousands of people were sitting by their computers waiting with their credit cards to support him and his band. He went all in. The only way to grab a once in a lifetime opportunity.


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