Someone that you don’t know may want to give you money for your project.

One of the most FAQ I get is “How do I raise money for my show?”

While raising money seems like one of the greatest challenges you will face, it’s not.  Creating a great show is a lot harder than raising money for it (and if you do the creation right, the raising part will be easier than passing Obama’s Health Care plan if Scott Brown wasn’t in office).

Raising money takes creativity, like our ladies involved in the “Producer Off” (who, by the way, lost a pair of oven mitts last week . . . it’s getting steamy over there).

There are people out there that will fund anything.  Think about it.  Imagine the worst show, the worst art exhibit, the worst book, restaurant, movie, product, etc. that you have ever paid for.  Someone invested in it or donated to make it happen.  And if those crap-tastic things can find funding, certainly you can, too!

I call this The Moose Murders Factor.  And I remind myself of this mantra whenever I start searching for the right people to invest in my shows.

They’re out there . . . you just have to find them.

Here’s a website that’s trying to help folks like you find funders.

It’s called Kickstarter.com and it’s a self-proclaimed “funding platform for artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, journalists, inventors, explorers . . . ”

Here’s how it works:

You post a project with a fundraising goal.  People see it (and you push people to it). People fund it, sometimes a dollar at a time.  You reach your goal, you get the cash.  You don’t reach your goal, you get zilch (this more or less guarantees the funders that your project will be completed).

Pretty simple, right? (You can read more about it here.)

The biggest catch is that Kickstarter isn’t open to everyone yet.  Projects are accepted by invitation only.  But, it was founded by a guy in Brooklyn, so I figure if we can’t find some invites, we can all just go bang on his door until he spreads some love to Producer’s Perspective readers.

My only other annoyance?  Theater isn’t a category/tag.  While you can post a project about anything (and there are a few theater projects on the site), you can’t filter by it.  Once again . . . dude, you live in Brooklyn, there are a zillion theater peeps living seven to a room just a few blocks from you.  Help ’em out!

And if we can’t get some assistance from KS, maybe one of you entrepreneurial web geniuses out there will start your own version just for the non-profit performing arts.

Because Moose Murders got money.  So can you.

Need more tips on how to raise money for your project?  Click here to read all my best practices.

Comments
  • Nathan C. says:

    I’m pretty excited about the growing “crowdfunding” trend, but one difference between traditional fundraising and Kickstarter.com is that Kickstarter users are not investing – they’re purchasing. People are committing their money in advance for a particular product, whether it’s a recording or a work of art. For theater, it’s basically like funding a production through advanced ticket sales. It’s good because you keep more of the profits, but it’s a challenge because that’s a lot of tickets to sell to raise the money you need.
    One idea they talk about on the Kickstarter website, though, is coming up with tiered products for different prices. For example, charging $20 for a CD, but $40 for a limited edition autographed CD. It’s fun to think what products a theater production could offer for which people would pay more than the cost of a ticket. Meet the cast? Dinner with the writers? Have their name included in the script? A small walk-on role?

  • Uke Jackson says:

    Kickstarter relies on you finding people to donate/fund/buy. There may be a few people surfing the site looking for interesting projects. However, for the most part, it’s up to you to encourage people to click on a link to your page, then contribute money. My attempt to raise money for a showcase using this site was a joke/disastrous.
    That said, I have one invitation left that will allow someone else to take a shot. The first person to send me an email via ukejackson at ukejackson dot com can have it.
    Uke Jackson

  • Sorry for the shameless self-promotion, but please check out my play on Kickstarter:
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/carolina/in-the-shadow-of-the-lighthouse-a-play-in-two-a
    Tickets to In the Shadow of the Lighthouse are only $49, and we’re offering other rewards, including a speaking part in the play.

  • Kevin Meyers says:

    I love it. Thinking about making some “investments” myself. I’d be even more psyched if there were something more akin to Kiva where you retained an ownership stake (however small) in the projects that you fund. I would imagine the compliance/tracking problems would be crazy, as who knows how many Max Bialystocks there are out there in internet world.
    How cool would it be if there were something like a public market for new plays, where your “shares” could be traded on a secondary market? Would be a fascinating way to see if the market was “mispricing” a new show (I would imagine I could have gotten a share of Xanadu for cheap), or you could “short” an over-hyped show (“Young Frankenstein”)?

  • Adam says:

    It would have to be classified as a purchase or something other than an investment, or it looks like it would violate state and federal securities laws.

  • Kaity says:

    since I found out about the website through your blog, I thought I might try a shameless plug…
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1061396044/the-tragical-history-of-hamlet-prince-of-denmark?pos=7

  • Chris Diani says:

    I have a few Kickstarter invites, so if someone has a project ready to go, drop me a line and I’ll get you hooked up. chrisdiani (at) gmail.com

  • Kathleen says:

    Check out http://www.RocketHub.com, a new site that is similar to Kickstarter, but definitely has the not-for-profit theater’s back. One of the founders is a Broadway veteran.

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