I decided to crowd fund in order to produce Mutts the Book, a collection of mixed breed rescue dog portraits and their inspirational stories, after several unsuccessful attempts to attract a book publisher. I was told that the project was too niche and not commercially viable for them to take a chance on, so either sponsorship or crowd funding were the options to bring the project to life. Corporate sponsorship was a dead end, so I crowd funded. I chose Thundafund because it’s a South African platform with proven successful campaigns. I almost didn’t launch the campaign in fear of it not working (if only I knew) but I planned as best as I could so that as soon as it launched it got traction with an online audience. I decided to make the book a charity project with sales proceeds being donated to Sandton SPCA and CLAW (Community Led Animal Welfare), I figured that the giving back aspect of the project would encourage people to invest. My minimum target goal was R125,000 and the dream goal was R155,000, in fact the project ended with just over R166,000 raised! I have spent the money on the design, layout and printing of 1000 books with cash to spare for a launch event which will be in Joburg on 19th November. We’re on track to donate R150,000 to the two charities once all the books are sold.
I terms of advice, planning is key. I had geared my online community up to expect the campaign and started to generate interest with the Mutts topic by sharing photos and blogs about the book’s backstory etc several weeks before the launch. I posted on social media twice a day, every day with photos, blogs, links and encouragement to donate. I chose a 45 day campaign and I didn’t stop until it finished. I incentivised people to give by offering additional rewards for taking the campaign over the R100,000 mark and the R125,000 mark which helped to generate interest. I made sure I gave shout outs when they were due and I sent out weekly newsletters to my database with campaign updates and enthusiastic encouragement to donate. Whilst we had rewards available, the majority of my money came from ad hoc donations, so I guess people felt like they were part of a community by giving. It was really hard work to keep up the momentum, but I think the Mutts campaign was successful because I didn’t stop promoting and sharing until we got to the dream goal. Persistence and perseverance are key.
By Emma O’Brien