The New Digital Filmmaker’s Guide: Crowdfunding – Incentivizing Your Audience


Christopher Brennan continues The New Digital Filmmaker’s Guide series with a look at how to incentivize your audience when crowdfunding.

So you’ve decided to set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for your film. You’ve put together an engaging promotional video to help spread the word. Now it’s time to develop a list of incentives that will help get your audience to contribute to your project.

These incentives are usually a list of items and services that you will provide to your contributors to help sweeten the deal (and hopefully convince them to pledge more).

However, this is also one of the areas where most crowdfunding campaigns actually falter. And why is that, you may be asking? Well, simply put, a lot of the times, the incentives aren’t really that appealing.

If you just head on over to or Kickstarter and check out some of the rewards for yourself.. See which ones you might find tempting.

Signed photos of the cast and crew. A chance to be an extra on the film set. Are these really things that you would pay to have? Not really. So why offer them to other people then? Why don’t we start to look a little further and see What Your Contributors Actually Want!

Know Your Audience

First off, in order to find this out, we need to find out who your audience is! Who do you think is going to be donating to your campaign?

Well, we could start with family, friends, peers and colleagues. Usually this is the first port-of-call for any campaign. Start with the people you believe would be the quickest to donate and then widen the net, right?

And considering the fact that you’re making a film, I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet that fellow filmmakers might be interested in donating as well.

And then there are fans of similar projects as well (Horror Fans, Sports Fans, etc).

Okay so now we have the start of your target audience. But already we can see that the traditional gifts and services wouldn’t be that appealing to them. I mean, does a friend or family member really want to be an extra in your film? Does a fellow director or producer really want a signed poster? I know I’m being a bit general.. But you see what I mean right?

Know What They Want

So, take filmmakers for example. If we want to get them to donate to your campaign, then what should we give them that they might actually find useful?

Well, there’s a good chance they will be making their own film soon enough. They might even be crowdfunding the budget as well. So instead of offering them a poster, why not offer to help them with their campaign? This could be as simple as offering to promote their project on your social media pages (This would also be a cheaper option for you as well!)

I mean, wouldn’t you be quicker to fork over a couple of bucks if it could help the chances of your next film being made?

We could even take it a step further and offer to donate money to their next campaign if they offer to yours now. If the promise of cold hard cash in return for cold hard cash doesn’t incentivise your audience, I don’t know what will!

For that one though, I’d recommend you put a limit on the amount of people who can redeem this reward. At least that way, you can control it more.

Anyway, you get my point, right? It’s time to take a look at the people who you believe will actually support your ideas and try to offer them something that they find to be of value!

What do you think? Do you think that these tactics could prove to be fruitful?

Do you have any suggestions for alternative incentives that could motivate contributors to donate?

I’d love to hear it! Either drop a comment below, or tweet @chrisbrennan_1 and let me know!

Thanks for reading and good luck with your next campaign!



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