Morning cakers, just to keep you updated I believe today is the last day of our Crowdfunder campaign and it didn’t work out for us. I have actually tried to withdraw the campaign before now, but I couldn’t seem to work out how (more of that later).
I always knew that a network would be very hard to fund: there wasn’t a quick win (i.e. it was for up to 2 yrs of funding for speakers, travel assistance, marketing). A network can continue with or without funding. And we are very new.
But I thought both the writing of the pitch, and the hope of funding, would refine what I wanted to achieve with this gathering of Creative sorts, and be good PR and marketing. Crowdfunder also advised me it was a “great idea” and the sort of thing they wanted to support.
And in the beginning, with lots of RT’s from different folks (including people from this network and some ‘slebs), our profile was indeed raised! However, we just didn’t get the support we needed from Crowdfunder, and myself and others who worked hard to make this much talked about June 3rd launch, were very disappointed by lack of support, media coverage, marketing and other opportunities. There were also major technical issues on the site, twice (possibly three times) they had to intervene because the site wouldn’t let me sign in, edit, etc. Which made updating, very difficult.
After an email from them several weeks in, asking what they could do to help the campaign, I wrote with some concerns. Including how they invited some but not everyone to the only press coverage they organised in the entire month.
I spoke to three other projects, who were also pretty angry that much had been made of the ‘Cornish Campaign’, but that “nothing had really been achieved”.
They did reply to my email, and said essentially we had to do the work, they had 40 or so projects and had to give equal time to each, but that they accepted they should have invited everyone to the launch.
Unfortunately, the tone of the email was pretty dismissive, including the suggestion that we hadn’t been doing any work to promote our campaign. And I’m sorry, but they didn’t give equal time to all. We (and these other projects) were never project of the week and we never got RT’d unless we @ them into our tweet), for example. All quite small stuff, but as someone very good at marketing and communications, I can tell you the devil is in the detail. If you’ve told people there will be a big launch and lots of media coverage, I would argue you have to deliver on that. You also need a rolling programme of ‘favouriting’ each and every project in rotation.
In the end, there were a couple of people who wanted to donate, but I told them not to as we came to the end of the campaign, because even with their contribution we would not have made the target. Perhaps they might like to donate independently.
Is it disappointing? Well, yes. There was always a chance that it would capture someone’s imagination and we would get funded. It’s also a shame that a lot of work came to naught, in part because there was no big launch or publicity of any sort. I’m personally grateful that this network seems to appeal to a lot of people, and new connections have been made, however, and this was an opportunity which I grabbed but which didn’t work out. C’est la vie!
It’s important, for fairness, to highlight that other projects can and do get funded, and some exceed funding! So clearly it is a process that does work for some.
Perhaps this will be taken as sour grapes. Although I was careful to write a constructive email before the campaign ended, to illustrate what I thought was inconsistent and ineffectual support, and I was only answering a direct question.
Thanks must go to Samphire Gallery, who offered a very special one-off print, as an enticement to our £100+ donators.
If you’re doing a campaign, let me know. We can highlight it on here and offer some other support and I hope the campaigns that have featured on here, smash their targets!
* as of today, none of the Cornwall Crowdfund campaigns have raised the full amount. One project has raised 69%, and most have a few days left, but a lot of projects have raised very small amounts… *