Fundraising For Documentary Video Making
Hello Video Production Tips readers!
I am thrilled to be able to publish this article on fundraising by Faith Fuller. Faith’s website is called Desktop Documentaries. She has more experience in fundraising than I do, so this article is a fantastic addition to the information already on this blog. Many of you are aspiring documentary filmmakers and I hope this information will help you launch your dreams. Fundraising is an essential piece of the puzzle of course as nothing will get created without money. Good luck to you all. The world needs more documentaries!
Documentary Fundraising: Why Everything You THINK You Know About Raising Money Is Flat Out WRONG!
By: Faith Fuller
You may be asking yourself, “Why would someone give money to make MY dream and MY documentary a reality?” Although this is a very natural question, this approach is often flat out WRONG.
Here’s the secret to documentary fundraising:
Instead of thinking about the documentary as YOURS, think of it as a COLLABORATION THAT BENEFITS MANY PEOPLE, not just yourself. If you can think of your documentary project in this way, you will dramatically improve your chances for success.
My father was one of the greatest fundraisers and inspirational speakers of his time raising hundreds of millions of dollars for the worldwide organization he founded, Habitat for Humanity International. He truly believed that when he asked someone to give money to Habitat, he was giving that person an opportunity to be blessed. He felt he was doing that person a FAVOR by asking them to contribute.
Think about that just for a moment.
Think about a time YOU donated to a cause you believed in. How did it make you feel?
People donate to documentaries for various reasons and understanding WHY people give can help you understand how and when to approach them.
Top Five (5) Reasons People Donate To Documentaries:
1) YOU – Of course, there will be that small group of individuals – family members and very close friends – who WILL donate to your project solely because of YOU. It doesn’t matter if your documentary is about french fries or the economy, they will support the project because you’re the one doing it. And even if they are donating just because of you, it makes THEM feel good to help out a loved one… so they benefit too. 🙂
2) CAUSE – these people have a deep connection to the subject matter of your film (just like you!) and they want to support getting the message out to a larger audience. Often times people feel they can’t do much as an individual, but as part of a group, their voice (and cash) is collectively much stronger.
3) COOL FACTOR – If you can offer people the chance to have their names in the credits, this alone is worth giving a donation. Most people don’t know how to (and will never) make a film and if you can make them feel part of the production effort, the cool factor alone is incentive enough to get people to contribute. (Check out the documentary fundraising campaign for FrackNation. Anyone who donated even $1 got an Executive Producer credit and they raised more than $200,000!)
4) FREEBIES – If you can give away some unique gifts in exchange for a donation, getting something in return can be a great motivator for donations. For example, giving away a “limited edition DVD of the film”, a signed movie poster, a unique trinket related to the film such as a stuffed animal or hand-crafted piece of artwork or even a chance to join the crew “behind the scenes” on a shoot. Coming up with cool freebies can pay off big. Go to crowd-funding platforms such as a KickStarter and IndieGoGo to learn more about setting up free giveaways or “perks” in exchange for donations.
5) BUSINESS – Companies will be motivated to provide support for your film if they feel it’s a good advertising or public relations opportunity. If you can prove that your film will be seen by potential customers, they’ll be all ears! Promote their logo on your website and in your publicity materials in exchange for a sponsorship.
Typically, people will donate for a combination of the above reasons. They not only believe in the CAUSE, they believe in you and your crew’s ability to get the job done. They like being part of something bigger than themselves and they TRUST the money will be used wisely.
Bottom line: think of yourself as a facilitator rather than a recipient of a hand-out. Look for PARTNERS and COLLABORATORS and make your project a win-win for everyone.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Faith Fuller is a regional Emmy-winning documentary producer and the author of 25 Fundraising Ideas for Documentary and Video Projects, a free e-book you can download instantly to get specific ideas on how to start raising your first $10,000 for your documentary.
You can access the documentary fundraising e-book here