Crowdfunding is a great way to secure funding for your album, art project, film, business idea, tech product, or whatever project you have in mind.
But this doesn’t mean that there aren’t costs associated with running a crowdfunding program.
What this means is that you need to create a budget for the costs you will surely incur on your way to launching a successful campaign.
How much does it cost to run a crowdfunding program?
That largely depends on the nature of your project, but let’s take a look at the many costs that you could run up in the process:
There are two major costs associated with getting a prototype made. They are:
- Design – You may need to hire graphic designers or even specialized product design companies to create drafts, templates or 3D renders, along with the proper specifications for your product.
- Manufacturing – 3D printing is a popular option for the manufacturing of a product prototype. But don’t fool yourself – manufacturing can be costly. On the upside, when you have a display model, your backers will take you more seriously, and you can also have samples made up to send out to the media.
When you want to run a successful campaign, you must prepare media assets – particularly photos and video.
Your backers don’t get to hold your product in their hands before choosing to support you. This means that they’re going entirely off of what you show them on your campaign page.
Photography can be relatively inexpensive, especially if you have a quality DSLR camera, or know someone that does. But it’s still important to get quality photography, so if you’re going to go the DIY route, make sure to spend an adequate amount of time getting the perfect shots. Hiring a professional can run you anywhere from several hundred dollars to a couple thousand dollars.
Video is just as important – if not more important – than photos:
Unless you know for certain that you can call in some favors, you’re going to have to hire a professional to get it right. It’s not worth producing a low-quality video on a smartphone or webcam. (Here are some videos of recent high earning campaigns)
Promotion costs can vary quite a bit from one project to another, as it largely depends on the resources already available to you – cash, connections, time, and other resources.
Building awareness, however, is critical to the success of your campaign, and will likely cost you something.
Here are just some of the strategies that could increase your overhead:
- Advertising. With online advertising, you can adjust your daily spend to match your budget. You don’t necessarily need to spend a lot to get a good amount of exposure, but it can add up after you’ve been running them for the duration of your campaign. Seven Figure Funding provides a step-by-step system for getting your crowdfunding ad spend to be profitable.
- Events. You may decide to make appearances at trade shows, expos, networking events, and other places where your target audience is (prototype in hand). You could end up paying quite a bit in entry fees.
- Press release distribution. With press releases, you can get your message in front of bloggers, journalists, and other media influencers. Distributing your press release can cost you a few hundred dollars, and you’ll have to pay even more if you need to hire a writer to create the content.
- Marketing consultant. You may choose to hire an expert to help you promote your campaign. They are definitely worth the money, but they don’t necessarily come cheap. Funded Today, for example, is one of the top crowdfunding agencies with a track record of successes–their take tends to be about 30% of the final raise during your campaign; but, with a team like Funded Today on your side, you are sure to raise multiples of what you’d make on your own.
The primary campaign costs include:
- Platform fees. For example, Kickstarter takes 5% of the total funds raised, and there’s an additional 3% on their payment processor, plus 20 cents per pledge. Indiegogo requires 4% of total funds raised, plus 3-5% on their payment processor.
- Fulfillment. Design, packaging, shipping, and customs can all factor into your overall fulfillment costs of products and other incentives or perks. This will vary depending on the number of backers you have.
A crowdfunding program can cost as little as a couple thousand dollars, maybe a few hundred if you’re lucky. On the high end, you could end up spending tens of thousands of dollars (five figures).
This is why it isn’t advisable to launch a campaign without first being aware of the potential expenses that could come along with it.
Also remember to be wise with how you spend your money. Some “marketing” strategies or techniques – like buying social followers – are generally a waste of your time and resources. Yet, with the right preparation, media outreach, marketing partners and luck anyone can have success when crowdfunding.
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