Fundraising is an increasingly common way for ordinary people to obtain financial support from others in pursuit of worthwhile projects and causes. While you start with a list of people you know, “word-of-mouth” assures that your message will spread to many others and you may end up being sponsored by someone you don’t even know. When you believe in what you are doing, asking others for help is not a form of begging. You are proactively taking the initiative to travel overseas, attend the largest film festival in the world and take a huge step towards the advancement of your career – don’t be ashamed to ask for help in order to make this a reality. It is important to be persistent. You may get a lot of initial rejections and become discouraged at times. However, many people will see the value of you attending an international film program and will support you.
• CREATE A CROWD FUNDING VIRAL VIDEO:
Crowd Funding Viral Videos have played an instrumental role in successful fundraising campaigns for many of our program participants. Whether using indiegogo (http://www.indiegogo.com/), kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/) or promoting the video on your own, crowd funding viral videos are compelling, visually simulating and very informative painting a clear picture for your financier to not only understand but get excited about investing in your fundraising campaign. Here is an example of a Crowd Funding Viral Video from CMIC Alum (Class of 2012) Noah Petrie who raised $6,000 to attend both the Creative Minds In Cannes & the Creative Minds In Toronto Film Programs.
• WRITE OUT YOUR GOALS AND REASONS FOR ATTENDING THE PROGRAM:
When writing your fundraising letter, explain how a contribution to your program fee will make a positive impact. Learn all you can about the program and be able to explain it. If you don’t know about the program or your motivations aren’t clear, your potential sponsor won’t know either. See Sample Fundraising Letter.
• START EARLY:
As soon as you are accepted into the Creative Minds In Cannes Program, develop several methods of fundraising and get started. Look at the total amount of money you need to raise and set realistic goals that serve as benchmarks to keep you on pace. For example, “$1,000 by January, $2,500 by February.”
• START BY MAKING A LIST OF EVERYONE YOU KNOW:
Don’t leave anyone off. You never know who might be willing to help you achieve your goal. The more contributions, the better, so consider expanding beyond your inner circle of close friends and immediate family members. The cardinal rule of fundraising is “if you don’t ask, you won’t receive.” Who do you know? Ask anyone and everyone you know and even those you don’t to contribute to your cause. See our Fundraising Ideas.
• KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE:
Your letters and emails should be no longer than one page. Too much information can alienate a potential sponsor. Many of your sponsors may not be familiar with the intricacies of an international film program. They will be more likely interested in contributing to a good cause (the medical field, caring for children, etc.).
• IDENTIFY YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM:
Some people you contact will be extremely supportive and share your enthusiasm and excitement. Talking to many people and listening to their reactions will help you gauge the level of interest and support they will provide.
• ASK FOR A SPECIFIC AMOUNT OF MONEY:
When you say “contribution,” some people are thinking $5, while others are thinking $500. Tell people how much you need. Let them know the total amount that you are hoping to fundraise. You may even want to outline the cost per day of the program (divide your total program fee by the number of days you will be overseas) and ask to be sponsored for at least one day.
• CONVEY A SENSE OF URGENCY:
This limits their time to forget about giving you a contribution. Give your sponsors a specific date in which to get back to you.
• GIVE INCENTIVES:
Many people who make contributions simply want recognition and praise. It is very important that you write a personalized, hand-written thank you note to everyone who contributes. Create a printed list of all your sponsors’ names (not amounts) and include it in the envelope. Host a small open house before you depart to publicly acknowledge and thank your supporters.
HOST A GET TOGETHER UPON YOUR RETURN AND INVITE ALL
YOUR SPONSORS: A great way to secure funding from religious organizations, civic groups, alumni associations and educational institutions is to offer to give a presentation for them upon your return. Tangible evidence of your actions abroad helps people understand where their contributions made an impact.
• ALWAYS FOLLOW UP ON YOUR EMAILS AND LETTERS: It is important to get on the phone with small businesses, civic or religious groups, your friends and relatives to let them know that you really do need their support. One follow-up call can make the difference between their sending a check or them forgetting about it.