Creative Mullumbimby on grassroots marketing
Project Coordinator Suvira McDonald talks to us about Creative Mullumbimby’s MATCH campaign for his work, ENTER HERE, the first stage of the Mullumbimby Sculpture Walk.
A successful fundraising campaign requires strategy, preparation and time. Tell us about your fundraising strategy.
We decided on a multipronged approach, however it was always to start with a video involving community members as well as me, the project initiator. Because this project was specific to the community of Mullumbimby we wanted to appeal to everyone in the community.
We identified businesses as a potential major source of funds, and also appreciated the need to appeal to the community through an email campaign as well as radio, social and print media.
What was the most effective approach you used, and why do you think it was so successful?
Approaching business owners was the most successful part of the mix because we already knew we had support from the local chamber of commerce.
Nearly half of our funds raised came from only 8 supporters, most of them businesses. We called on chamber support in the email campaign. It did require personal door knocking follow up though – not just the conventional social media interactions.
Did your strategy change during the course of the campaign? If so, why?
No, we stuck to the plan because it appeared to be working.
What, if anything, would you do different in your next crowdfunding campaign?
Hopefully there would be not so much door-knocking required because next time we will have tangible evidence of the effectiveness of the project with the first sculpture, a major work, in place. A little more of the same print and social media should arouse the latent support.
What advice would you give to other artists looking to use crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is a very time consuming job. It requires continual work over the period. Be prepared to spend major time on the campaign. Our campaign does not typify crowd funding as it is a community project and the audience is very localised and there fore did not necessarily have an exclusively social media orientation.
I spent a lot of time making face to face contact with business owners. So my advice would be to identify the potential sources of funding and direct the effort to communicating with precision.
Did this experience improve your understanding of your supporters and how you communicate to them? Can you share some insights with us?
It did improve my understanding and I also appreciate how difficult it is to make any generalisations about it.
The power of personal contact does take a good idea into another level as I think many people recognise how many good ideas there are out there these days, but associating a person or people with the idea can often be what gets it home.
One of the aims of MATCH is to support artists to find new donors. Were you able to extend your support network and is this something you’ve been able to maintain?
We definitely extended the support network and we will be able to maintain it, I believe, when the project extends into the next phase. We have made interim statements of the progress of the work through the media and to our supporters and having a physical presence (a large public sculpture) will maintain the trust required to hold that support base.
What words would you use to describe your MATCH experience?
Arduous and rewarding.
At a glance:
Project: Mullumbimby Sculpture Walk
Platform: Australian Cultural Fund
Funds raised: $10,941