Considering crowd funding
Posted by Martin on August 24, 2012
I’m overwhelmed by the response to my idea for commissioning a small set of figures as a “thank you” for all the BfKers who have read, followed and commented here over the years. All your comments have given me a lot of ideas to chew over for which figures to do. I’ve started to narrow things down to a shortlist and I’m planning to discuss the options with Peter F. the next time I see him. As most of you know, he usually takes August off for a much-deserved holiday so the date when we’re likely to get together will be when we make our traditional visit to Colours at Newbury Racecourse on the weekend of 8/9 September.
In the meantime, I’ve been giving some thought to how best to organise the financial side of things to cover the various costs involved (raw materials, Peter’s sculpting time, post and packing for sending out the figures to you guys and so on). I want to find a way that is easy to manage, internationally accessible and gives everybody who wants to participate a high level of confidence that the money side of things will be handled in a proper, honest fashion.
While musing this over, something serendipitous happened that I think has enabled me to light on a possibly elegant solution. Like many figure painters and wargamers, I’m also interested in role-playing games (RPGs). In particular, I play Call of Cthulhu with a group of friends and Chaosium (the company responsible for this particular RPG) has been trying to raise funds to reprint a 20 year old classic publication from its back catalogue. The route they’ve chosen to achieve this aim is to start a project on the US crowd funding website Kickstarter.
I’m not going to go through a detailed explanation of what crowd funding is here – there are plenty of places on the Web that already do a good job of that. But I am going to ask if any of you have particular experience of, or recommendations about, the many different crowd funding websites that are out there. Kickstarter appears to be by far the most popular, largest and most successful in terms of enabling projects to achieve their funding targets but, at present, only people with US bank accounts can set up projects. That’s due to change this Autumn because Kickstarter has announced that it’s coming to the UK. But it’s not the only option
The other thing I’ve started to ponder on is how to set the various pledge levels – both in terms of the size of the pledges and the rewards associated with each pledge. Typically, the lowest pledge level allows people to make a very modest donation (often as little as one dollar) and get nothing more than undying gratitude in return. As the size of pledge increases, so do the rewards. At this stage, I’m only just starting to think about the amounts and get my head around the complication of pledges that need to include an additional amount for postage and packing. But that’s the boring bit…
The fun bit is thinking about the rewards. And I’m just beginning to dream up options here like offering a single figure at the bottom end and working up through things like one or more packs of figures, a single figure based and painted by me, a pack of figures painted and based by me, and maybe something a little more exotic. There’s the option to make some pledges available in unlimited numbers (so that would probably apply to the unpainted figures) and to make other higher level ones available in limited numbers (and that would definitely apply to any that involve me painting figures!). As I said in my original posting on this topic, this is something I want to do with, as well as for BfKers, so feel free to pitch in with your suggestions for pledge rewards.
The other area where we can have fun is giving names to each pledge level. I was thinking of a theme that involved calling them things like fantassin, grognard, tambour, general de brigade and so on – you get the idea.