Crowdfunding has enabled countless independent media projects that may otherwise have been shelved, but it doesn't guarantee success. Like any fundraising initiative, a successful crowdfunding campaign requires careful thought and planning. "AIR Presents: A Media Maker's Guide to Kickstarter ” is a new 45-minute webinar that helps media makers through the process.
During the webinar, Kickstarter's Stephanie Pereira  takes listeners through the steps of developing and launching a campaign. She is joined by producer and Kickstarter user Lea Thau , who successfully raised $21,000 to fund the second season of her storytelling podcast "Strangers." Together they share the insights they've gained about setting up projects, determining pledge amounts, creating rewards, reaching backers, and more.
The most important thing, Pereira says, is to "create something to share with others," because other people are the key to crowdfunding. Backers "want to feel like patrons. They want to feel special," says Pereira. In her experience, successful projects give backers "insider, behind-the-scenes access" to the making of a project.
The lower-level rewards don't even have to be physical or tangible - they just have to make backers feel like they're a part of something. Thau's $10 backers got to see their names listed on her website, while $5 backers received her "eternal love. Seriously, I will love you forever!"
Thau also spoke about the importance of thanking people for their support. "You have to email everybody who's a backer and say, ‘Hey, thanks so much for giving. Please spread the word.’" It takes a lot of effort but, Thau says, "I think it works."
Overall, AIR's webinar reminds us that the "crowd" in "crowdfunding" is really made up of individual people. "We hear the word 'crowdfunding' quite a bit," says Pereira, "[but] I don't think of this as a crowd at all. I think, in fact, it's a community."
The video recording of the webinar is available for free on AIR's website .