Crowdsourcing Campaigns | Why No One Is Donating

At the height of the social media boom, a new way of fundraising was born, Crowdsourcing Campaigns. While utilizing your community to raise funds for a project has been around for centuries, what is new is the ease with which this can be done. A few clicks here, an amazon login there and now you’re a backer/producer/honorary director of some new creative project. What is new, is the ability and equal opportunity for everyone’s creative voice to be heard with the aid of social platforms as it relates to their next invention, project and more. Now its easier to publish your message on social sites. Now the possibilities are practically limitless for how you can market your project fundraiser. You are no longer limited to a car wash or bake off to raise money. Now you can create a page on Kickstarter, post an intro video, find ways to gift the backers and abracadabra, you have a million dollars to host your next Pole Dancing event.


 Except, its not that easy. It must not be that easy if the original title of this post was going to by “Why No One Is Donating To Your Cause.”
That’s a bit morbid. Some people are donating. And to date, on kickstarter alone more than 4.6 million people have pledged over $743 million, funding more than 46,000 creative projects. But…I’ve seen people struggle to get their campaign money. I’ve heard rumors of people who donate a huge portion of their personal money, just so their campaign doesn’t “fail.” This does not have to be the case.
First, let’s look at Pole Dancing on Kickstarter and Pole Fitness on IndieGoGo. To keep it simple, just based on the thumbnail image and the opening one liners, I find only one of those campaigns compelling enough to click through for more information. And even the one that grabs my attention, has words that I don’t like. But the words are strong enough that my dislike even makes me click it more to find out just what they mean. (There’s also GoFundMe and other websites too.)
So, why aren’t they donating to your cause?

1. Your Message Isn’t Compelling Enough.

Our life as dancers, athletes and artist is compelling…to us. We are passionate about it. Dedicated to it. And die hard advocates for it. But…when sharing our world with others, we have got to learn a bit on marketing, publicity, copy editing and content creation. You can have a product that solves everyone’s biggest issue, but if its not compelling it will not resonate with anyone.
Simply stating that your project will save the lost children in africa or more specifically that your pole project is “supporting the arts,” is NOT enough. Whether I’m buying a product or donating to a cause, I’m thinking, “what’s in it for me?” That’s not always a selfish question. “What’s in it for me?” can translate into, “Does this cause stir my heart? Does it resonate with my own values?” When composing your message, your intro video or your project in general that will cost someone money whether its investors, backers or whomever, you can’t just make art to make art. If you want me to give morally or from my heart, there has to be a connection aside from the fact that you’re hard working. You had to have changed my life before or present a value-add that resonates on a level I can’t deny.


2. You Are Tapping the Wrong Audience

One of the hugest mistakes that I see with the pole industry when it comes to crowdsourced campaigns, is that they mainly try to have other polers donate to their cause. Yes, having polers support your pole related project is important but that’s such a limited way of viewing your marketing strategy. Most pole events have an audience filled with polers. What I’d like to see is a wider scope of audience members. Or if its the premiere of your pole documentary, I want to see non polers there too.

I’ve never gone to see the documentary of “A Black Woman from the Urban Ghetto Raised in a Cult”. Why would I? That’s already part of my life story. But I like to see documentaries about stuff I don’t know hardly anything about. Which means as a poler, you need to reach out to more than just polers.  Keep in mind the average non-poler, when looking for a project to back isn’t going to type “pole dancing” into kickstarter. This means you need to change your keywords and your copy to reach the right audience. For instance if you’re trying to show the beauty of sensuality, use the right terms. I did a “sensuality” search on IndieGoGo and came upon some interesting projects including Bondage Yoga. On Kickstarter “sensuality” led me to a symphony that raised over $20,000. No polers were found while searching under “sensuality.”

So if you’re trying to show that pole performance can be theatrical, you need to target the “theater” market. If you want to show the athleticism in your new documentary, you need to target the “fitness” market. Targeting that market doesn’t just include other theater actors or dancers or athletes. What companies and boutique businesses are aligned with the values of your project? How can you reach out to them? What other organizations and charities can you partner with? How about bloggers, vloggers, and journalist?

3. Your Message is Dated, Stale and UnOriginal

I saw one campaign that used footage from five years ago as their intro video. I wondered why couldn’t they take the time to make a short NEW video that wasn’t blurry and old. The video was composed of different size formats. It just wasn’t IT. Please ask yourself, is your message relevant? Is your material fresh? Take the time to create a new, FRESH campaign and a short awesome video. Maybe even make a simple website or great landing page on your already existing website.

 4. Our Friendship Can NOT Be Your Marketing Plan

This goes along with point number 2 but it needs to also be stated on its own. While I do believe that business…and fundraising is a business too…..while I do believe its based on relationships, you can’t use the fact that we’re friends to plead for money. Consider other people too. Have you reached out to bloggers? Vloggers? Twitter powerhouse people? Did you know the Pole Dancing Blogger’s Association has over 115 members from 20 countries? Rather than re-sharing your fundraising link on facebook every day, consider tapping into bloggers or blog associations. That way 100 people are talking about you on their own blogs versus you talking about yourself every day on that one private facebook pole group.

 5. Your Reputation Proceeds You

Do you know what people whisper about you? Do you know what they say when you’re not around…including your friends? Do you know people are still making unflattering comments about that one production two years ago? Do you know that while you want to raise money for this new project by tapping the pole community, a lot of polers think your overall business sucks at customer service…i.e., personal relationships with the industry? (This is directed at no one in particular, fyi. These are just things I wonder about.) Finding a great marketing plan for your campaign is one thing, public relations is a whole other thing and BOTH are needed. Brigette says lots of good things about PR. Check out her blog.

6. Is The Market Over Saturated?

By over-saturation, I don’t mean that pole events and movies are popping up everywhere all the time. I think there’s room for everyone. What I think we need to consider is the timeliness of our projects. For example, one theater company I work with was going to do a show about flooding and poverty that took place on a lake…but the characters in the play were happy with their depravity. Then Hurricane Katrina hit. The theater company realized their show was insensitive so they cancelled opening night, rewrote the play and opened it later to be culturally appropriate. The first version of the show was awesome too. But the world changed and they needed to change too. (Watch a video clip here.)

So are you trying to raise money for your lyrical pole show to open during the same month that ten other ballets and jazz shows are opening in your city? Take into account the entire market of the world when it comes to infusing your voice. Or for instance, EVERYONE is doing a pole documentary right now. Geez. Okay. Seen one, seen them all. Its not true but I don’t plan on watching 10 pole documentaries. There are other ways to tell soci-political, culturally relevant, empowering stories than in a documentary. Is there another way you can rework your project so that its not a documentary or performance?

7. Transparency and Openness is Key

No one will donate to you if you are shrowded in mystery unless you’re trying to create the next version of the Clue Game, I supposed. If your esoteric view of pole dancing is too complicated or you’re so far to the left with your post-feminist, neo-granola, trans whatever…that you can’t articulate what is really going on, it’s not going to work.

The best way to describe what I’m trying to say is this quote by Jantira K, “It’s such a shame that art is often viewed as being superfluous or decorative or only for academia or the rich who can afford to buy it. I hate the whole concept of “high art.” It’s bullshit. Art is for everyone. Art is everywhere.”

I once went to a pole event where they sort of treated it as “high pole art.” So much so that they didn’t feel they needed to explain or share what was really going on. I thought the whole mess was bullshit, to tell you the truth. It’s like viewing a fancy smancy painting at the art museum that NO ONE gets. Art can be fancy or well thought out or perhaps even esoteric but you’ve still got to come down to earth and commune with the humans. Especially if you want them to donate money to your esoteric pole book or show or whatever the case may be.

8. No One Cares

This could go hand and hand with point number one about your message lacking a compelling and resonating tone. I think you’ve also got to consider whether any one besides you and your friends think your idea is great and really worth it. I have a million ideas. Some of them, I think the world needs to hear or watch or experience. And some of them, though I may think they are fabulous…really should just stay in my journal. This is highly suggestive and you really have to consider the risks. But there are some things that I think, probably could have stayed inside people’s minds. My only pole equivalent of this is once watching a performance, that lacked everything and I thought, that it was not worth my time. Is your project really worth it? If its not worth it, maybe we need to go back to point number six and find another way? Or maybe we need to kill that idea and try something else new all together?

9. You Are Too Blah

There is an art to marketing in such a way that you reach a variety of targets audiences. The way to do this isn’t watering down your message for commercial mass appeal so much so that you are lukewarm and blah. Also controversy isn’t a bad thing. Being tame and neutral will hardly get you anywhere. I personally think people need to love or hate you, not feel “eh” about you. You won’t be remembered. Your new product that was funded will be forgotten in two years and no one will mention your show after closing night. Don’t be blah.


My post moreso pointed out the flaws I see running rampant as it relates to crowdsourcing campaigns by the pole dance industry. I’m sure I could have been nicer and made everything a positive like, instead of writing, “Your Message Isn’t Compelling,” it could have said, “Create a Compelling Message.” Eh, it just didn’t happen like that this time. Sometimes I’m more….not nice. BUT…there is hope! Below are links to some AWESOME articles that are positive with lots of helpful tips and one even has templates for you to use! My post is moreso, What Not To Do and sometimes that is helpful too.

Check out these articles.

Kicking Ass & Taking Donations: 9 Tips on Funding Your Kickstarter Project <– MUST READ

11 Tips For Crowdfunding: How to Raise Money From Strangers <– MUST READ

Hacking Kickstarter: How to Raise $100,000 in 10 Days <– MUST READ

How A Guy With A Mason Jar Raised $30,000 in 4 Days

A Beginner’s Guide to Fundraising

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