Bernhard Kerres Talks About CrowdFunding

Tune into our Facebook live talks, every Thursday as we cover the hottest topics in classical music...in case you missed it, here is our CEO and founder, Bernhard Kerres, talking about CrowdFunding...

What I see in today’s world is that more and more projects are funded by CrowdFunding.
It has become a wonderful source of income to finance projects like recordings or anything else so we are excited to address this topic!

What is CrowdFunding?

CrowdFunding is this fantastic idea that there are hundreds or thousands of people out there who are interested in your project and willing to give you money for it. Technology makes it very easy to reach out to family, friends or classical-music fans who may want to help you.

There are CrowdFunding platforms out there that facilitate that kind of interaction between you and the crowd, but keep in mind that you will primarily reaching out to people in your extended network.

Step 1: The Project

Here at HELLO STAGE we have been involved in numerous CrowdFunding projects and over 90% of them have been successful. When it comes to CrowdFunding, it’s all about the project. You need a clear description of your project that is easily understandable and accessible to everyone in your network to ensure that people know where the money is going.

Make your project as tangible as possible. Classical music fans still love receiving a physical product therefore a recording is brilliant because the fan receives a CD at the end. Hannah Crystal’s project is a great example of how to describe your project. Check it out here.

Step 2: The Perks

The perks are the things that people get in return for giving you money. When asking for money, give people a large range of suggested donation amounts. Start at a low level of $5 but go up to around $1000 depending on who is in your network. Create fun and creative perks for each donation level that can be divided between local and virtual. This means that you can reach out to people in your neighborhood but also can deliver worldwide. People generally appreciate CD’s with a personal note and for lower amounts receiving a thank you note on their personal facebook page. For larger gifts, private concerts go well but you can include something different like cooking lessons for example! Tell them a bit about yourself so that they can get to know you then make a couple of perks around that.

Step 3: The Platform

If you are in the German speaking region we highly recommend wemakeit.com.

We make it is brilliant because they really care about you so they have a really good way of interacting with you. They will look at your project, support, consult and advise you. They also partner with corporate companies like The Bank of Austria, which gives money to some successful projects so sometimes you actually get a boost for your project. One of the biggest companies internationally is kickstarter.com. We’ve had some good projects on there but it’s a really huge platform so don’t expect any personal attention. We don’t recommend indigogo because in the past their payment provider didn’t work very well so the artist didn’t get paid all of their money.

Step 4: The Crowd

Developing a crowd is like a snowball effect. You will start by reaching out to your family and friends. An effective trick is to ask people who you are close with to stretch out their donation over 3-4 payments to keep the momentum going on your campaign, which should last no more than 45 days. Make it easy for your friends to share your project on social media with a description of the project so that they can be ambassadors for your campaign then thank them. Be sure to say thank you for each donation that you receive, no matter how small, and ask them to share your project on social media to create a buzz around it. CrowdFunding takes a lot of work because it requires constantly reaching out to people and making sure that you’re communicating well. Keeping the momentum going during a campaign takes work. Usually when a project begins people donate immediately, but in the middle there often are not as many donations. You can keep your project interesting by adding new perks or having news about a concert that you got to keep people interested. Towards the end there will be a final rush. During this time don’t be afraid to reach out to the people who have already given money to you because they want you to succeed!

Communication is crucial and you should utilize every communication avenue that you can possibly imagine. Don’t rely on social media, be in touch with people in person and perhaps play a few concerts to get the word out. Lastly, remember to use your local newspapers and radio stations because they are often willing to talk about the project especially if you can give them something in exchange.


How do you avoid crowd fatigue?

There are a lot of CrowdFunding campaigns so it’s definitely good to be aware of this problem. However, as long as you keep it personal, relatable and interesting while reaching out to your own network you will have success. Remember to invite people to participate in your project by sharing with their network.

How do I get regular donors?

This is very tough. The important thing to remember is to constantly communicate with people who have given money to you. We started fans.hellostage.com because it enables our musicians to automatically send out a newsletter every month with their upcoming concerts and news without any extra work besides keeping their HELLO STAGE page up to date. It’s amazing how much positive feedback we get on that.

Are there certain rules that should be followed in regards to the timing of the campaign?

Somewhere between 30-45 days is a nice length. I recommend planning the campaign for a time when you will be performing concerts, because that way you already have a place where you can mention the project. Avoid the summer if possible because people aren’t checking their email when they travel. The end of the year isn’t a great time either because people have to buy presents and would rather give to charities.

We are here to help so please reach out to us when you start your CrowdFunding campaign!

Here is the full video. Enjoy and share!

Author: Bernhard Kerres / Anna Heflin
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