How to Crowdfund Your Show

How to Crowdfund Your Show - Kickstarter's Performance: In Progress

Jess Massart.jpg
by Jessica Massart, Senior Performance Lead, Kickstarter

Date Published: 18 March 2019

Like so many working in theatre, my love for the field started well before I landed my first gig. My knowledge of the challenge of fundraising has been around almost as long, dating back to when my high school theatre troupe in the US landed a slot at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe but couldn’t afford the trip.

Since then, my favourite jobs were the ones where I was supporting new work, whether that be helping message a piece for its world premiere or finding the funds to bring a piece to the stage.

These days, I’m fortunate to be doing just that. I work with theatre, dance, and performance makers at Kickstarter to make crowdfunding, and its mix of storytelling, promotion, and fundraising, more manageable. My day-to-day involves acting as a coach for both artists and organisations, while also serving as an internal advocate for the wider performance field at Kickstarter HQ.

Put simply, I’m here to help folks share their work and raise funds.  

“Crowdfunding? Eek.”

In my two years at Kickstarter, I keep seeing a pattern: folks waiting to use crowdfunding only if they have a budget gap before opening.

Usually this means a campaign launching late in the production process, sometimes overlapping with rehearsals, ticket selling, and occasionally even tech week. Needless to say, this is stressful and doesn’t allow time to get the full benefits of running a campaign. 

Crowdfunding is ideally part of the larger process of making a show; it’s introducing a community to the world you’re making, getting people as excited about it as you are, and, of course, helping meet your budget bottom line.

Enter Performance: In Progress

Kickstarter just announced a new initiative, Performance: In Progress, that is all about building momentum for shows in the Autumn 2019 season. We’ll be highlighting performance campaigns running this May and promoting the participating shows when it comes closer to their premieres. We want to help artists get a head start on fundraising and promotion (and give you a signal boost via our own networks - more on that below!).

On top of this, I wanted a way to take our knowledge inside Kickstarter HQ and pass it along to artists so that they can run campaigns that allow them to connect more deeply and widely with audiences.

Running a crowdfunding campaign can seem intimidating, but with a few tricks it can be an extension of your show making process.  

F*ck You Pay Me. Photo: Tyrone Barton-Robie
F*ck You Pay Me ©Tyrone Barton-Robie

Join the movement

Kickstarter has already been home to campaigns ranging from Joana Nastari’s F*ck You Pay Me to the musical adaptation of American Psycho. We’d love to support more great work like this coming from the UK. So for the next month we’ll be sharing our best practices and favourite tips for anyone thinking about running a campaign.

This all kicks off with a 6 week email bootcamp beginning on 18 March (find out more and sign up here - it’s not too late!) and a webinar on March 26.

We’ll be promoting performance campaigns that launch between May 1-31, so if you’re planning to open a show anytime Autumn 2019, all you need to do is launch a campaign in that time.

I’ll be combing through all projects during the month of May to find the best and share them in our newsletters and on social media.               

I can’t wait to see what you’re all making and help share it with the world. 

Have questions? Want advice on your page before it launches? Let me know at 

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