018 Develop your fundraising strategy

  1. Write your mission statements
  2. Get a fiscal sponsor
  3. Create a trailer
  4. Start applying for grants- this is a long game, so if you think you’re going to film this next month and edit it the month after, forget about this for now
    1. It takes a lot of time, and you have to apply several times before you really have a chance
    2. There are benefits beyond money, like connections to distributors, film festivals, and labs
  5. Build your community
    1. Create a spreadsheet of your entire circle of influence and start talking to people
      1. In-person request for help is always going to be the best way to get support, and widen your sphere
      2. Make sure you keep notes on all your meetings and follow up
    2. Create an “advisory board” of friends and mentors
    3. Create a social media plan (figure out best sites to post on) and post regularly
    4. Find newspapers, magazine, website related to your topic- submit articles for publication (build awareness and credibility)
  6. Develop your pitch
    1. Short and sweet (20-30 sec) makes them ask, oh that’s interesting, tell me more
    2. Be passionate
    3.  Pitch 10 times a day
  7. Events – 
    1. Build community, raise awareness
    2. 2 ways to raise money here: get sponsors (put logos on stuff), have an auction
    3. Online events during covid- no overhead, people can attend from anywhere in the world


Where to find them?

  • In your head
  • Address book
  • Family
  • Local newspaper: look for ppl w/ interest in the topic area; business & society columns
  • Brainstorming party
  • Net: websites, blogs, social networks

How to approach?

  • One-to-one direct, in-person ask
  • Fundraising houseparty
  • Direct mail
    • Personal letter from you to a few people you know, or by avid supporter who will write their friends
    • Mass mail appeal sent to a list you’ve acquired 
  • Email

How to approach them?

  1. one-on-one
  2. Fundraising House Party
  3. Crowdfunding
    1. Before you do this you must have already done the work of building your community and email list, so if you’re a first-time filmmaker…
    2. Go to seedandspark.com and watch their fundraising class!!!!


Where to find

  • Professional journals
  • Conferences
  • ITVS
  • VFW, Knights of Columbus, Lion’s Club, Rotary International


National sources

  • Natl endowment for the arts
  • Natl endowment for the humanities
  • Corp for public broadcasting
  • Misc (e..g. Forestry, IRS)


  • State arts agencies
  • State humanities councils
  • State tourism board


  • local/regional arts council
  • Commerce & growth associations
  • City tourism board