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Fairstreet Community Funding Advice for Writers & Journalists

Are you looking for an alternative to the well-known crowdfunding sites?

Financial journalist Blaire Briody, photojournalist Brad DeCecco, and documentary filmmaker Ashley Panzera are raising funds for a reporting trip (and eventual book) exploring the oil boom Williston, North Dakota. They used a new community funding site called Fairstreet to raise the funds, so we caught up with Briody to find out more about the new platform:

I chose FairStreet because they’re a small startup with a hands-on approach. They’re different because they vet each project carefully and give you a support system – which includes consultation on how to build a successful campaign, sending the project out to their own contacts, and paying for the campaign video. The fact that they believed in my project gave me the confidence I needed to move forward with the funding effort. The video is professionally done and I think that helped add legitimacy to the project, and would’ve been hard to do on my own. Their encouragement and support has been phenomenal so far, and I don’t think I would get that with any other crowdfunding platform.

She also explained how other writers can build similar crowdfunding projects:

Building the campaign is definitely time consuming. The text went through many rounds of edits. I based the format on other journalism/writing projects I found on Kickstarter. I also reached out to a photographer friend and videographer friend to help with the project and campaign. I did this for multiple reasons – It’s not only more fun to work with a team, but crowdfunding research shows that projects are more likely to be successful if you have more people on the team. Each person you add, adds more contacts in the social circles that you can reach out to. It also helped add to the rewards – and I think the final product will be more robust and interesting with their participation.

Finally, Briody offered some advice for writers creating perks for crowdfunded projects:

The rewards came from many brainstorm sessions with friends, roommates, and the FairStreet team. My roommate came up with the “gift basket of items unique to North Dakota,” which I thought was a great idea. Writers should just think about the subject they’re covering and what might be a cool (and cost-effective) item or activity related to it. So say you’re writing a book on the Civil War – then maybe you can give a personalized guided tour of a famous Civil War site or museum. I think everyone likes book parties, so I tried to weave that into the rewards. And I thought about what skills I had to offer – my friends are always asking me to edit their papers and cover letters, so I figured that would be a fun reward with not much cost on my part.

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