Dublin Book Launch – Charlie, The Migrating Snail

May 4th sees the official launch of Charlie, The Migrating Snail, but there are lots of exciting things happening in the run-up to the afternoon event.

Aimee and Grace
Aimee and Grace, the wonderful, young illustrators

Our young illustrators – Aimee and Grace – are getting a lot of attention in the media, and rightly so with their wonderful goal of raising 10,000 Euros for homelessness. They have been in the papers twice now, and made it onto the front cover of the newspaper this time. Well done girls!

Radio Interviews

Aimee’s Mother, Lisa, will be on the local radio (Together FM) this coming Saturday (27th) at 9 a.m. to talk about the project, it’s goals, and to promote the launch event on May 4th. If you click on the Together FM website you can also read a nice article about the girls’ project.

My tickets are booked, and I’m getting very excited to fly out to Dublin for the first time to meet some of my young readers and do a book signing. I will also be interviewed for the first time about my book and the project by Together FM the following Friday (May 3rd) at 10 a.m.

Book Launch

From 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. (with the possibility of it running into overtime!) on May 4th at the Ballyfermot Community Civic Center, there will be lots of exciting things for families to do including refreshments, face painting, a reading of part of the book by me, and a whole host of other things, including a colouring competition!

It’s lovely that this is a community event, as the issue of homelessness is a community challenge. It is only by leveraging the power of the community spirit that we will have a chance at alleviating (and hopefully eradicating) this problem. Everyone is welcome, so spread the word…!

I very much look forward to meeting you all there.

 

Front Page News…!

IT ISN’T EVERY DAY YOU GET TO MAKE HEADLINE NEWS.

In the wake of the Notre Dame fire and other tragic news, it is very refreshing to know that people doing good deeds can also get some space in the media, albeit if it is only at a local level.

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(Scroll down for the full article)

I can only imagine how excited these two, young teenage girls must be feeling to see themselves on the front page of their local newspaper! Rightly deserved for what they are attempting to do with my little book. Trying to raise 10,000 Euros for an under-funded charity in Dublin (ICHH) that is actively helping the homeless is a mammoth undertaking. In a time when far too many teenagers seem only interested in social media gossip, knife crime, gangs, and other antisocial behaviours, it is so inspiring to know there are young adults out there that have a social conscience and wish to make a positive impact on their environment. Well done girls, recognition well deserved!

Notre Dame

Although the fire in Paris has shocked the world, it saddens me to see that so much money can be raised so quickly for a BUILDING. As historic and beautiful as it may be, there are still millions of PEOPLE at home and around the world that are homeless and in desperate need of help. My only ‘silver lining’ is that if people can unite like this for one of our ancient monuments, just imagine what we could achieve if we all decided to follow the lead of the Dublin community and joined together to help stamp out homelessness forever?

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Click here to order your copy of Charlie, The Migrating Snail – Book One

Can A Snail Change The World?

I HAVE A DREAM…! To many, a laughable dream. To some, an unachievable dream. To others, perhaps, a dream worth dreaming and thinking about:

World Peace.

Isn’t it time?

With all the wealth, with all the people, with all the technology, the social media, and all the resources we have, surely, wouldn’t you think we would have achieved World Peace by now?

It’s been decades since Dr. Martin Luther King jr. gave his iconic speech, Mahatma Gandhi has long since passed into the annuls of time, Nelson Mandela is no longer imprisoned on this plane, and the lyrics to John Lennon’s amazing song are mere ‘Imagine-ation’… So where are our new Peace-leaders going to come from?

I hate to use the ‘B-word’, but if we are relying on our Governments to sort out the REAL issues in the world, we’ll be waiting a really, really, really, really, no, really long time! It is, and always has been in my mind, down to us – The People – to take action and be the change we want to see in the world!

#BeTheChange has that been taken yet? What would the great Peace-Leaders of old have made of the Internet? Would they have made a bigger impact, or would they have been easier targets for trolls, lobbyists, and nay-sayers? We can only speculate… So, who is brave enough to pick up the baton of peace and start running with it now?

Enter “Charlie, The Migrating Snail”

Peace Charlie

He may not be the smartest contender, but look at who he’s up against…? More to the point, let’s look at what he is achieving with very limited resources compared to our World Leaders. He’s already on a campaign to raise 10,000 Euros to help homelessness in Dublin! That might not sound like much, but he’s only a month old and has raised over 500 Euro already! Just imagine what he could do given the chance…?

And this little charity snail isn’t stopping with homelessness, through Charlie’s Causes he’ll be making a massive impact in all sorts of other areas too!

Please check out his website and check out his story.

World Peace may be a few years off yet, but just imagine what we can achieve as we journey towards that goal…? If not now, when?

#CharlieTheWorldPeaceSnail

How To Run A Successful Crowdfunding Campaign: Crowdfunding 101

It is important to remember that Crowdfunding sites are businesses, businesses that want to make money. It is equally important to realize that raising any amount of money via crowdfunding should be approached with a plan. The more money you are hoping to raise, the more important it is to have a solid plan, and a strong team to help you. Like anything you want in life, it takes a lot of hard work.

Money-Pile-psd74096I’ve helped many fundraisers reach their targets with the following tips and advice. It’s common sense when you read it, but you’d be amazed how many projects don’t use these simple tips, and that’s why they fail to reach even a fraction of their target. The following tips were offered recently to a group of film makers and they followed my adice to the letter. They surpassed their target by OVER THREE TIMES the original amount…!!! I’ll be using the advice I gave them in the post below, so if you’re not trying to fund a film, just change their project idea for your own.

So, if you want to give YOUR campaign the best chance of success, read on…

SPLIT YOUR CAMPAIGN UP

Realistically, you need to split your campaign into multiple sections: prelaunch, launch, mid-launch, and the final push. So many fundraisers simply post up their project and hope for the best. Unless you already have a very large, strong following, your project is almost destined to fail. The larger the amount of money you plan to raise, the earlier you should begin. In the tips below I’ll expand on these different phases of your campaign. The promotional work for your campaign can start up to six months or a year BEFORE you activate your crowdfunding program.

WHICH SITE TO CHOOSE?

There are many sites out their to use for your campaign. Personally I prefer this one: www.crowdfunder.co.uk They have what’s called a ‘stretch target’, which allows you to set a lower, more achievable target, then increase it to a bigger amount. Details on the site. Most people know of ‘Kickstarter’ and ‘Indigogo’, and there are many others now. Research the sites, look at their campaigns. Which site you end up using is entirely up to you, and if one doesn’t work, replan your campaign and launch it on one of the other sites.

USE SOCIAL MEDIA

If you have the budget and can create a really good one, invest in your own website for the project. This isn’t essential to success, but it will give you a slightly more professional edge. Especially if you are asking for a large amount of money, the more serious you can show people you are the better.

If not, at the very least, create a FB page and an event page (and preferably a blog also) about the film project and fundraiser. Promote the heck out of it and ask people what rewards they are most interested in (film posters, a chance to be on set, a chance to hold the clapper board, credits on IMdB, etc.) Get as many people as possible involved as early as possible BEFORE you launch your crowdfunding event.Far too many people just jump right in with no planning or preparation, once the campaign launches the clock is ticking down! Make every day count.

GET EARLY PLEDGES

Get some early pledges, then you can judge how much MORE work you’ll need to do to promote the campaign! Remember, you don’t have to have all the rewards printed and ready at this stage, you can do that (and pay for them) with the raised funds, you just need to give an idea of what you can offer (and know your costs, so you’re not losing money)

Nobody wants to back a loser. This is why it is VITALLY IMPORTANT to get some early promises from close friends, family, and people that follow you. Engage them early and let them be ‘insiders’ – they will be the ones to hear news first, they’ll be offered exclusives, etc. Ideally you want to have about 30% of your target pre-pledged. When you start your campaign, follow up with these people and have them activate their promises on the site.

Why is this so vital? Two main reasons: 1) A good early start to your fundraising will show others that people are actively interested in your project. As said, nobody wants to back a loser! 2) The more interest your campaign gets, the more the site will actively push you. As I said at the start, they are in the business of making money, if they think your project has a good chance of reaching its target (and hence THEM getting their fees!) they will promote it.

BLOG OFTEN – KEEP YOUR AUDIENCE ENGAGED

Write blog articles (they can be short) about the project, why are you doing it? What was the inspiration for the script? Who’s involved? Etc. It makes you all seem more REAL that way, and PASSIONATE about what you’re doing. Keep them short and regular, lots of pictures. Blogs allow you to use lots of tags, and the more articles and information you have about your project will not only make it more interesting, but easier to be seen online.

PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE

Don’t just focus online. The more people are becoming Internet dependent, the fewer people are utilizing traditional media. Approach the local papers and radio station with the fact you’re doing a fundraiser. Tell everybody and everyone about your project. Why is it important? Why is it important to you? Who are you? Why are you doing this? Who will it help? Does it have a human interest angle? The media is always after a good story, and if they pick it up, this is fantastic exposure for your project.

Remember: You have to be the most passionate person in the world about your project, if you’re not excited, nobody else is going to get excited about it either! Always be promoting your project, you never know who you are talking to or who they know.

DON’T JUST RELY ON ONLINE CROWDFUNDING

Approach local businesses and ask for a small donation.Although crowdfunding is an online platform, you cannot be shy about your financing goals. How badly do you want or need to raise this money? You have to be prepared to do the uncomfortable (do what others are unwilling to do) and you will succeed. What can you offer them in trade? Can you offer them some promotion on your sites, perhaps give them a credit in the film? In some cases you may find a business owner that would like a role and be prepared to pay for the honour!

BE ORIGINAL

People who do the unexpected get noticed. This next tip is another ESSENTIAL to success. It’s not easy to arrange, but much easier than you’d think. Hold a launch party… pick a popular location, a pub or café, and promote the fact you’re doing a DAY ONE campaign launch. Most premises have slow days during the week and an unusual, well-promoted event to bring in warm bodies that may spend money their are always welcome. Have laptops there so people can go straight to the site and pledge. Have the crew take it in shifts if need be, but really push hard on the first day. The more pledges you get as early as possible, the more exposure online it gets!

Be creative for this event. Maybe do a joint venture with the location and offer free or discounted drinks and food. Have some of the actors do a partial script read through – not only is this good promotion for the film, it’s something unique. If you’ve put in the correct amount of work in your prelaunch preparations, have contacted the press, have created a good buzz and got early pledge promises, by the end of your launch day event you may be surprised to find you have between 30 – 50% for your target already! Believe me, it’s happened on more than one occasion.

IT AIN’T OVER TILL IT’S OVER

Keep the pressure on throughout the campaign. If you raise your target, push for more. Keep your pledgers in the loop with progress, keep them engaged. Blog about progress. If you have their details, PERSONALLY thank those that have already made donations. I can’t stress this enough. The more personal and involved you make things, the better people will feel about their pledge. If you can’t do it in person or make it personal, record a short thank you video – let them see the emotion in your eyes!

So many people forget to keep pushing, yet it’s amazing the number of people that will INCREASE their pledge amount, if they know how much you care!

THE LAST MILE

The final push. If you still need to raise funds to hit the target, plan a LAST DAY push – you could even invite people to the event (like the launch) and invite the press along. If you’ve run most of the marathon, why fall at the final mile? Have a back-up plan for the possibility of not hitting your target by the final few days. Hold a final push party. Give people a reason to come and to donate. Again, make sure you have your team there and the laptops.

THE ALL-IMPORTANT FOLLOW-UP

Most importantly, at the end, thank everybody involved and fulfill your promise – send out the rewards. Following up doesn’t have to be left until the end. By making follow-up part of your routine, you won’t have a huge job at the end (which you may forget or overlook!) You may be very pleasantly surprised how many people actually want to be part of your project and want to help, if they are acknowledged and rewarded accordingly.

PLAN TO SUCCEED – A CLOSING COMMENT

I advise people to be ‘realistically optimistic’. What do I mean by this? Plan for success, but realize you are better to lower your target to a figure that’s achievable, rather than be unrealistic about your funding objective. Remember the goal is to reach the target you set (hence I like the sites with a stretch target) Whatever YOU think is achievable, if you don’t have the evidence to back it up (i.e., a huge support pool, early pledges, a previous success story, etc.) you are far better off reevaluating your target, sometimes this can be by 30% or more. Don’t be discouraged by this. Either delay your launch until you have more backing, or face facts, you’ll have to get the rest of the funding from somewhere else!

It’s also VERY WORTHWHILE letting potential backers know how much you have on the line. How much have YOU put in? If the answer is zero, then you might want to rethink. If you aren’t prepared to put YOUR money into YOUR project, don’t expect anybody else to either!

As said, all common sense WHEN YOU KNOW. If raising money was easy, everybody would just post up their campaign and sit back and wait (which is what the failing campaigns do!) But it isn’t easy, it takes work, it takes commitment, and most of all it takes planning. Like all overnight success stories, you don’t hear about all the hard work and effort that goes in BEFORE the success happens.

If you fail to hit your target, analyse what went wrong. Were your incentives off-target? Did you start too soon with not enough pre-pledges? Did you create enough awareness and early support? If you did all the things above, and still failed to reach your target, perhaps your figure was too ambitious, or your project just doesn’t have the right appeal to a crowdfunding audience – ask for feedback.

Good luck with your next funding campaign, and remember: The more effort you put in BEFORE your campaign launches, the more successful you will be! Get creative, get people involved, and have fun with it, it’s a long, hard process, so enjoy the journey!

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The Shepherd Cover ArtANTHONY DONNELLY blogs about all things writing, inspirational, and motivational. He has published a number of books for children and adults. His latest book, a short, inspirational parable THE SHEPHERD  is currently climbing up the Amazon charts, and is available in Kindle or paperback. When not sat at his keyboard writing, he can be found in Costa Rica, North America, or somewhere in Europe motivating and coaching individuals and groups in self-development techniques and life-balance. Most recently you can see him back on the sets of films and in front of the modelling camera again.