FringeMakers is our online partnership with Crowdfunder to help artists fundraise at every stage of their Fringe journey; from first-time Fringe performers to long-time veterans, there's a project here to suit all interests. Artists don’t have to pay a fee to be included, and audiences can easily browse and support a range of different Fringe projects in exchange for exclusive rewards – it’s a win-win.

Established in 2020 to help artists raise funds to weather the pandemic, FringeMakers has since helped more than 200 projects collectively raise over £613,000 from 18,100 supporters

We asked for feedback from some artists who used FringeMakers to help them bring work to the festival in 2023. Read on to hear their thoughts – along with some valuable advice for anyone thinking of doing the same.

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I brought my show, Clementine, up to the Fringe on my own in 2023. I didn’t have a producer or agent so I was pretty much a one-woman band – apart from my fabulous technician! 

I was able to pay for flyers with my FringeMakers earnings and pay for marketing with Out of Hand. I was able to buy three big billboards across the city which really did wonders for my marketing – especially as I wasn't able to afford to work with a marketing company. There's a lot of gatekeeping when it comes to comedy, especially when it comes to Edinburgh Fringe, and I think that leads to a lot of early-career artists making mistakes that cost them time and money. I made so many mistakes but with every wrong turn you learn how to do it better next time.

The FringeMakers platform is really easy to use so setting up the page, adding pictures and popping in lots of features was really simple. Lots of other artists and companies who have run crowdfunding campaigns before advised me to structure the page really carefully, and take time to make it perfect before launching the campaign. You really want to give potential donors a show and an artist to root for, you want to prove that their money is going to be well spent and that they're investing in your future career. 

I think taking time to really carefully craft your campaign page not only makes you look a lot more professional, but it also shows that you respect that people will be investing their hard-earned money into your project. People really notice when you take time to share your story and will value the energy you put into the page.

I think the rewards feature is such a fun way to personalise the campaign and really get people engaged – however, I would say: be realistic and don't overpromise! I put quite a few different rewards on the page and really struggled to get them all out to the brilliant people that donated. 

I would definitely advise artists to launch using some kind of video because it tends to get a lot of attention online, and ask your friends and family to share it with their networks. I would also recommend making a really clear plan, month by month, and write down your financial goals for each week. You can then line up content posts so that you can stay on track.

I absolutely loved Fringe in 2023. It pushed me to my absolute limits but I also met some amazing people, saw incredible work and felt like I was part of a really exciting, vibrant community. The best advice I was told before I went last year is to really think about what a successful Fringe means to you. Does it mean getting a good review? Selling out a show? Keep it realistic and be strict with what you define as success in Edinburgh. You can get really caught up in the comparison game but I think it's important to keep your eyes on your own lane. Also, remember to enjoy it!

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Crowdfunding through Fringemakers was our main source of funding to bring our show to the Fringe in 2023. It not only allowed us to pay for the trains, flights and accommodation for the week we were there performing but it also helped us cover the costs of the extra trip from London to Edinburgh for the press release prior to our shows. The sum we raised helped us cover the cost of having an original musical score created from scratch; we also were able to hire a costume designer to work with us and create unique costumes. A huge chunk of our rehearsal space hiring fees were also covered by the crowdfunding.

We found the guidance provided by the Fringe website to be incredibly helpful. It does take hard work and continuous effort to get it set up and to keep it going but it was all very straightforward and clearly described on the website and via the FringeMakers crowdfunding tutorial. If you follow the tips, advice and various stages of implementation suggested then it continues to build momentum naturally.

What was key for us was reaching out to people outside of our artistic circle. All artists and dancers we know are in similar situations of raising funds so although they may want to support you, they can't contribute as much as they would like to. We followed the provided instructions to reach out to immediate family first and then to progressively expand the circle of people we were reaching. Mainly, we encouraged friends who are not in the art world but great lovers of it to share with their colleagues. 

The various tiers and prizes worked wonders too! We offered three different prizes to donors who contributed specific amounts and they loved receiving their gifts. We would thank them on social media and they could then reshare for us to help us reach new audiences.

It was our absolute first Fringe experience and we loved it! It was an amazing opportunity to build connections and to grow our very small dance company and begin to place it on the map. There is so much going on that it is impossible to feel bored at any time and it was truly inspiring to see so much beautiful work be presented on stages – or anywhere really! It was inspiring and refreshing, but you do need to make sure you have a rest every now and again! It's a great place to see a huge variety and to think about what does and doesn't work and how to make changes and grow your specific performance or company.

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FringeMakers crowdfunding was integral to bringing our debut play, Artist / Muse, to the Fringe in 2023. Our company ethos is to create and generate paid work for marginalised voices, which we were only able to do because of the funds we raised on this platform. The majority of funds raised went towards fair compensation for our actors (who we engaged on an Equity Fringe Agreement) and creatives, while the rest was put towards their accommodation in Edinburgh. Thanks to FringeMakers, we were able to fulfill our company mandate by enabling a majority global majority and LGBTQ+ cast and creative team to participate in the Fringe, showcase their talent and launch their careers, opening up more opportunities for paid work. 

Setting up the crowdfunding campaign was a relatively straightforward process. We invested most of our time in crafting a fun and compelling concept to capture attention. Once we had a clear idea, navigating the website and setting up the campaign was easy. 

While managing the campaign, we found ongoing engagement with potential donors to be crucial. We utilised our social media platform to do shout-outs when people donated as an encouragement for future potential donors, and did long-form video content explaining how the funds would be used and how our company was budgeting for success. Luckily, we have a strong video editor and marketing manager on the team, so we didn’t need much extra support, but the Fringe Society website was very helpful for our initial research process on how to build a successful campaign and what platform to use for our crowdfunding. 

We really spent a lot of time on making our campaign video engaging and creative. We provided clear information about our show, why we need the funding, and how the contributions would be used. We made sure it was entertaining, showcased the unique characteristics of our company and our show, and did our best to maintain the audience’s attention until the end. Imagine you are making a mini version of your show through this campaign! 

Actively promoting your campaign is vital. Don’t be afraid to tell people about your crowdfunding page and ask them to share it. You might feel embarrassed asking people for money, but remember that you are providing something valuable in return, putting all your time and resources into a show that will entertain, educate or challenge audiences. Your message and your art are important, and there are people who truly believe in what you do and want you to succeed. 

We personally found messaging people directly to be most efficient. Send them a personalised message asking them to spread the word or if they can, contribute any amount that suits them for the project. Be conscious of the fact that not everyone is able to contribute financially, and take the time to thank people for their help even if it is just to share your campaign with their friends – every little bit helps!

We also made sure we had a good reward system to incentivise people to donate. We were conscious of the fact that a lot of our potential donors were either international or would not be able to see the show in Edinburgh, and we structured our reward tiers accordingly! In addition to free tickets to the show and tickets to fundraising events we held in London, we also offered access to behind-the-scenes content, social media shout-outs and a link to a recording of our show. All of the above contributed to our very successful campaign, raising almost £6,000 for our show.

Our Fringe experience was absolutely amazing. It was our first year doing a show as a company, and for some of us, our first year in Edinburgh ever! We had the best time immersing ourselves in the vibrant atmosphere, watching shows and getting to know like-minded creatives. We started planning our return almost immediately after our run in 2023 – keep your eyes peeled for our FringeMakers campaigns launching ahead of Fringe 2024!

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Thumbnail photo credit: Magnetoreception (2023), Greenside. Photographer: Edmond Choo.