Fundraising with a Lego twist
Back in August of 2011, Emma Sterling and I commenced work on our first documentary feature film project, entitled Cuttlefish Country. Funded initially by our inner circle of family and friends via generous gift donations at our wedding, we carefully considered extra measures to support us through what has became an unexpectedly long production period. Danimations is rarely known to do things conventionally, and we ultimately decided to combine our fundraising objectives with the development of a range of fun products. The rationale was simple: raise money, awareness and smiles all with some clever merchandising ideas, and a few web 2.0 tools.
After producing some project-specific designs and products, a spin-off line of products was created, inspired by our reignited passion for LEGO bricks and building. One of the production techniques we decided upon for our film as the story unfolded was to build and animate replicas of real-world places, vehicles and scenarios from Cuttlefish Country out of LEGO. This in turn inspired a range of t-shirts, apparel, badges, hats and other items derived from and inspired by vintage Lego worlds and figures.
Choosing the fundraising platform
Early in the project’s life, we had decided to crowd-source additional funds for the film, via a listing on the website Kickstarter. To register with Kickstarter, you must offer donors to your project a teared set of incentives, thankyou gifts in effect, to encourage cash pledges towards your project. This decision was ultimately postponed due to a lack of time and staff in our tiny crew, so instead we took a different tack. Having had prior experience with making custom products on Zazzle and RedBubble, we decided to create some LEGO themed products which could act as fun gifts as well as raise some money for our ongoing production. We even threw a LEGO party, and encouraged friends to bring bricks along to help us build our animated sets or buy some of our products to wear for the occasion.
Design, Customise & Deliver
Our LEGO designs began with the dolphin logo which originally appeared on vintage Lego divers back in the 1990’s. Next came designs from townsfolk’s minifig shirts and eventually some classics were released from vintage space and knights lines. You will find them all available for purchase below. If you haven’t shopped at Zazzle or Redbubble before, you’ll be impressed by the way you, the customer, are able to further customise these products. You can easily change the garment style and colour, or in the case of Zazzle, even add your own creative flair by adding extra text or images to the design and modifying the layout. From the maker’s perspective, these web 2.0 tools are excellent, as the service provider handles production and delivery, and simply returns a royalty back to you as the creator of the artwork. Establishing stores on these sites is free of charge, and royalties on purchases are set manually by you, the store owner.
I hope you enjoy our little selection of Lego ispired costumes, shirts and products here. If you do purchase one of our items, we’d love to see a picture of you putting it to use when it arrives. We will be hosting a gallery of our friends and fans over at our Cuttlefish Country website in the future.
Since Em and I work as freelancers in a young start-up business, it’s often difficult for us financially to ‘do our bit’ and donate to worthy causes. By that I mean organizations and activities that toil to improve the states of the planet and humanity. I did however just stumble upon the website Everywun which makes spreading positive messages and raising money for charitable causes exceptionally easy for anyone with an internet presence.
My first encounter with web 2.0 charitable giving came through the Causes application for Facebook back in 2007, and it’s good to see that the process is evolving. Unlike many alternatives who require viewers to donate directly, simply displaying sponsored ‘badges’ like these drives financial donations from the sponsoring businesses, directly to the causes you care most for.
Signing up is quick, simple and doesn’t ask for any personal information beyond your name and email address, and your account can be linked to your Facebook profile with a simple click of a button. Code is also generated so you can embed the badges, as they appear below. The process is painless and takes well under 5 minutes… time well spent in reducing the disparities in education, health and welfare between developed and developing countries. It’s not all about people either, and badges supporting progressive environmental action and animal welfare are also available, no doubt with more great causes to follow. In short, if you’re a sensitive, altruistic internet user with a web presence (even if it’s just a Facebook profile) spend a few minutes at Everywun and brighten up the planet’s future.