This article is written by guest contributor Brian Meece, CEO of RocketHub.

Crowdfunding is an online event with a beginning, middle, and end. It is a fundraising process with a deadline. Crowdfunding is trade, not aid – where tangible goods and services are offered in return for financial contributions. It is not charity or financial investment. Crowdfunding is a new way for artists, producers and labels to raise funds while galvanizing their network of fans.

One of the key elements of a successful music crowdfunding project is the rewards offered in exchange for financial contributions – since crowfunding varies from a straight commerce or donation model.

Rewards = a set of goods, services, and experiences that fans receive in exchange for participating in your project.

These rewards create an exchange element that is vital for sustainable crowdfunding – plus they entice fans to contribute at various price points. Having multiple price points is key to effectively monetizing a fanbase, since the different levels let all those who wish to be involved participate in your crowdfunding campaign – based on their financial means.

Here are a few tips for designing your Rewards Menu:
  • Do have a wide range of price-points and options within the ranges: small ($10-$100), medium ($150-$500), large ($600-$1,000) and extra-large ($1,000+).
  • Do allow your fans to impact the project and gain a connection to you in some way. Some ideas include giving them an advance copy of your album, providing access to a show or recording session, or inviting members of your audience to hang – e.g. “go bowling” – or participate in a special event. We’ve seen musicians offer baked goods, surfing lessons, and handmade postcards as rewards. What creative and scarce reward can you offer?
  • Do spend the time to put together an enticing Rewards Menu. It should take you a nice amount of time to sit down and think about what your growing fanbase wants – and how you can make each reward special. Lay it all out on paper and improve it before launching the project to the world.

During your crowdfunding campaign, publicly celebrate rewards taken by fans – through social media and in public appearances. This will highlight the unique nature of what you are offering and it will also set the stage for additional contributions. Remember to always thank those fans that have chosen to support you and mention your excitement for delivering their reward.

Brian Meece plays a mean ukulele and is CEO of RocketHub, one of the world’s top crowdfunding platforms, which has been featured in The New York Times, CNN, NPR, and The Economist. Brian has lectured on crowdsourced funding at SXSW, Berklee College of Music, Columbia University, NXNE (Canada’s largest interactive conference), among other universities, conferences and institutions.