SA Crowdfunding Blog

Monday, 05 November 2012 00:00

Crowdfunding Success Series: The Olympic City

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Having the Olympics come to town is a big deal for any city. Jon Pack and Gary Hustwit want to get beyond the advertising, however, and to give people a deeper insight into what having the Olympics come to your city actually means. Their project involves going around and taking pictures of cities that have hosted the Olympics in the past and seeing how they look long after the games have ended, the medals have been handed out and the world turns its attention to the next Olympic Games.

The total project goal was set at $45,000. By the time funding ended in the summer of 2012, the pair had netted $66,162 to complete the project.

The project is an ambitious one. The book is designed to be approximately 200 pages in length and is slated for publication in March of 2013. There will be digital copies of the books distributed, as well, in limited numbers. The project will take the photographers around the world to photograph former Olympic sites.

Why It Worked


First and foremost, the Olympic City appeals to people's sense of curiosity. What does happen to those cities that host the Olympics long after the games have ended? According to the pitch page for the project, some of the Olympic facilities end up getting converted into prisons, others are simply abandoned and still other fates await for some. This offers a bit of drama, of course, and drama almost always sells.

The photographers also were very transparent about what they intended to do with the funding that they received. This money was not intended for wages. The money was used to cover the costs of production, the costs of design, the traveling expenses involved and the printing of the book itself. This allows people to contribute to the project without having to worry that they are spending their money simply supporting someone who is unable to make a living on their own. What they're funding is a good idea and the photographers establish themselves as people who could pull it off successfully.

People who made particularly large donations to the project received special perks. These came in the form of special editions of the books, getting to travel with the photographers and other offerings. This is a great way to reach out to people and to make them feel like more of a part of the project itself, which can really help with getting funding started.

Take Away Lesson

While most of the projects you see on crowd funding sites have an appeal to people who really like the idea of an entrepreneur being successful, others have different appeals. In this case, the appeal is that the project will document history. It will also peek behind all of the public-relations work that goes into promoting the Olympics and see what it really means to have these games hosted in your city. In some cases, it's likely that the book will make the idea attractive and, in others, it may even turn some cities off to the idea altogether. That's powerful and a lot of people will consider it something worth funding.


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