So you want to fund your docuseries…. ‘Elephant Room’ by Sofia Vegas

The Elephant Room is a 6-part docuseries that explores heavily stigmatised experiences through intimate, poetic storytelling from complete strangers, told in the private sanctuary of their living room. The series is about reclaiming taboo, liberating shame, and giving people the opportunity to take back ownership of their lived experience. 


Launching on 31/01/2022 and closing two months later,The Elephant Room was a great success sailing past the original target of $7,000 to raise $10,040. We chatted to creator Sofia Viegas to see what went on behind the scenes to run her successful campaign.  


Tell us about your fundraising strategy. 

Our fundraising strategy was serving to garner financial backing to support the production of the third episode of the series. Given this project has been entirely self-funded, our ability to film was entirely dependent on additional funding. As such, we set out initially to raise $7K which was predominately promoted through our online platforms (Instagram and Facebook). We had developed a targeted fundraising campaign video that we plugged to help drive the campaign, along with a targeted strategic socials campaign. Our community and engagement online grew hugely from the campaign video and information being shared. As such, we were able not only to reach the $7,000 target, but also extend and attain the goal of $10K.  

To bolster our campaign, we supported online discussions, content creation, and promotion of education and advocacy aligned to the ethos of our project. Our focus is very much centred on generating greater impact amongst our audience in normalising stigma and reshaping conversation associated with taboo and pain. A lot of our campaign, whilst geared towards raising funds, was to generate greater awareness and a sense of belonging amongst our audience.  


How did this strategy assist your fundraising campaign to stand out? 

Given so much of our documentary project is centred on impact, creating discourse, content, and presence online to stimulate conversation and build a community of support amongst our audience was essential. This certainly enabled our fundraising campaign to really build traction and momentum as we expanded our reach. The vision for The Elephant Room, whilst centred on storytelling through a film medium, extends beyond the screen. It’s as much about documentary, as it is generating impact for our viewers. As such, creating a targeted video campaign which spoke to the heart of the project, and inviting our prospective donors into the specific details of the project, certainly helped to build trust and investment.  

Many people reached out online echoing their interest and appreciation in the philosophy of the project and how it was helping to create a sense of belonging already amongst our viewership. As such, I believe so much of the success of our fundraising campaign can be attributed to the greater vision we have in creating community, generating conversation, sharing education and advocacy, and challenging limiting and harmful mainstream narrative around shame and stigma.  


How did you contact your donors and form a relationship during the campaign and post fundraising? 

Our donors were primarily contacted via email and social media (Instagram). We sent emails to those who donated to the campaign in expressing gratitude for their generosity and faith in the project. We also shared information, updates, and thanks online on our social media pages (predominately Facebook and Instagram). Lots of our communication with donors and other stakeholders involved in promoting the project on their socials took place online.  


Tell us about your experience using the ACF as a fundraising platform. 

ACF has been an incredibly smooth sailing and successful fundraising platform to use. From the get-go, we have found its usability very straight forward. To have an entire fundraising platform committed to supporting creatives in actualising their visions towards a more culturally enriched social fabric is rather remarkable. We feel immense gratitude for the success of this project, and much of that is thanks to the access it grants creatives to in reaching wider funding audiences and prospective donors. 

I believe the setup of a campaign in terms of the landing page, and the content that can be shared online through each ACF profile, really lends itself to detailed and strong campaigns. It was beneficial for us to be able to share the details of our project in such depth, as well as a gallery of images and videos pertaining to our process and project at large. 

The ACF staff supporting us throughout have been incredibly helpful at every stage of our campaign lifecycle, supporting us to extend the campaign dates when we had such quick initial success, so that we could further our financial goal. Monitoring the progress and involvement of all donors so we could reach out to everyone who contributed was made very easy through their donor breakdown. As was receiving the funds at the conclusion of the campaign. 


Feeling inspired? Start your fundraising journey today by registering a profile on the ACF and #makeculturehappen!