May 8, 2014

Sammi Taylor

45_1311.jpgLet’s say that you have a really, really great idea. This idea is not only going to help you, but it’s going to do great things for other people too. It might provide information, awareness, assistance or just a hell of a lot of enjoyment. Basically, your idea is awesome. And you want other people to see how awesome this idea of yours is.

The problem? Your idea is a little too expensive for your wallet to handle. You can’t help but think, that if a bunch of people donated, say, a dollar each, you would have covered the costs in no time. “That’s only a quarter of the price of your morning coffee!” I hear you say. Well, you’re correct. The world is filled with generous souls—why wouldn’t they want to help you out?

Enter crowdfunding: an initiative for members of the public to pool together their money via the internet, in order to fund a person or organisation’s brilliant idea. It’s like a personal charity, with less focus on solving world hunger, and more focus on creating that toaster/kettle hybrid machine you’ve been brainstorming for ages. It’s an industry that is rapidly growing, worth 89 million dollars in 2010, and is estimated to have reached the value of 5.1 billion dollars last year. That’s a lot of generous people.

Crowdfunding can achieve pretty much anything. From generating the costs for local bands to record albums or pay petrol costs on tour, to funding the entire Veronica Mars film (which produced 5.6 million dollars in just a few months). Floridian parents Sean and Jessica Haley used crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to pay for their IVF treatment, making newborn son Landon the first ever crowdfunded baby. There’s even the guy who simply wanted a burrito, appealed to a crowdfunding audience, and got his $8 in a matter of minutes.


So if you do have a brilliant idea (or you just really want a burrito), but you’re a student living on instant mi-goreng noodles, scamming off other people’s free WiFi and on a steady wage of ten dollars an hour, crowdfunding might be for you. Here’s how:

  1. Pick your Platform: With the popularity of the industry growing rapidly, new crowdfunding platforms are popping up every day. Some of the most popular are Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Pozible. Make sure you research each in depth and are aware of their limitations (Indiegogo’s “Fixed Funding” only allows you to collect your money once you reach a target amount, and if you fail to do so, all of your donators are refunded). Also make sure you’re aware of the amount the company themselves will take from your raised funds (anywhere from 0% – 15%).
  2. Make your campaign worth your contributors time: that means you need a better reason than just “We want money”. Explain to your audience why your project is important to you, and important to them. Show them just how passionate you are with a pitch video, outlining exactly what you want to achieve. You can even provide a rewards system to your contributors for added incentive (ex. a local band might give every person who contributed $20 to their recording fund a copy of their EP, or free downloads of their songs). The rewards system is key to a successful campaign.
  3. Share like you’ve never shared before: You don’t have a twitter account? Get one. By the end of your campaign, everyone from your twice removed cousin to your mother’s best friend’s hairdresser should know about your campaign. Utilise social media to its full extent. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MySpace* every single one of them should be plastered with your name, your face and your campaign. The more people that see what you’re doing, the more successfully your project will be funded.

So what are you waiting for? Jump onto a crowdfunding platform and make that idea a reality. Or just buy that burrito with your own money. Your choice.

*I was totally kidding about MySpace. Nobody has logged on this decade. Go back to 2007.

Sammi Taylor

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