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Crowd-funding Your Project

Crowd-funding Your Project

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Published by Crowdsourcing.org

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Published by: Crowdsourcing.org on Mar 05, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Crowd-funding your project 
Small businesses, artists and charities get creative to raise funds
By LORI HENRY, Special to QMI AgencyLast Updated: March 5, 2011 12:00am
What happens when funding dries up,investors are uninterested and grant requestsare denied?It comes down to money: whether it's acreative project in search of funds, a start-upbusiness hunting for investors, or a charityventure raising money for their cause, thebottom line is that each requires cold hardcash. Instead of relying solely on governmentgrants and investors, though, entrepreneurs are turning to crowd-funding to seetheir project to fruition.
A new way to finance
 Crowd-funding relies on the general public to make micropayments in order tofund a project. Many Canadian artists, entrepreneurs, charities and smallbusinesses are getting in on the trend, posting their projects on websites likeIndieGoGo.com. Once a project is posted, the public can donate in any amount tohelp achieve "success" (a predetermined goal amount).Vancouver-based filmmaker Stephen Gillis is one such artist. His productioncompany, Random Pictures, is currently raising funds for its latest project,Solar Maasai, a documentary about bringing solar power to a village in Kenya.
On why he decided to go the crowd-funding route, Stephen says: "If I can create atrack record with this project and my project before [This Wrestling Life] andprojects moving forward, I hope that I don't have to dance so much within thesystem"¦ If we finish the project on our own, then we can take it to film marketsand festivals and networks, and, ultimately, the rewards are going to come back tothe company and not someone else."That incentive, and the fact that artists don't lose creative control or have to answer to funding agencies, is what makes crowd-funding so appealing.Continues Gillis: "As long as we can build an audience along with getting somefunding as we go, I think it's beneficial and positive, more so than [the film] justlaying dormant on our hard drive."
eturn on your time
 Danae Ringelmann, one of the founders and the Chief Operating Officer of IndieGoGo, the most popular crowd-funding site for Canadians, agrees. Althoughshe still sees traditional funding as an important part of some projects, she seescrowd-funding as a great way to find complementary money, as well as being apositive return on your time. "If you spend a week writing a grant and you don't getit, that's no return on your time. If you spend a week reaching out to partner organizations, talking to bloggers, even if that one person or one of their followersfunds you, you're still up from $0, you still have a positive return on your timebecause now way more people know about your campaign"¦ It's not time wasted,ever."Who else is crowd-funding? Those using IndieGoGo.com have funded the re-opening of Awaken Café in Oakland ($3,538), are helping Shirley-Anne Husumget special multipleSclerosis treatment ($3,356 and counting), and have gotten Creators with Cancer, agroup of artists with the disease who are raising awareness via storytelling, $1,900into their $5,000 goal.
anae's Tips for Crowd-funding
 1. Make it personal: "Show who you really are because people fund people firstand then they fund ideas second."2. Start with those you know: "People like to jump on exciting things, so validateyour funding with your core friends, family and followers, and then move out fromthere."3. Proactive outreach: "Whether it's going to influencers like bloggers or going topartner organizations, it really does make a difference the more active you are."4. Creative perks (depending on the amount contribution): "A special uniqueexperience that no one would be able to have without being a part of your projectis a great way to captivate interest and motivate someone from being just a fan to afunder."
Crowd-funding obstacles
 1. Donor burnout: With so many projects requesting money, those being solicitedmay have already been asked many times before you approach them.2. Amount of funding available: The majority of projects are on the smaller scale,as people tend to donate up to $100.3. All about the network: Social media networks are vital to success. Facebook andTwitter lead the way in collecting funds.4. Doing it for yourself: Putting up a campaign does not guarantee anything.Creators must continuously petition for attention.
Other crowd-funding sites
 Kickstarter.com: Similarly to IndieGoGo.com, Kickstarter's users ask their networks for money to invest in projects. The big difference? Unless the fundinggoal is reached, no one gets (or pays) anything.

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