If you want to raise money for your own charitable endeavour or creative project, crowdfunding is the white hot way to do it.
AFFECT YOUR CAUSE | Last month, when popstar Adam Lambert asked his then 860,000 Twitter followers to help him raise $290,000 in under two weeks for his current favourite cause Charity: Water, even his own father expressed skepticism. But fans, in a testament to Lambert’s power to mobilize the troops, crashed the charity’s website on the last day to donate, and Lambert wound up just $10,000 shy of his goal.
Last week Lambert tweeted fans to visit kickstarter.com and check out his pal guitarist Monte Pittman’s campaign to raise funds for a self-published album. That shoutout helped Pittman surpass his financial goal in less than a day.
Both Lambert and Pittman were tapping into the power of crowdfunding—Lambert for charity, Pittman for working capital—and you can tap into it too, to support a personal cause or a creative project of your own.
What Is Crowdfunding?
First of all, it isn’t new. Think televised disaster-relief fundraising or pledge week on PBS, where large numbers of people give small amounts of money in support of something that grabs them, and you’ve got the picture. What is new is that crowdfunding is happening online and through social media on websites that offer individual artists and entrepreneurs an opportunity to “create campaigns and fund ideas” using online pledge systems that offer investors rewards and perks (just like PBS).
Late last fall, Kevin Lawton, author of The Crowdfunding Revolution, reported in the Huffington Post that crowdfunding is now so pervasive that “more than 175 crowdfunding sites exist online” with what seems like “new ones popping up every other day.” The following six have gleaned maximum buzz:
6 Top Crowdfunding Websites
Kickstarter.com is focused on the creative projects of artists, filmmakers, musicians, designers, writers, illustrators, etc. To lower the risk for investors, if a project isn’t fully funded before its allotted time, no money changes hands. Kickstarter is available to U.S. residents only, but there does seem to be a way around this wrinkle because we noticed a Canadian working with a Seattle designer is soliciting funds for an iPad stand he invented. www.kickstarter.com
IndieGoGo.com is a platform that can be used by anyone living anywhere in the world. If you don’t meet your funding goal, you still keep the money you raise with your campaign. While IndieGogo attracts creative types, it also appeals to those with cause-related projects, even highly personal ones like unexpected medical bills. www.indiegogo.com
ProFounder.com going appeal to entrepreneurs serious about growing their business, which may be why Canadian Bruce Sellery, author of Moolala, brought this site to the attention of viewers when he appeared on MSNBC’s Your Business last week. Visit www.profounder.com
RocketHub.com offers an opportunity for all creatives to harness the power of the crowd. Launched globally just 11 months ago, it has made a real push to make its platform work for independent artists and entrepreneurs in Canada (read about it HERE). www.rockethub.com
Quirky.com is a social product development company. Send the company a product idea, and if it thinks it’s got legs, the Quirky.com team works to bring it to life and help sell it worldwide, including on Quirky.com. To learn more about its process and see/purchase some of its products, visit www.quirky.com
Catwalkgenius.com is a site where you choose independent fashion designers whose work you admire, financially invest in their newest collection and share in sales revenues—putting “your money where your style is” as The New York Times described it. www.catwalkgenius.com
Photo: Roots Canada