Soap Box Rants
A WEEKLY COLUMN to CopyLine Magazine
By Pamela Bratcher-McMillan
President, Chair & CEO, of PETAL et al.
Do you or your organization have a great idea, but not enough money to get it off the ground? Have the banks turned you down and youâ€™ve had no luck securing a small loan for your great idea? Youâ€™ve tried family and friends, but they couldnâ€™t help you out or couldnâ€™t see your vision in the same way you could see it?
Well never fear, crowdfunding is here. Crowdfunding is an old idea that has grown legs with the power of the internet and has been helpful in taking small ideas and turning them into full-blown, fully-developed products, services or activities. On crowdfunding websites like KickStarter.com, Indiegogo.com, and GoFundMe.com., random people with an interest in your project pull together on your project site and make donations. And if you reach your monetary goal, youâ€™ll receive the money to invest in your project.
This is the way it works: You post a video or images to a website with information on why you need the money, how much it will cost you to accomplish what you need, and what you are willing to offer in exchange for monetary support and why it is a good idea to invest in you.
You should display examples of your project or show it in its final stages to draw interest and support. For example, I want to create a comic book. I can draw pictures, but I need to hire a writer and a layout artist. Iâ€™ve looked into the cost, and my writer tells me he will charge me $900 to take my story idea and outline and turn it into a thirty-page comic. The printer says it will cost me $5,000 dollars for 700 comic books, and the layout artist wants $400. I pay a marketing firm $1,200 dollars to promote the book. Itâ€™s going to cost me about $7,500 to get the book done, but Iâ€™m a college student working out of my dorm room. I donâ€™t have that kind of money. What do I do? Find a crowdfunding site and put together an awesome video to convince your audience your product is something they would want to invest in or buy. It can be anything that would be of value to people.
Prior to creating the video, youâ€™ll want to come up with some creative and useful incentives to offer in exchange for donations. With the example above, I might send thank you note cards with the main characters on them. For a $5.oo donation, I would send 5 postcards for them to use; $10.00 for all of the above with an extra 5 postcards, and so on. It can go as high as $50.00 to be a character in the book. The options are only limited by your imagination. Just make sure you can deliver. You do not want to disappoint your investors. They believed in you by investing in your idea.
Most crowdfunding sites offer a blogging feature so you can keep your audience abreast of the updates on the project, as you should. So dust off your old idea, and try bringing it to life with some anxious investors looking for unique ideas.
Tip: You have a better chance of getting full funding by doing your campaigns in phases. If you donâ€™t get enough investors to cover the project, the donations do not get charged to the donorâ€™s credit card with most crowdfunding sites. There are some exceptions, but few.
Pamela Bratcher-McMillan is a technology Expert and President, Chair & CEO, of PETAL et al.