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Considering Crowdfunding? Check out The Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding

July 23, 2014

The Ultimate Guide to CrowdfundingIf you haven’t heard of crowdfunding by now, it’s not too late. Even if you have heard of it, you might not really understand it. The Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding is your one-stop source for a lot of information on crowdfunding, successful crowdfunding projects, and the best sources/sites for crowdfunding. The Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding is an infographic that has hyperlinks to more information about each topic, each source, and each story behind it.

At the top of the infographic, there are links for finding out exactly what crowdfunding is and an analysis of whether it’s right for your business.

On the infographic, you also have a profile of 14 of the top crowdfunding sites with an associated review and a success story.

One thing to note about crowdfunding is that you have to be motivated to raise your funds. It’s not a “set it and forget it” type of thing. And I want to warn you, the results in the success stories are not typical. They are big success stories. For all the projects that get funding, thousands more do not.

Kickstarter, for example, might be the biggest name out there, but in my opinion, it’s the worst of the lot because of its ‘all or nothing’ funding scheme. Again, in my opinion, Indiegogo is a much better site for funding those types of projects. I’ve seen too many good projects go unfunded on Kickstarter that would have benefitted from Indiegogo’s partial funding successes.

In other words, if you setup a $50,000 campaign on Kickstarter and you receive $49,999, you get $0. With Indiegogo, you get $49,999 or however much your contributors pledged toward your campaign. There’s also the problem of non-payment on some of these platforms. Some, like Kickstarter, take the pledges and hold them in escrow until the end of the campaign.

I have yet to use a crowdfunding site for any of my projects, although I’m pondering doing so within the next few months. I have contributed to a number of successful and unsuccessful campaigns on Kickstarter and on Indiegogo.

To setup a crowdfunded project, you have to offer your contributors ‘perks.’ Perks are tokens of your appreciation and incentives for people to contribute to your project. I usually don’t take the perks because I want the artists to receive all the funds I send them without strings and I don’t want them hassled with having to worry about perks when they should focus their energies on the projects that I’m funding.

Crowdfunding can be a great way to get your ideas off the ground, but remember that your contributors will hold you accountable for their earned perks and the project itself, so you’d better be prepared to deliver.

Generally, there’s no payback associated with crowdfunding, although I haven’t checked out all 14 of the sites listed on the infographic. The payback is the project. People like to contribute to something that’s bigger than themselves. Some people, like myself, like to contribute to artists and filmmakers to see just what’s possible through donations. It gives me the power to help people realize their dreams that otherwise they might not have the opportunity to do so.

If I ever win the lottery, I will set aside a portion of the money for artistic projects and endowments. I think that there’s no greater achievement in this world than to create. Whether it’s a mural in the ‘hood’ or a feature-length film, I want to see it happen.

But, this isn’t about me. It’s about the projects and their creators. Crowdfunding is an excellent way to put something into action. If you have the money, go to some of the listed sites, pick some projects, select your perks (if you want them), and fund some hope. If you, on the other hand, are someone who has a project in mind that crowdfunding is a fit for, sign up on one of the sites that’s appropriate for your project and get busy.

Remember that the perks you offer can be very small, such as mention on a website as a contributor. But, as the amount of contribution rises, so do the perk values. Some people offer all expenses paid trips to large contributors, special privileges to the project, part ownership, or some other creative perk. While this is not a review of one particular site/system over another, crowdfunding is a thing and it’s a good thing.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to sign up, log on, create your campaign, develop your perks, and get busy on that project. And one of the ancillary requirements of your campaigns is that you let me know about them. No, I’m not kidding. I’ll even help fund some of them.

I’d like to thank Choice Loans for sharing this infographic.

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  1. July 26, 2014 at 9:36 PM

    Great article! I’ve been thinking of doing a crowdfunding campaign for a cemetery restoration project, but I have no idea how to get started on it, or what kind of perks I could offer. Any suggestions?

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