Crowdfunding Platforms Downunder

After ten months beyond the reaches of the mobile connected world in the vast Western Australian wheatbelt, I’ve got speed wobbles on this fast internet connection and I am wondering what has happened in the crowdfunding world since I suddenly and unexpectedly lost contact…

Wheatbelt, Western Australia

Pozible has gone from strength to strength continually injecting fresh ideas.  I could spend the day just getting to know Pozible all over again.  Here are just a few of the things happening at Pozible …

  • Bankmecu’s ‘You Vote, We Pledge” six month promotion whereby you like Bankmecu’s Facebook page and then vote for a Pozible crowdfunding campaign.  The campaign with the most votes wins a $500 pledge from Mecubank.
  • Subscription Crowdfunding “You can now offer Subscription-based rewards – where the funds are collected on a regular (weekly, monthly, annually) basis. Each of your rewards can be subscription-based or they can be a combination of subscription-based rewards or one-off standard rewards. For example, you can offer a $5 per month reward alongside a one-off $25 reward.
  • Find out how you can score a free beer from Pozible’s co-founders.
  • Read about new ways Pozible will help you to use social media tools Instagram, Twitter and more on your crowdfunding campaign.
  • STAND UP, STAND OUT, a one-night only live pitching event on 31 May, The Rocks, Sydney as part of Vivid Ideas 2014. Check out Vivid Ideas 2014.  I can recommend the Sydney Opera House light show, Lighting of the Sails.

And there’s more but I will leave some things for you to discover for yourself at Pozible.

Just as Pozible was the first serious kid on the block in Australia, Pledgeme took crowdfunding mainstream in New Zealand. They’ve been involved in Start Up Weekend and always have good down-to-earth advice such as found in this blog post, ‘Why your Mother is the MOST Important Person to Your Crowdfunding Campaign’. More towards the end of this post about the exciting, BIG changes ahead for Pledgeme as a result of new legislation in New Zealand.

The two Australian sports-focused crowdfunding websites, Sportaroo and Team Bus launched around the same time and it is great to see they are both active and running successful crowdfunding campaigns.  Fanfuel, a third sports-focused crowdfunding platform has launched more recently.  New Zealand has its own sport-focused platform, Sportfunder and now its sister site, Healthfunder has launched.  And NZ based platform, Thrill Pledge focuses on sports and entertainment.

The music-focused crowdfunding platform, Zoshpit launched and is running successful crowdfunding campaigns. Whereas Start Music started and then stopped … Oops! Google Chrome could not find …..

I’ve been approached by people wanting me to launch a platform with them and they just think it’s as easy as creating a website and then sitting back to collect 5% of the funds raised on the way through.  Launching a crowdfunding platform, growing it and maintaining the momentum takes commitment – perhaps it could be said that launching a successful crowdfunding platform is the ultimate crowdfunding campaign!

Crowdfunding platforms that have decided not to launch as planned or have fallen by the way in Australia and New Zealand in the past year or so are testament to that … Project Powerup, Social BackingFillim hasn’t launched their funding arm as yet but it’s worth a visit to check out the films for viewing and Fundnz just disappeared.

iPledg is still around.  Sproutback has launched and has several campaigns currently running.  Jumpstartz  has started too.

Chip in has raised $40,984 so far for Australia’s not-for-profits. Chuffed is supported by The Telstra Foundation in Australia to provide a fee-free crowdfunding platform for charities and not-for-profit campaigns. The Telecom Foundation supports New Zealand Crowdfunding website, Give a Little in the same way.

Village RaisedOnline fundraising for schools.  It takes a village to raise a child; and a cyber village to raise many.”  is a new crowdfunding website out of Sydney.

The Arts Foundation of NZ “established Boosted to build a new generation of art donors.” Some other niche crowdfunding platforms are Publishizer which is a pre-order platform for books and Stage Label for emerging fashion designers where “Designers post their new concepts and if you love the design you can pledge money to help fund the new piece.”  “They set a target number of designs they need to sell before it is viable for them to produce the design and a maximum number of sales to ensure uniqueness.”

Two of the biggest US crowdfunding platforms, Kickstarter and Indiegogo have hit the Australian crowdfunding scene. Australians ran successful crowdfunding campaigns on these two platforms before they came to Australia but previously it was difficult for non-US residents to launch a Kickstarter campaign.

Anna Maguire from Crowdfundit interviewed Indiegogo’s Australian representative, Tony Been.  Read Kickstarter’s blog post about their launch downunder if you missed it late last year.

And possibly the biggest news from New Zealand is regarding the FUNDS 4 EQUITY and FUNDS 4 DEBT crowdfunding models both of which are now possible under the new Financial Markets Conduct Bill  which came into effect on 1 April this year.  Did you know the new financial year in New Zealand starts on April Fool’s Day?!

Pledgeme has announced their intention of entering the FUNDS 4 EQUITY scene with a serious piece from the Otago Daily Times and a lighter approach from Anna Guenther, Pledge Me co-founder’s, blog post.  Snowball Effect looks set to launch into the FUNDS 4 EQUITY too. ASSOB has been operating in Australia for some time for investors with larger sums of money.

Lend it has been in the peer-to-peer lending scene for a while and will be interesting to follow now the new legislation has come into effect. Society One in Australia has also been involved in peer-to-peer lending for a while.

Micro financier, Good Return is Australian based and operates like the well-known international microfinance platform, Kiva. “Good Return combines microfinance and education to help the poor in the Asia Pacific change their own lives forever.”

That’s my round up of the crowdfunding platforms in Australia and New Zealand. If you know of any others or are about to launch, let me know so we can get the word out there.

Enjoy your weekend.  It’s nice to be back in the connected world.

Jane

11 Ideas to Promote UR Crowdfunding Campaign

11 Ideas to Promote UR Crowdfunding Campaign without Annoying the HELL out of your FOLLOWERS, FRIENDS, FANS, FAMILY!

Most of the people visiting your crowdfunding campaign will be lead there by U!  Many will not visit your crowdfunding campaign the first time you ask them to do so.  You may need to remind them a few times before they get around to viewing your campaign.  You may need to remind them another time or two before they get around to making a pledge.  You may need to remind them again to spread the word about your crowdfunding campaign to their own networks.  They may start to feel you are NAGGING and SWITCH OFF!

Crowdfunding Campaign update

How can you promote your crowdfunding campaign without annoying the HELL out of everyone?  And find a way to have them spread the word about your crowdfunding campaign without lots of reminders.

  1. Learn from others who have successfully gone before you – before you launch, follow a couple of crowdfunding campaigns that look as if they are going to be successful on all the social media tools they are using.  Also view their older posts to see what they did pre-launch to encourage pledging.
  2. Make your crowdfunding campaign page so amazing that people want to share itUlule, a crowdfunding platform based in France puts it nicely, “A successful project is one that makes people want to be a part of it.  Be generous! Large pictures, nice videos, clear and ordered presentation. Basically, show what you want!  A project that is great to discover will be shared more willingly.”  
  3. Provide project updates (these are not crowdfunding campaign updates) – while you are running your crowdfunding campaign hopefully you will still have time to work on your actual project.  Tammi Jonas is crowdfunding for an On-Farm Butchery at Jonai Farms and tells us what is happening down on the farm on their blog, The Hedonist Life and on Facebook and Twitter. 
  4. Let people know what you are doing – this could provide further evidence of your passion for your project, your ability and may act like a third party endorsement e.g. if you’re a musician crowdfunding for an album; post updates about your gigs which shows you’re making music that other people want to come listen to.  Nicola is posting her Pozible, Newspaper to NEWpaper campaign updates on her Facebook page among her posts about the other things she is doing. 
  5. Provide interesting facts / info related to your project subjectSum Wars  are crowdfunding their maths game and posting interesting maths related posts on their Facebook page
  6. Give a ‘call to action’ when you do ask for support on your crowdfunding campaign – a clear call to action encourages action by removing confusion. People are more likely to act if they know ‘what to do’, ‘why to do it’ and ‘how to do it’.
  7. Promote your rewardspromote each reward individually because people may find a particular reward so enticing they will pledge even if they aren’t so interested in your actual project. A $20 pledge on Adam Wilson’s Triathlon World Champs crowdfunding campaign, will put you in the draw for a 1 in 100 chance of winning the ultimate Queenstown adventure weekend valued at $2400!  That is tweetable!  Let people know why someone pledged for a particular reward – Will posted this update for his crowdfunding campaign, Circus – a Graphic Novel on his Facebook page One of our pledgers named Sarah got the Performer Pack (the one where you get to be in the comic) as a birthday present for her husband Andrew aka Cooky. Extra cool because they are both circus performers themselves, like…real life ones. Pretty neat. http://www.circosis.com.au/
  8. Answer questions – answer questions through updates to everyone as well as directly to the individual who asked because there is a good chance others had the same question in mind but didn’t bother to ask it.  Zac is using the updates on his Pozible campaign page for his Beerend campaign to answer questions.
  9. Find interesting ways to present campaign updates – perhaps be a bit cheeky as Zac Martin often is with his tweets for his Beerend crowdfunding campaign, “9 days until I stop annoying y’all about my crowd funding campaign. http://pozible.com/beerend” Willem updated Fuuki’s Facebook cover photo with campaign stats such as amount left to raise and days remaining several times throughout his crowdfunding campaign.
  10. Tell everyone what others are saying about you – when a blogger, local newspaper, magazine posts an article about you, your crowdfunding campaign or reviews your product share the article with your supporters.  The Techjet team updated their campaign page with the many accolades and reviews they received throughout their crowdfunding campaign for the robot dragonfly.  
  11. Thank supporters throughout your campaign (as well as when your campaign ends). Champion sickline kayaker, Rosalyn Lawrence posted a thankyou update on Sportaroo and also let her supporters know what she is up to.  Helen Highwater says thankyou with a wee video at the end of her successful crowdfunding campaign, Dark Nouveau on Pozible. 

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REMEMBER to provide regular updates on your crowdfunding page (as well as in social media) because many people will only visit this page and will not be following you on Twitter or Facebook or other social media.  It is important, so says crowdfunding platforms:  Indiegogo, Kickstarter and Community Funded -

Indigogo from one of their blog posts, “Campaign owners that provide an update at least once every 5 days raise 218% as much money as campaign owners that update less often.”   …..   “In fact, campaigns which send out updates daily reach, on average, more than 100% their target goal.”

Kickstarter analysed the successful crowdfunding campaigns on their platform that had surpassed $1 million.  From their infographic “What Makes a Million Dollar Project” comes the following quote, “post updates every couple of days (on average, one update every 1.78 days)”

From Community Funded’s Roadmap to a Successful Project, “Updates can be used to say thank you, to keep your audience engaged with your work, or to present new perk offerings. Previous funders may share your campaign with others and people who have been considering funding may finally pull the trigger.” This document also provides a useful timeline for posting video updates in the last week of a crowdfunding campaign including a sample script.

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Updates keep your crowdfunding campaign fresh in the minds of your supporters.  If supporters are interested enough to pledge on your campaign; they do want to be engaged and follow your progress.  Also your friends and family are interested in the progress of your crowdfunding campaign and project.  Engagement is one of the reasons people get involved with crowdfunding.

The trick is to find the fine line between providing the engagement people crave and reminding them to support your crowdfunding campaign without annoying the HELL out of them!

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Have you any other ideas to add to the list?  Click ‘Leave a reply’ below to add to the conversation or post it on my Facebook page.

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KIDS can Crowdfund Successfully TOO

They just need a bit of help from their family!

Children crowdfunding

Kids are expensive creatures.  It has been said that it takes a whole village to raise a child.  Perhaps crowdfunding is then the perfect fit for some of those more expensive opportunities that your children are offered.

New Zealand crowdfunding platform PledgeMe stipulates, like most crowdfunding platforms, that project creators must be over 18 years.  Some crowdfunding platforms allow younger people to launch a crowdfunding campaign with written authorisation from a parent.  Alternatively a parent (or grandparent) can launch a crowdfunding campaign on behalf of their child.

2 crowdfunding campaigns for children have caught my eye on PledgeMe recently.  Both these campaigns demonstrate that kids can offer rewards that truly show their appreciation to their supporters.  And this is important because …

7 Reasons Why Crowdfunding Campaigns FAIL Reason #4 = LOUSY or OVERPRICED REWARDS!

Sometimes we see crowdfunding campaigns offering rewards such as: $50 for a thank you on Facebook, $70 for a signed photo of xyz (and the crowd is wondering WHO IS xyz and what would I do with a photo of xyz even if it is signed!), $100 for a postcard from wherever, etc. “Yeah right!  I’ve got better things to do with my money.”  (Do you think that’s a slogan worthy of a Tui beer sign?).

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But back to the rewards on these 2 crowdfunding campaigns for KIDS…

Kaleb and his Mum ran a successful crowdfunding campaign, Kaleb Rongokea, to transport him to the World Speed Stacking Competition in the USA to represent New Zealand.  This campaign reminded me of the days of my childhood when we used to do odd jobs such as lawn mowing, selling buckets of horse poo to gardeners, babysitting, etc. to supplement our pocket money.  Kaleb offered 2 hours of work around the home and garden for a reward of $200.  Odd job rates have increased considerably since I was a kid in NZ!  Here is an 11 year old, offering the rewards he can – his labour and to pass on his speed stacking skills through lessons.  Mum helped out and offered some baking rewards.

Rewards show your respect towards your supporters or potential supporters.  Keeping the concept of koha in mind is useful when choosing the rewards you will offer.

For those unfamilar with koha ….. koha is a Maori word without an exact one-for-one English word translation. Here is a modern day example to try and explain koha.  I offer to talk about crowdfunding at an event without payment and instead I ask for koha.  The koha given to me (usually money) by each person attending would reflect their means to give as well as demonstrating their respect for me and their gratitude for my offering to them (my time and knowledge).  Because koha reflects a person’s means, it is perfectly acceptable for someone to attend for free and simply offer a sincere thank you.  There may also be someone attending who has great means and gives $200 but the majority attending will offer something in between reflecting a fair exchange.

Rewards are a very important component of a crowdfunding campaign.  There are so many things people can spend their money.  You need to give pledgers a reason to spend their money on your crowdfunding campaign.  Granted, some people will support generously because they believe in your project and aren’t looking for a reward of equivalent value.  Obviously Grandma and Grandad will support you and they would probably be happy with a kiss and hug in return but it is enticing rewards that give strangers a reason to support your crowdfunding campaign.

Talking about Grandma and hugs brings me to this crowdfunding campaign on PledgeMe, Red Hot Cheer by Grandma Elaine and Charlotte.  It is the first time I have seen a grandmother and grandchild working together on a crowdfunding campaign.

I asked Grandma Elaine how long she had known about crowdfunding:

“I have known about crowdfunding for some time. I work with gifted children and was looking for funding opportunities to support creative endeavours about three years ago. At the time there was nothing outside the USA but I kept an eye on it because it had definite possibilities and I was sure someone would take up the challenge. LOL.”

I asked Grandma Elaine whose idea it was to use crowdfunding:

“I told her about the idea of crowdfunding then Charlotte and I discussed how we could go about it together and we talked it over with her mum and dad too so that they knew what we were thinking of doing. We planned the film to put on Youtube. Our difficulties lay in the fact that she uses a Mac platform at intermediate and I use windows so there was quite a bit of learning went on to get everything up and running. We planned the rewards together to ensure that we both had an input but that she would take responsibility for thanking pledgers.  We have had a blog together before and were surprised at how many people read it.”

Once again they are offering worthwhile rewards – HUGS!  There can never be too many hugs in the world!  The advantage of this campaign is that the hugs can be posted overseas so supporters can come from a wider geographic area.  Wondering how a hug can be posted?  Satisfy your curiosity and check out Red Hot Cheer.  Elaine and Charlotte have 22 days remaining so if you are in need of a hug; make a pledge!

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Recently in the USA, Piggybackra crowdfunding platform solely for children to run their own crowdfunding campaigns has launched.  Children outside of the US cannot use this crowdfunding platform because it is for US residents only.  But that doesn’t matter because …

KIDS DOWNUNDER ARE CROWDFUNDING SUCCESSFULLY

(with a bit of help from their families)

Ka kite ano (until I see you again, bye)

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Successful Crowdfunding Principle #2

The Second Principle of Successful Crowdfunding is PASSION

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  • Passion is … a strong liking, devotion, interest or enthusiasm towards something
  • Passion is … an intense compelling emotion
  • Passion is … a contagious emotion

The second principle of successful crowdfunding

In a crowd, passion is COLLECTIVE PERSUASION

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Collective persuasion in crowdfunding works like this -

  1. The project creator sends the message to the potential supporter (receiver)
  2. The receiver receives the message + emotional expression of the sender
  3. The receiver seeks reassurance that their own emotional reaction is the same as everyone else (looks to see if others are already supporting the campaign)
  4. Then the receiver mimics the emotional expression of everyone involved and supports the campaign too = emotional convergence

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This goes some of the way to explain the 30% rule of pledging.  Strangers usually don’t start pledging on a crowdfunding campaign until it is about 30% funded.  They are seeking emotional reassurance.

New followers emulate the first followers, not the leader.  If you haven’t already seen it, watch the well-publicised video clip of the lone nut dancing and the lesson of the first follower. It demonstrates the role the first pledgers play towards the success of your crowdfunding campaign.

This is why it is recommended to have your first five or so pledgers lined up to pledge the moment your campaign is launched.

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Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel re passion

If U aren’t passionate about UR project, why should anyone else be?

Not everyone is a high energy, emotionally expressive person.   Certainly it helps to raise your energy level when engaging the crowd in your crowdfunding campaign but it may not require you to be as high energy as you think.

Watch the video pitches on these three successful crowdfunding campaigns from people who showed their passion in a quiet, modest manner

Some successful crowdfunding campaigners that don’t need an energy drink are the creators of sock company Cole + Parker.  They show off their passion with high energy in their video pitch and images.

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What was that about an energy drink?  I heard a suggestion to have an energy drink before recording a video pitch to pump up your energy levels!

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If you don’t show UR passion for UR project, how will the crowd feel passionate enough about it to part with their money? 

Check out these guys showing off their passion in their video pitches -

  • Abigail and Ryan with Sum Wars maths game
  • Zach with Beerend - the solution for his (and your) first-world problem

I will follow up this post with another one containing loads of details about how you can show your passion in your crowdfunding campaign.  Follow my blog so you don’t miss out. Enter your email address in the box on the right (just under the photo of moi) and click the ‘Subscribe’ button.

Do you have any tips or comments you’d like to add about showing your passion in your crowdfunding campaign? Click on ‘Leave a reply’ below and share.

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The 1st Principle of Successful Crowdfunding – Trust

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Crowdfunding Matched Funding

Wondering what I am talking about?

Matched funding is when a supporter offers to match the amount of money raised on a crowdfunding campaign.

A current example of this is the Underbelly Arts Collection of campaigns crowdfunding on Pozible.

Underbelly Arts exists to uncover Australia’s next great artists, presenting new ideas and new works on Cockatoo Island at the Underbelly Arts Lab and Festival in July 2013. Our first round of artists are seeking support to realise their projects – and with the generous support of the Keir Foundation – every dollar you give will be matched.”

The Keir Foundation is offering matched funding – every dollar pledged on Pozible will be matched by the Keir Foundation who will donate one dollar to the project i.e.  when a $1 pledge is made; the project will receive $2.

Matched Funding Crowdfunding

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Other than the obvious financial benefit; the value of matched funding on a crowdfunding campaign takes us back to the first principle of successful crowdfunding – TRUST.

If someone offers to match every dollar raised on a crowdfunding campaign that is BIG TIME 3rd party endorsement of the project and the project creator or in this case, an endorsement of the Underbelly Arts Lab and Festival by the Keir Foundation.

Anytime a project creator has funding support from elsewhere such as a grant, sponsorship or matched funding for their project, it is worth mentioning in their crowdfunding campaign to provide potential supporters with a bit of added security.  When someone puts their money where their money is; it provides tangible evidence of their trust.

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This is not the first time we have seen matched funding on Pozible.  Probably the most notable recently was the ScreenWest 3 to 1 funding with Hugh Jackman promoting it.  This resulted in a financial flash mob!

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Maybe not financial flash mob style but definitely a very successful crowdfunding campaign with matched funding was run last year by STREAT café in Melbourne.  “To design, build and fit out this amazing new cafe we need a bare minimum of $80,000*. The good news is that our wonderful Melbourne Central partners, The GPT Group, have agreed that if we raise $40,000 they’ll match it dollar for dollar. That’s right, every dollar you pledge will be turned into two dollars!”

The STREAT café crowdfunding campaign raised $41,406 from 304 supporters, which added to the $40,000 matched funding, gave them the just over the $80,000 required for their project.

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US Crowdfunding platform, Community Funded makes matched funding a standard option on every crowdfunding campaign.

Open any of the crowdfunding campaigns on the platform and down on the right side panel and you will see a ‘Matched Funding’ box with the ‘Offer Matched Funds’ button.

Matched funding works on Community Funded as followsWhen you make a Matching Donation, the amount you are offering ($500 or more) is featured on the Project Page under the title “MATCHED FUNDING.  When someone makes a donation or pledge of any amount to the Project, an equal amount is subtracted from the Matching Amount and added to the project’s total. This continues until the full Matching Donation amount is added to the project.”

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Matched funding benefits the project creator both financially and by upping the trust factor with 3rd party endorsement.

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Matched funding increases the likelihood of crowdfunding success.  Matched funding provides some of the funds needed for the project and therefore reduces the target amount on the crowdfunding campaign.  A lower target amount will always be easier to raise –  (easier, not necessarily easy!)

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But what is in it for those offering the matched funding?

A person / organisation may provide matched funding on a crowdfunding campaign for a variety of reasons such as:

  • promotion - it is a form of advertising
  • beliefs – they believe strongly enough to put their money where their mouth is
  • image – being seen supporting the campaign, project and project creator may make them look good and being seen to support crowdfunding may make them look ‘cutting edge’ to majority mainstreamers
  • financial - possibly good for their tax position too!
  • emotional - the ‘feel good’ factor of helping someone achieve their dreams / goals
  • engagement – to be involved with the project
  • they are simply nice people with surplus funds to share!

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If you think your project would be a good fit with a business or organisation, asking them to support your crowdfunding campaign through matched funding could be beneficial to both of you.

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The Impact of Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding as we know it today has only been around a short time but what an impact it is having.

And there is no better example of this than the current crowdfunding campaign, Sum Wars by Abigail and Ryan Lewis on Kickstarter.

Sum Wars crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter

Sum Wars is a cool table top maths “crossword” battle game – a bit like scrabble for numbers.  “ADDversaries your days are numbered!  Challenge your friends (Math Geeks & Number-Phobes, alike) to a table top battle of numeric agility with a hint of vengeance!”

Abigail and Ryan live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA with their three young children.  I asked Abigail two questions:

Without crowdfunding, what do you think would have been the future for Sum Wars?

“The answer to your question is, that I am not entirely sure. When we came up with this game idea two and a half years ago, we thought it was a really fun idea, but didn’t really know where to take it. We had no knowledge of crowdfunding. We talked about trying to get a big board game company to take us onboard in some way, but the more we looked into that option, the more we found that this was probably not a route we could or wanted to take. Board games are a pretty challenging niche to break into. And without large sums of money to travel around to gaming expos, build prototypes, and get the word out about our concept, we had little hope of getting picked up.

We also talked a lot about venture capitalism. If we could find the right group of people to invest, we might be able to get this game up and going and after a few years, possibly make it happen. This was another option that seemed to not be the best fit for us. We would have to do A LOT of leg work to build a product that we weren’t even sure there was a market for, and with three kids and a busy schedule already, that didn’t seem to be the wisest use of our time. 

So we built the game for our own use and played with family and friends, thinking, that we probably wouldn’t ever go public with it, even though it was a great game! When we discovered crowdfunding, we knew we had the right fit for our project and we went forward from there!”

Here you are pitching your idea to the world for funding, contacting me down here in Australia….even five years ago could you have seen yourselves doing that?  

Five years ago I definitely would not have envisioned myself a board game creator who would be talking to people worldwide and gaining support from people in all walks of life. It truly has been an amazing and inspiring experience. I have been so taken aback at the amount of support we have been shown by bloggers, podcasters, tweeters and of course our amazing backers! We still have a ways to go on our project, and I sincerely hope we are able to succeed, but even if we don’t make our goal, I would mark it a journey worth embarking upon!”

We can only look back and wonder what may have been if crowdfunding had been available in the past.  Thinking of the likes of Tesla in the US and David Unaipon in Australia, neither had the funds to fully pursue their ideas but left enough clues that we could see it was a loss they didn’t.  (Although we could say Tesla has benefited from crowdfunding with three successful crowdfunding campaigns about him recently – his museum, a music piece and a graphic novel.)  I’m sure many other ideas that the world will never know about went to the grave with their creator all through a lack of funding.

But back to Abby and Ryan and their crowdfunding campaign for Sum Wars

Two of the things I love most about their crowdfunding campaign (not counting the game which I suspect I could easily become addicted to!) are:

  • It is visual which makes it more appealing, reaches a wider audience including those who have reading difficulties or limited English and is easier than reading a large chunk of text
  • It demonstrates the art of being yourself

I published a few posts recently about the importance of building trust into a crowdfunding campaign. Abigail and Ryan ooze trust – they’re likeable, they have loads of evidence and credibility from the first followers who began pledging soon after they launched.  And how did they achieve this?  Abigail said, “We tried to just be fun and natural and express exactly what our goal was and what we needed to make that happen.”

When you’re the real deal, you simply need to be yourself to see your ideas become a reality through crowdfunding so you can share them with the world!

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Thanks for sharing your story with us, Abigail.  It’s been a pleasure to meet you.

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A Visual Crowdfunding Pitch

Parlez-vous anglais?

¿Habla Usted inglés?

Parla inglese?

We English as a first language speakers tend to be a lazy bunch.  The first phrase we learn before travelling to a non-English speaking country often is “Do you speak English?” in the local lingo.

Boomstarter, crowdfunding is

For us downunder, it’s not like Europe where one can drive across the border and become embodied in a new culture and language.  The need to learn international languages hasn’t existed in the past.  Well, that’s our excuse!  But English speakers in general, do seem to have the expectation that everyone understands English.

Crowdfunding is global because it takes place on the internet.

Even if you launch a crowdfunding campaign in Australia on Pozible or in New Zealand on PledgeMe you are reaching a global audience.  15% of pledges on PledgeMe come from outside New Zealand.  Pledges on Pozible campaigns have come from 89 different countries.

English is NOT an official language in Australia or England or the USA! But English is an official language in 56 countries, so says Wikipedia.

Not everyone viewing a crowdfunding campaign will have English as a first language.  Even if they do have English as a first language, some will have reading difficulties.

I’ve spent the last month browsing international crowdfunding platforms most of whom use a language other than English.  As someone with English as a first language, a sprinkling of French, a touch of Maori and greetings in a few languages, nihao, how did I fair?  Not too bad, thanks for asking.

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MY KEY LEARNINGS:

  • Numbers are universal
  • Images cross language barriers
  • Body language is a global language

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Numbers are Universal

Even on the European platforms where I can’t understand anything else about the campaign, I can always understand how much each reward is, how much is raised, the target amount i.e. anything in numbers.

On this Swedish crowdfunding campaign, Nerdy by Nerds for the manufacture of jeans, I can’t read the words but I can read the numbers and understand the images.  Take a look and see how much you can understand.  Did you notice the video pitch had English subtitles?

I was taught at school – for numbers less than ten, write it as a word and for numbers greater than 10, write it in numerals.  Forget the rules!  In crowdfunding, use numerals rather than words to communicate anything numeric.

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Images Cross Language Barriers

It is said that a picture says a thousand words and this is definitely so when you can’t understand the language.

The image at the top of this post is an explanation of crowdfunding in Italian from crowdfunding platform, Boomstarter.  My Italian is limited to pizza, spaghetti and the like so without the images, I could have understood the first and third phrases but I would have been totally stumped on the second phrase.

Rewards in images

Project Budget in Images

  • Dark Nouveau used an infographic to communicate the breakdown of her budget

Evoke the Sensations with Images

Telling your Story in Images

  • Crabby Wallet creator Ryan Crabtree uses images to tell the story of how the wallet came to be including how he gave his wife a sewing machine for her birthday and then became a sewing machine hog!

Not everyone with English as a first language enjoys reading.  A large block of words can be off-putting particularly after a day at work on the computer.  Indiegogo provides further ideas for adding imagery to your crowdfunding campaign in Creative Ideas for Enhancing your Crowdfunding Campaign.  

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Body Language is a Global Language

Yes, there are many stories of cultural faux-pas involving body language but a video pitch in a foreign language can still be engaging and communicate a lot of information without understanding a single word said.

  • This video pitch from a successful crowdfunding campaign for a French musician, Tiou is engaging and I get the feeling he’s a nice chap
  • Another French video pitch, La Batook uses English subtitles to communicate with a larger audience

Everyone understands a smile.

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A few other tips …

Slang, Speed & Colloquialisms

NZ jandalsNative English speakers often speak fast and within each country we have our own slang terms.  I’m from New Zealand so I say ‘jandals’, Australians laugh at me because they say ‘thongs’ (a thong means a g-string in NZ) and others call this item of footwear ‘flip-flops’.  We need to be mindful of our slang and talking too quickly.

English Sub-titles

Why? You may be wondering, if you are speaking English in your video pitch do you need English subtitles.  Not everyone has full hearing and some people learn a foreign language in its written form more easily.  Also, it reinforces what is being said.

In the video pitch ‘From the Sea, To the Sea’ by George Siosi Samuels you can see the use of headings and script.

Testing

Pretending you don’t speak English, turn off the sound, and watch this short video pitch  for the Beerend.  With just the visuals, we can understand the project and get to know Zac a little – he likes beer, he’s been working at this design for a while, it works and with his smile, he comes across as friendly (or he had too many beers during the filming of the video pitch).

Watch your video pitch without the sound to get an idea of how much someone without English as a first language may understand from it. Also, what is your body language saying?

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A visual crowdfunding pitch containing images, a video pitch and infographics:

  • adds interest
  • is more visually appealing 
  • communicates to a wider audience 

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“A good video is a necessity, if you want a successful crowdfunding project.” Almerico says in 5 Things Every Good Crowdfunding Video Should Do. “Fifty percent of crowdfunding projects with a video are successful. Conversely, only 30 percent of those without a video succeed.”

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CREATE A VISUAL CROWDFUNDING PITCH & INCREASE THE SIZE OF UR CAPTIVE AUDIENCE

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Image: Boomstarter, Italian Crowdfunding Platform

Translation: Paralink 

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Documentary Edge Festival needs a superhero!

Join the Documentary Edge League!

In 2003 Dan Shanan and Alex Lee noticed that the New Zealand documentary industry needed some nurturing, some attention, some love.  They saw that New Zealand would benefit from hosting an International Documentary Festival.

Crowdfunding Free Public Events

Fast forward ten years and Documentary Edge Festival is in its eighth year and is Australasia’s premiere documentary showcase.  2013 sees over 60 short and full-length documentaries from New Zealand and across the globe presented in Auckland and Wellington this April and May.  The schedule is diverse, Q&A sessions with directors and creatives and industry events and forums run alongside award-winning and thought-provoking films straight from Sundance 2013 (see ‘Muscle Shoals’), the 2012 film festivals such as Toronto, Amsterdam (see ‘Propaganda’) and Cannes, and even world premieres (see ‘Bikes For Africa’).

Documentary Edge Festival is a facet of the not-for-profit charitable organisation Documentary New Zealand Trust that promotes the importance of documentary films and film-making.  They need your help in ensuring that this event remains in the annual New Zealand arts calendar!

Show your support via PledgeMe, and if you – or your friends – are in Auckland or Wellington in the coming weeks, check out the full programme and show your support in person!

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A plug for the Documentary Edge Festival crowdfunding campaign on PledgeMe by Kimberley Ballantyne (Twitter @kimbermeadow)

Kimberley attended a few documentaries over the weekend in Auckland.  She was inspired to promote their crowdfunding campaign because the concept is awesome, and the event brings films that would not be seen otherwise in New Zealand.

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Crowdfunding is the perfect vehicle for free public events because these events benefit the crowd.  People who can afford it provide the financial support so that everyone who wants to attend can do so regardless of their financial situation. 

Is that a win-win situation?

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IMAGE:  By 8bf [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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The Musos Crowdfunding Pitch

SHOW US UR MUSIC!

Why are we still seeing people with crowdfunding campaigns in the music category NOT providing a sample of their music? 

Crowdfunding via the platforms can no longer be considered new.  There are loads of successful crowdfunding campaigns to research and loads of help available in blogs such as this.

A music crowdfunding campaign without a sample of music is one way a project creator can increase their likelihood of crowdfunding failure.

Crowdfunding for Musicians

Unless, the musos happen to be the Rolling Stones, One Direction or the like who have been heard by a large percentage of the world population at some point in time or they have a huge fan base within their own country; a sample of music is essential on the crowdfunding campaign page.

With a fan base consisting only of close friends and family and maybe a few others who have discovered U at a pub, an event or busking on the footpath …. for the best chance of crowdfunding success – SHOW US UR MUSIC!

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Yes, potential backers can google to find a recording on YouTube but why should they bother?

A potential backer may have lost interest before scrolling down to find an external link to SoundCloud or YouTube among the words to click and discover the music.

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FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT – the video pitch is the best place to provide a sample of music as well as connect with the crowd and even make the supporters feel good.

Music has the capacity to change the way a person is feeling.  People are more likely to back a campaign that makes them feel good.

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Supporters have no shortage of places they can spend their money.  A crowdfunding campaign is competing against every other possible place they can spend it including other crowdfunding campaigns.  The exception being near and dear ones and die-hard fans that will have your crowdfunding campaign prioritised near the top of their budget.

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Maybe you do have enough fans to meet your crowdfunding target amount without the need to provide a sample of your music.  But crowdfunding offers the opportunity to increase your fan base – SHOW US UR MUSIC!

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I Can See UR Music!

  • Will Ginger Lancaster aka Masquerade, creates house music.  In his video pitch he engages with his audience, provides samples of his work and makes ‘the ask’ in a short, sharp video pitch.
  • The Landfill Harmonic is a film, a cause and music but here is video pitch that leads you to pledge

Can’t see URs!

Here’s a Perth band, local to me, Louis and the Honkytonk, crowdfunding on Pozible and I would like to listen to their music.  When I scroll down I can click a link to SoundCloud.  My mobile internet is iffy at the best of time; drops out and is slow.  We will think it is Christmas in Perth when we can reliably use our mobile phones everywhere!  It took me long enough to load their crowdfunding page and now I need to try opening another page before my connection drops out!  I am encouraged to listen to them because their handmade with love album covers are very enticing to me.  Maybe I will remember to try again tomorrow….

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SHOW US UR MUSIC to increase UR likelihood of crowdfunding success & increase UR fan base!

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IMAGE:  Masquerade crowdfunding on Kickstarter 

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Crowdfunding Social Enterprise BIZ Start-up

It’s not only Miss Universe who wants to save the world.  Do you feel a drive to make a positive impact on the world?  I do.  Have you had a fantastic idea to do just that but sadly found yourself with no funds and no time outside the day job to turn your idea into a reality?

Crowdfunding is changing that … enter the rise of the social enterprise … the what?

Ahh, Wikipedia!  A social enterprise is an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being, rather than maximising profits for external shareholders. Social enterprises can be structured as a for-profit or non-profit, and may take the form of a co-operative, mutual organization, a social business, or a charity organization.”

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You’re not alone in your desire to make a difference.  Furthermore, there’s a crowd out there willing to support U make a positive impact.

A snowflake is weak and fragile on its own but in a crowd, it gathers momentum and becomes unstoppable – an avalanche!

Crowdfunding Momentum

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Crowdfunding the Social Enterprise Business Start-up

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One of my all-time favourite crowdfunding video pitches was for a social enterprise business start-up, Who Gives a Crap?

Who Gives a Crap? is a Melbourne-based social enterprise business start-up selling environmentally-friendly toilet paper in developed countries and donating 50% of its profits to WaterAid, to build toilets and improve sanitation in developing countries.

“Who Gives A Crap is an undoubtedly cheeky product, but it’s addressing a very serious problem. 2.4 billion people (almost 40% of the world) do not have access to basic sanitation. This results in waterborne illnesses that kill 4000 children under the age of five every single day. Put simply, the developing world needs toilets…. We’re using a product that everyone needs to help those in need.”

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Who Gives a Crap? required start-up capital of $50,000 and successfully raised $66,548 on Indiegogo.

Now US and Australian customers, can buy toilet paper from their online store whogivesacrap.org and support the cause.

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From toilets, we’ll move on to “Socks that smell like a Kiva loan”, as tweeted by Indiegogo.

Cole and Parker is a current social enterprise business start-up crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo with Socks that Start Businesses.

The two London entrepreneurs, Diana Charabin and Jeff House, are crowdfunding to raise $20,000 to cover the cost of their first production run. Their idea is to donate 20% of the proceeds from each sock purchase to support entrepreneurs in poverty through Kiva.  Kiva is a crowdfunding platform that provides micro-loans in developing countries.

“Socks are the new tie,” said House. “It’s a way to dress up a bland suit, make it a little sharper, express yourself a little more through fashion.”  Moving forward, Charabin and House plan to release a number of fashion lines under the Cole and Parker brand.  Socks will be available for purchase online and in “high-end trendy retailers” soon, Charabin says.

Crowdfunding is only one of the sources they are using to raise funds.  This week they pitched to the Dragons’ Den.  Dragons’ Den is a British TV show where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch to five multi-millionaires venture capitalists, with the expertise-and the money-to invest in great ideas.

This crowdfunding campaign page provides would-be project creators with a fantastic example of both telling their story and presenting it.

Want to be part of making this happen? Click over to Indiegogo, bag yourself some cool looking socks and help another business start-up through Kiva.  A successful campaign already and only 4 days remaining!

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To leave U with thoughts of a pleasant smell, a social enterprise that smells good, deliciously good

Street Food Australia (SFA) successfully used crowdfunding for a portion of their start-up capital on Pozible.  Their first street cart is now up and pedalling around the streets of Brisbane leaving behind the waft of Chinese dumplings.

Helen and Bidderwell’s approach to crowdfunding was to use crowdfunding as part of their overall funding mix.

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During their crowdfunding campaign last year, I asked Helen some questions about crowdfunding their social enterprise business start-up…

Did you consider other funding options?

“Yes, we have 5 streams of fundraising going concurrently: crowdfunding, selling merchandise, selling advertising space, looking for sponsors and applying for debt equity.”

Why not just crowdfunding?

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket, so it’s a mix we are after.”

Was it easy decision to use crowdfunding for this project?

“No, we had to balance the time/effort we put in and cost out all the rewards so that it weighs up in the end, it is a lot of work!”

What will happen to this project if your crowdfunding campaign is not successful?

“It will be a small hiccup, but we will soldier on and probably have to shoulder more debt.”

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This campaign is a good one to learn from with regards to presenting your evidence to supporters.

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Are U lucky enough to be in Brisbane? Enjoy some dumplings from Street Food Australia’s bicycle food cart.

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All three of these crowdfunding campaigns are worth viewing to gain ideas for creating enticing rewards and offering a good range of rewards.

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Now that funding isn’t an issue …

R U feeling inspired 2 get OUT THERE & MAKE a DIFFERENCE?

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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Attribution: Scientif38 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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