You have the idea, you have the drive; all you’re missing is the money. Whether you want to make the next hit indie film, rock album or to raise funds for a non-profit, online crowd funding can be a great way to back your project.
How Crowd funding Works
Donation-based crowd fundraising rewards those who give money with some sort of perk such as a shout-out by the artist, a spot as an extra in a film, an autographed picture or a first edition of a new product. There are typically various tiers of donations with different incentives. This model is the most common and how online crowd funding began, although investment crowd funding has recently begun to build steam.
Here are some ways to tell which sites would work best for you, depending on your project.
Crowdfunding for creative projects
- Kickstarter was one of the first sites for crowd funding and is focused heavily on the arts and new tech gadgets.
- Indiegogo is also a good place for albums, movies or any other creative endeavors but also allows crowd backing for other ventures.
- RocketHub allows an artist seeking financial backing to connect with marketing and promotion partners to further expand awareness of the project.
Raising money for businesses
- Crowdfunder is designed to help entrepreneurs by localizing their search for capital through connecting business owners with nearby investors.
- SoMoLend helps provide lending for small businesses by teaming up with banks to come up with loans, as well as assisting business owners in getting friends and family to help out.
- AngelList is a good site for tech startups that already have a lead investor.
- Invested.in has a more narrow focus for those looking to garner support for a niche in the market.
Finding backers for charitable projects
- Crowdrise is a great place to raise money for charity and was named a “Top 25 Best Global Philanthropist” by Barron’s. It includes a point system for keeping up with the donations of various organizations.
- Indiegogo is also good places for do-gooders to turn for a helping hand.
- GoFundMe can work for charities but can also be used for personal donations such as helping raise funds for a vacation or medical bills.
Sites for Inventors
- Quirky is place for inventors and designers to both crowd fund and collaborate. The community can contribute not only money but also ideas.
- For the mobile developers out there, Appbackr is designed specifically for getting apps off the ground.
Celebrities turn to crowd funding
It’s not just ordinary people turning to the public to generate income. Some high-profile celebrities have used crowd financing and found tremendous success. To fund the big-screen debut of the TV show Veronica Mars, creator Rob Thomas turned to Kickstarter and shattered crowd funding records, bringing in over $5 million dollars.
Zach Braff turned to the masses for the follow up to 2004’s sleeper hit Garden State. In just the first day he raised $1 million for Wish I Was Here and when the campaigned closed he’d raked in over $3 million.
More recently, actor James Franco jumped on the crowd sourcing bandwagon on Indiegogo for a series of short films based on his hometown Palo Alto. Franco offers a cameo in his film to anyone who donates $5,000 and a personalized voicemail for those who donate $450. Melissa Joan Hart has also used crowd sourcing.
Controversy over celebrity crowdfunding
There has been a fair amount of backlash over established artists using crowd sourcing. Purists have claimed that it’s ruining the essence of the model, which is to allow everyday people with a dream to make it a reality. They claim that there is no need for big-name artists with millions of dollars to seek help from the public, and that by doing so they are taking attention away from the people who truly need the help. The other side of the argument would be that artists like Zach Braff writing and directing an indie film such as Wish I Was Here aren’t controlled by the studios and can make the make a much more personal and authentic product.
Do you have any other suggestions of crowd funding sites and what are your thoughts on celebrities using them?