Crowd Funding: An Explanation and An Opinion
Hello Nerdy Friends!
I just wanted to drop some knowledge and share a video that I enjoyed. If you listen to our podcast you hear the guys talking about Kickstarter quite a bit. I keep reading about these discussions all over the net, is Kickstarter being exploited by celebrities? Is Kickstarter moving away from their original platform? Are people taking advantage of it?
Kickstarter is one of the sites that is using crowd funding for community projects. Crowd funding is basically a way for people to pool their funds and support efforts by other people. This can be funding for artists, small businesses, disaster relief, inventions, research, and civic projects.
Lately there have been a lot of debates over which projects should be allowed to benefit from this type of funding. Motion picture funding has been the topic of many of these debates as movies with star power have options for funding through major movie studios. The debates started with the Veronica Mars movie and have been growing more heated with Zach Braff’s campaign to help fund his next movie: I Wish I Was Here. Cutting the studios out of the funding and letting the fans back a project helps to give more creative control to the writers. In Braff’s case it will allow him to have complete control over the story and the final cut, as explained in his pitch video.
The internet has so many communities that it makes sense that projects and innovations would become a part of that. Sites like Kickstarter are creative ways to support one another and in my humble opinion I think it’s a great idea.
I have decided to throw some money into I Wish I Was Here mainly because I loved the Garden State Soundtrack and with a $20 contribution I will receive multiple playlists from Zach Braff as well as a preview of the official soundtrack. To me $20 is worth it to have access to playlists of music I like and recommendations to bands I may not know about. Kickstarter is one of the more popular sites right now because they offer the backer rewards. This gives investors an incentive for investing money into a project. Braff gets $20 closer to his goal and I get a glimpse into his iPod; Win-Win. Some may not agree, but there are other projects out there that a $1 – $20 contribution would be worth. I found this interview that explains crowd funding and gives the film makers point of view on this debate. After the video I have some information on Kiva.org and my experiences with micro-loans for those who are interested.
I have recently started going more in-depth and searching the Kickstarter site. I have watched many pitches and seen all sorts of ideas come to life. I am currently looking at backing a new key chain idea and a small company that wants to distribute concert wrist bands with quotes. These are things that may not change the world, but as a backer I would receive a sample of their product as well as the satisfaction that I am helping someone get their start. These are products that I would consider purchasing in a store and why not support local business owners in a convenient way?
There are sites that concentrate on specific projects for example, PledgeMusic. This site simplifies the process of getting your music out there. “PledgeMusic is a way for you to help your favourite artists make and release their records. It helps artists and bands design a tailored fundraising campaign to raise money for their next release. As a pledger, you will gain access to exclusive content and experiences, available only through PledgeMusic.” This site is interesting because you will see bands that have been represented by major labels being featured with bands who have their entire fan base online. It is a great way to support bands and secure that precious advanced copy you have been dreaming of.
If you want something a little more charitable, then maybe check out another site like Kiva.org. They supply micro-loans to people all over the world to help start businesses or pay for supplies to help them through tough times. For just $25 you can lend a financial hand and these people work hard to get your money back. You have the choice at that time to keep it or lend to someone else. For the price of a movie night you could change a person’s life. All from the comfort of your home.
I first learned about micro-loans through an english class I took a few years back. The teacher was taking donations for women in India who wanted to start a small business. We donated what we could, and we got to see the good that came from a few bucks in our pockets. $100 and this group of women was able to support themselves and their children. They started a business making clothes and selling them locally. This gave many of the women the financial means to leave abusive environments and the freedom to live their lives. This is only a sliver of what I learned during that class, but it has really changed my way of thinking. That micro-loan gave that group of women a business, whereas a donation may have only given them a few meals.
Please take advantage of the links throughout the article and see what the community is up to. If you are thinking of finding funding for a project of your own and need some direction as to which site is best for you check this out. Hope you enjoyed this. Leave us some feedback. Have you contributed to any crowd funded projects? If so which ones? Or perhaps you have a project out there, send us a link in the comments section.