Using Crowds for Funding or Sourcing

Hey y’all it’s Thea here again talking money today! Over the last five or six weeks, both here in Scotland and in Cannes, I must have been to around four or five talks about Crowdfunding or Crowdsourcing.

Each time I go, I get slightly more inspired to give a go to a campaign of my own to complete the film I started making in 2006, but continue to have one or two reservations about it…more for the effort required to do a good campaign than the lack of belief that it will work!

Yesterday morning was a Comms Breakfast talk hosted by Michelle Rodger the co-founder of a new Scotland-based, Crowdfunding platform Bloom.

Before we go on talking about that, let us start with the definition of each term because though they are often used interchangably they are  slightly different in definition and aim.

Wikipedia describes Crowdfunding as “the collective cooperation, attention and trust by people who network and pool their money and other resources together, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations”.

Whereas Crowdsourcing is “the act of sourcing tasks traditionally performed by specific individuals to an group of people or community (crowd) through an open call.”

Crowdsourcing, (a term first coined just a few years back (in 2006) by Jeff Howe in a Wired Magazine piece called “The Rise of Crowdsourcing”) is more geared toward user generated solutions or content. Funding as it sounds deals more with the monetary aspect.


Slava Rubin, Indiegogo CEO, MIPCOM, Cannes 2011In Cannes @ MIPCOM, I had the chance to attend a small talk by CEO of what is arguably the second most well known Crowd Funding site – Indiegogo. Slava Rubin presented a lightning fast talk – starting with a great video of an example of what could be funded on Indiegogo (see video here Satarii) – which is practically anything (even IVF treatment or funerals!)

Ruben defined Crowd Funding as “a lot of people getting together who have a passion to make one idea happen”. (He ads that often you’re getting something in return, a “perk” or reward or something).

Slava says there are “four reasons anyone funds anything in life”:

1) …they care about the person, the cause or the campaign

2) …they want the perks – the products,  the service, the experience, the limited edition item, the ‘behind the scenes’,…

3)…they want to be part of a group, or something bigger than themselves

4) profit

The last one was not considered in this occasion, because it’s so hard to fund through the crowd anything for profit (“practically illegal” he says).

Slava Cites Factors in a Successful GoGo Campaign:

1) An Honest Pitch – be sure that yours is personal and engaging

2) A Video – Campaigns perform 122% better if they have a video on it. Note: not a trailer but a personal message (stating what’s in # 1)

3) The Right Deadline – Choose the time from 1-120 days. Choose a goal that’s fit for purpose, optimise for as short as possible while still being relevant and working. The average is 30-70 days.

4) Have Unique Perks – Make the perks unique, creative, low, high and medium. Make sure they’re not something someone can pick up too easily (if at all) elsewhere!

5) (like #1) Honest and Engaging copy in the campaign that is inline with your video and pitch. “This is who I am”…state your aim because, first and foremost, people want to know WHO they’re funding more than the film/project/product etc.

Slava’s Other Suggestions:

be proactive – if you have four more people on your team, you’ll raise 70% more money then if you try to go it alone.

do many updates, more than thirteen constitutes 65% more money raised than if you do five or less updates

– your number one tool for promotion is email, then Facbeook, then Twitter. Effectively “email destroys FaceBook and Facebook destroys Twitter” in terms of engagement and calls to action.

– be consistent – you need to keep asking, at least seven times or you won’t get it (the support). Be super direct. State clearly in the subject line “31 Days to 100,000 Euros for this Movie”.

He closes talking about “Social Proof” in the first 30% or 40% of monies donated is likely to be your family and friends (and presumably their spheres of influence) but as you get passed that you start getting what he calls “stranger dollars”. People who don’t know you who will start to contribute to your campaign.

Screen grab of Bloom Venture CatalystThe whole idea of Crowdfunding as I said at the start of this is intriguing. I’ve seen incredibly successful campaigns, and some much less so. I don’t know about you but seems every week I am contributing to someone’s film, or album or project of some description.

Though there are a few hundred of these types of sites, it’s exciting to see one launching right here soon, in Scotland, called BLOOM – Venture Catalyst (I love that last bit!)

If you have some money to spare, why not find some projects to be a part of?

Incidentally here are my Three favourites:

PledgeMusicI’ve contributed to at least six albums on here this past year.
KickStarter – I have contributed to around four films this year on KickStarter.
– I’ve contributed to one (or possibly two) film on this platform this past year.

Special Mention has to go to:
Bloom – the one I’ll keep an eye out this coming year!

Maybe early in the New Year I’ll create a campaign of my own to complete my film and we’ll put the theory to the test…Watch this space!

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