Monday, October 8, 2012

Fund This? Will my donation make a difference?

Crowd Funding sites like Indiegogo, Kickstarter and many others do not hold any of the campaigns that they host accountable to the people who donate. Nevertheless, very few scams have been reported. Most campaigns are genuine and most donors get what they sign up for. Regardless of the type of campaign, be it a tech gadget, a music album or a life-saving operation, the campaign organizer and the donor to that campaign are joining forces, working together to realize a dream.

There have been numerous stories in the news lately of projects having difficulty responding to donors. As a spokesperson for the very successful Pebble Watch Campaign stated ,"there are 65000 people who ordered a watch that doesn't exist yet."  Obviously there are a lot of poeple who don't mind paying $100+ to hitch a ride on someone else's dream. Crowd funding has made hitching a ride on a dream extremely easy. Millions of people are contributing $1, $10 $25  etc every day to share in someone's crowd funding project.

And there are a lot of dreams to choose from on crowd funding sites. In the past few posts I have already shown six that I thought were interesting, and worth looking into. In this post I am presenting a few more. Dream along with the creators of these projects in two ways: give them a donation to help the project get completed and/or tell your friends about the project so they can also share the dream.

The first one is shown in the image above. It is an album of cover songs (donors can even request one of their favourites) all done bluegrass style. Watch the video, it's funny and makes you want the guy to succeed. Here is the link: Guilty Pleasures.

The second one is a cool variation on the game chess. It's an animated chess game where the pieces show emotion in their facial expressions, body language and movement. This is only a couple steps away from the Wizard's chess game we saw in Harry Potter!

Here is the link: Chess Peeps

This third and final one was brought to my attention via the comment section of an earlier blog post. This is a short film, a scary mystery that is complete and ready for presentation at film festivals. They already won an award but need funds to get to more festivals so their film has a chance of success. And they are sooooo close to reaching their goal.

Here is the link: Drei von eins  (three of one)


And of course you can always share in my dream by contributing to my book campaign:

Here are the links:

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fund this? Give a Boost to the Cool and Quirky in the world of Crowd Funding

Anyone who has perused the pages of a crowd funding website realizes that there are a lot people  receiving donations for their cause or project, often in the thousands of dollars, from complete strangers.  Some of these projects request help with medical emergencies, desperate financial need or similar social cause. As with most crowd funding campaigns, the majority of these cries for help do not get answered. A few, like Karen the bus monitor, do the impossible by motivating thousands of people to contribute to the cause. Though that campaign asked for $5000,  Karen received over $700 000. This example illustrates one of the main drawbacks of crowd funding: a few projects tend to receive the majority of the donations. Many really good causes and projects fail to raise anything.

Sites, like Indiegogo and Kickstarter recommend that projects seek their initial funding from family and friends to give their project initial momentum. Only after they have sufficient funding will their project get featured on the site. This means that most projects will not even get exposure from the site hosting it. How then can a campaign gain exposure?

Gaining traction isn't easy. Rather than focussing on the problem, I am using this blog as a partial solution for some campaigns. The campaigns that I list are ones that I thought were interesting. If you agree, then you should tell others about the campaign. If you really like it, perhaps send a donation their way. Even $1 helps the organizers of the campaign know that someone has seen their page and likes what they are doing. I know from personal experience that both of these things, publicity and donations (of any size) are a huge boost.

In yesterdays post I discussed three creative campaigns (a band, a book and a mentalist).  Today's selections are a few cool and quirky invention campaigns that I came across this morning and liked. As I said before, I don't know any of the people running these campaigns, and have no vested interest in any these projects.

The first is the Bubble Worm. A new twist on an old idea. You blow into it and make a cool foam. I know my kids would have had a blast with this when they were young. The creator's campaign is having a slow start so take a look and see if it's something that you would endorse.

Here is the link: BubbleWorm

The second project is an interesting techie version of a hoola-hoop called KolaHoops. It's a hoola hoop with a computer and lots of led lights inside so patterns and colours can flash as it spins. The effect as shown in their photos (one at the top of the page and the one to the right) is really cool.

Here is the link: KolaHoops

This last one is for the smartphone crowd. It basically turns your phone into a roaming, tilting robot. It's called Helios. Put the phone into it, than you can control it from any web browser. The camera on the phone gives you a view of where Helios goes. You can move from side to side, in circles and pan up and down. It even has downward sensors to detect table edges so it doesn't drop off. Pretty cool!
Here is the link: Helios


I'll share some more projects in a future post. Until then, check them out and also check out my campaign too.

Once again, here are the links for my campaign.

I should re-emphasize, if you can't contribute with a donation, no problem.  I hope you will please share this post, or even just the link to one or all of these campaigns.

Leave a comment suggesting other campaigns that you think I should discuss in the future. No guarantees that I will write something about your campaign (I will never put negative comments!) but even having your site in the comment section for readers to see will be another way for people to find out about you. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fund this? Crowdfunding comments and samples

The number one impediment to a successful crowd funding campaign is lack of exposure. Not enough willing contributors find out about it. I am a crowd funding donor and recipient. As such, here are a few comments on my experiences and a few projects that I saw on crowd funding sites that I think more people should be made aware of. I know you can't contribute to every interesting campaign, neither can I, but we all can spread the word a little bit better, and ask others to do the same so these projects find a large enough pool of contributors to succeed.

Some people may think that the popularity of crowdfunding sites over the internet has made getting funding for a project, a social cause or sudden need brought on by personal tragedy a cinch. Not so! In fact most projects on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or any of the other sites fail to reach their target; many fail to raise any money at all.

My Experiences: 

My own experience is fairly typical. I first created an Indiegogo campaign in June to raise funds for the marketing and distribution of my new four book series Socialite 1. I am very grateful to all those who participated and supported the campaign. I followed the advice on the site, told family and friends, used Facebook, Twitter, Reddit etc. I had excellent perks for donors. Nevertheless, at the end of the campaign I received less than 10% of my goal.

My campaign ran on Indiegogo, which allows flexible funding, so I did get to keep the money that was contributed. The many people who use Kickstarter and don't reach their funding goal, get nothing. Kickstarter only pays out when the goal has been reached. I feel bad for them. Not all of them: some projects are just weird.

I just started a second campaign to raise funds to publish another book. I am running it as a contest: I am writing two books (shown in the image above) and I will decide which one to finish and publish first based on the donations by readers who prefer either Mystery or Science Fiction.  I hope that by giving people a say into the publication of a new book, the campaign may get more exposure than my previous one.

This campaign is at Indiegogo. (Creating a campaign on Kickstarter is not an option for non-US citizens). I am also trying a new crowdfunding platform called GoFundMe. These two platforms are similar in that they allow people to donate to projects and causes. They are different in a number of important aspects for those running a campaign. Firstly, Indiegogo requires that a minimum of $500 must be donated with the first two weeks of the campaign or else the campaign will never be included in their search results, shown on their homepage or get any exposure to their crowdfunding community. My first attempt at crowdfunding missed the mark, so my campaign never really got off the ground. By day 15, I couldn't even find it on their site.

GoFundMe on the other hand requires that $100 be raised prior to them listing it on their site and making it available to searches. They don't put a time limit on campaigns either, so your cause isn't dead after two weeks if you don't get $100.

So I am trying both and will post updates on their progress over time.

Other interesting campaigns:

I don't believe we should ever ask for something without giving something back when we can. As I said I can't give to every campaign that I like, but I can give them a little more exposure. So here are a few campaigns that I like. Note, I don't have any connection to these campaigns, and have never met any of the people running them. I just like what they are trying to do.

The first one is a blues band from Chicago: I like their bluesy sound, and the perks they offer are reasonable - only $10 helps them out and gets you a copy of their debut CD. Awesome! Here is the link:


The second campaign was for a book. I liked the concept of the story: time travel becomes possible but people are allergic to it. There are lots of ways the story could go that would be interesting. The author generously gave donors a copy of the ebook too. This campaign was at Indiegogo, but it expired there before the author reached the target. I'm putting it here so anyone who likes the concept can watch for the book, or email the author for a copy. I am also including this book because I'm sure the author still wants people to know about her hard work. 
Here's the link:

(update: I just learned that the author has another campaign running to fund editing. Here is the link: Editing Allergic to Time.)

The third and final one comes from Kickstarter and is for a Mentalist in Utah to fund promotion of his first stage show. I think his pitch is kind of cool, and I love the TV show the Mentalist. Also, one of the books in my campaign involves a mystic/medium so I have done a lot of research on this form of entertainment. If you think it's cool, then tell other people, and perhaps send a donation to that campaign.
Here is the link:



There are a ton of interesting projects out there. Perhaps I'll share some more in a future post.

Once again, here are the links for my campaign.

If you can't contribute with a donation, no problem.  I hope you will please share this post, or even just the link to one or all of these campaigns.