You’ve probably heard of the Internet phenomenon that is crowdfunding. From potato salad to video games, to charity, people are increasingly turning to the Internet for help with funding their dreams. Crowdfunding has been around almost since the Internet was invented, as people realized online communities could help them raise money and awareness for their projects.
So what exactly is crowdfunding, and how can younger people get involved in it? Read on to learn how you can use crowdfunding to jumpstart your ideas.
Crowdfunding is the practice of raising money for a charity, business or a cause from a large group of people, usually online. Typically, lots of people donate small amounts of money to a project, sometimes in return for a gift related to the idea. Crowdfunding occurs via transactions between three parties:
Once the project is funded, the creator is expected to use the money to go through with their idea, and they usually share updates about the progression of the project or event. In cases where the money is to fund a product, backers who donate a certain amount of money will receive the product as a thank you for helping out.
So what kinds of projects can you crowdfund? The options are virtually limitless. Teens and kids have used crowdfunding to fund their college expenses, new businesses, school organizations/projects and charities. For example, 18-year-old Noah Hamilton recently raised over $8,000 to help pay for his art school program by trading artwork for donations. Sixteen-year-old Hailey Swirbul used crowdfunding to raise over $2,000 to help her travel to Kazakhastan and represent the U.S. in an international skiing competition.
It’s best to choose a project or idea that means something to you, because you’ll be more dedicated to seeking out the money. As the saying goes,”It’s not what you do, but why you do it.” Backers are more likely to want to donate to your project if you show you’re passionate about the cause or product.
There’s a variety of crowdfunding websites out there, and they all have different advantages. Once you know what project you want to fund, do research about which platform is the best for you, your cause and the backers you hope to reach. Some sites to consider are:
Kickstarter is one of the best known crowdfunding sites, having helped 78,291 projects get funded. There are over 2 million repeat donors on Kickstarter, which means there’s huge user base. However, that also means that it takes more to get your project seen. Also, they require that projects are “finite works,” which means tangible things like books, movies or video games, so no personal projects like tuition or medical bills.
Unlike Kickstarter, GoFundMe is all about personal projects and causes. It could be anything from veterinarian bills for your pet or buying new computers for your school. Plus there are no time limits, so your campaign lives for as long you like. GoFundMe is a great choice for volunteer and charity organizations that need a consistent flow of donations to stay afloat.
RocketHub is different because it’s partnered with the A&E Network. A&E goes through the submissions and selects certain campaigns that it will fund, offers exposure on their channel or makes them a feature on the network’s Project Startup website. You can fund both projects and personal campaigns on RocketHub from anywhere in the world.
IndieGogo, CrowdRise and Tilt are also popular options. Do your research on the limitations, fees and rules for each site to make sure it’s the right fit for your project.
Crowdfunding industry insiders say that there are a few things you can do to help you make the most out of your project:
Have a story
Like we said earlier, people are more likely to donate when you show you’re passionate about the thing you’re raising money for. If you’re trying to make enough for tuition, talk about your goals for college and beyond and why the money would change your life. If you’re raising money to give to a homeless shelter, outline why that cause is important to you and how it’ll change people’s lives. Show potential backers why every dollar matters and how it will be used.
Make a video
It’s human nature that we connect with people better face to face. Since you can’t go out and meet every person who views your campaign, a video is the next best thing. It doesn’t have to be a Hollywood-style production, but use the video to connect with your audience and show them who you really are! Have a friend or family member help you find the right lighting and to hold the camera steady. No shaky selfie shots!
Take advantage of social media
Because millions of people are on crowdfunding sites, many creators believe that it’s as easy as just submitting your idea and sitting back to watch the money roll in. Unfortunately, it will take a little more legwork than that. Most successful campaigns can trace back their donations to 25-40 percent of their connections. Thanks to social media, you can reach out to those connections way easier than going door to door. Share your video and campaign on your social networks and encourage your friends and family to share it and repost. Experts recommend creating a hashtag about your idea, like “#getbeccatoharvard” or “#savenewjerseystrees.” That way you can track shares, and people love a good hashtag.
Now that you know what crowdfunding is and how to get started, don’t be afraid to start working on your own campaign. Share your thoughts and ideas about this phenomenon in the comments!
this is real fun to do when i’m at home
definitely the next best thing it is a innovative way to exercise
Affirmative for next big thing
This is really helpful! I think this will really help with a lot of charities!