Crowd Funding and How You Can Make It Work For You

Situation/Background:
If you don’t know what crowd funding is it will only be a matter of time until this word creeps into your vocabulary.

Crowd funding according to Mashable, “describes the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their resources, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.”  (http://mashable.com)

Ok in layman terms.  You have a project; you need to raise money for the project to launch.  Rather than taking out a loan or finding investors who don’t know you – you turn to brand ambassadors to raise the funds.  You ask friends and family to donate towards the larger campaign.  At each donation level a gift is setup to give back to the contributor.  Do you really want that high price item?  Are you willing to donate more to get it?  In addition, goals and a time limit are set on the campaign.  The funds do not go through until the goal is met.

There are many sites out there that crowd fund, I have heard of GoFundMe, KickStarter, and RocketTheHub  but I am sure there are many others. 

Strategy/ Implementation /Communication:
Crowd funding is a great tool for artists, entrepreneurs, smaller businesses, charities, campaigns, etc.  Anyone who has limited funds and a fan base they feel they can reach out too.  What is great about crowd funding is that it relies on publicity and hype to spread the word to further raise money.

You have a new CD coming out?  You have to release the exciting news to your followers to raise money.  You have to hype it up.  As hype builds, anticipation grows and aides you in reaching that goal.  If successful, in the end, everyone walks away with something.

Evaluation:
In the past 5 months, I have invested in two crowd sourcing campaigns and have heard of two others.  This is a four part series on the different campaigns I have come across and the success it has led to or is leading to for local businesses/entrepreneurs and charities.

social palates logo

The one I am heavily vested in right now is Social Palates on Artist Row.  I admit, I am a brand evangelist and have invested in one of the levels.  By assisting in building hype, I hope to aide in encouraging others to donate further ensure I get my takeaway at the end of the campaign – which I am anxiously awaiting!

What is Social Palates?
Social Palates is a social photography business based out of Salem.  Owner John Andrews shares, “I have always had a passion for street style photography and have created a new style of photography in the past few years called Social Photography.” (http://www.rockethub.com)

John attends local events and is the onsite photographer for various businesses. These businesses invite him to cover the event and he delivers with a unique style that can only be described by sharing his work with you:

John’s Vision:
Social Palates has established itself as a valuable tool and mainstay in the community of Salem, MA. The goal of this campaign is to fund a local storefront on Artist Row which will feature a photography studio set up with space for retail photography products and assorted local artwork. (http://www.rockethub.com)

Why is Social Palates Crowd Funding?
There are many reasons John turned to crowd funding to make his dream happen.  

·         Right now for the work that John wants to produce he cannot afford the $6,000 camera that is needed. So he rents the camera.  He lines up a paid gig and then schedules as many shoots in the time frame that he has the rental.  

·         John also needs a studio to work out of.  Currently he works outdoors or photographs events.  However, for the portrait side of his business – he needs his own space.   

To further state the case as to why Social Palates needs a space. Sometimes Mother Nature isn't the most cooperative.

To further state the case as to why Social Palates needs a space. Sometimes Mother Nature isn’t the most cooperative.  This was a recent photo shoot we did with John at Lynch Park in Beverly.

·         This is coupled with his desire to have his own retail space.  Hosting a viewing at a gallery is expensive and is not in John’s budget at the time.  However, he wants to put himself out there and sell his work in the retail arena.  Many of the shots that John has taken are in and around Salem.  Salem is a tourism city, as the weather becomes warmer, tourists flock to the area and this is the ideal fit for John. 

John’s prices are very reasonable. “One of the key reasons I am doing this (campaign) is to be able to continue to cover non-profit and less funded events to give them the opportunity to be seen as well.”

The Goal:
To raise $10,000 in 90 days.

His status:
$4,335 raised in 39 days.  41 funders have helped John accomplish 44% of his campaign goal.

How you can help:
Social Palates has 51 days to go.  Right now if funding/day stays consistent, John is on par to reach his goal on the last day of his campaign.  If this is too subtle for you then take this HUGE hint to get over there and help Social Palates out!

Please support Social Palates in their crowd funding campaign!  I want this image hanging in my living room!

At Gulu Gulu

Sources:
http://mashable.com
http://www.rockethub.com
http://socialpalates.com/