Crowdsourced Funding: An Overview of 5 Money-Raising Websites
We’ve written about crowdsourcing before here at the QLP blog, but now it’s time to go deeper. If crowdsourcing for content increases brand loyalty, what does crowdsourcing for moolah do for your brand?
Well, as the Green Bay Packers proved by selling shares of Packers stock, crowd-sourced funding is an extremely effective method to get fans invested in your product. With social media and technology becoming faster than ever before and connecting more people than ever before, crowd-sourced funding is becoming much easier, accessible, and widespread.
The first site to take this concept to the web for creative purposes was ArtistShare. Founded in 2003, the site allows musicians to raise money for their latest projects. This site was the “first in fan funding,” and paved the way for many other platforms to follow.
Several other sites similar to ArtistShare have popped up over the past couple of years that encourage crowd-sourced funding. Whether users are raising money for themselves to pursue creative endeavors or fundraising for charity, there’s a site out there for everyone hoping to gain support for their cause. For most of these sites one mantra rings true: you have to give a little to get a little (or a lot!) Project creators can encourage fans to donate by offering a wide range of giveaways in exchange for each increment of donations. Creators give away everything from free downloads, to T-shirts, to personal live performances.
Here’s a run-down of five other popular crowd-sourced funding sites:
Kickstarter: With a concept similar to ArtistShare, Kickstarter provides artists and creators of all different kinds of media a platform to raise money for their projects. They describe themselves as “a new way to fund and follow creativity.”
Crowdrise: Crowdrise is dedicated to fundraising for charity. They put the “fun” in “fundraiser.” Their tagline is, “If you don’t give back no one will like you,” which says a lot about the nature of the site. I don’t think I can describe Crowdrise as well as they can, so I’ll let them do the talking. According to their site, Crowdrise’s mission is to: “Make sure your Crowdrise experience is at least as fun as French kissing someone for the first time. We want you to be involved in the Crowdrise chaos and get slightly addicted to giving.”
IndieGoGo: As their site proclaims, this site is for anyone and everyone. Through IndieGoGo anyone from artists, to athletes, to travelers and well diggers can fund a project. This site is like Kickstarter and Crowdrise combined, in that individuals can raise money for creative projects or for charity.
Profounder: This site is targeted toward small businesses. Profounder not only provides a place to raise money for your start-up, but it also provides resources and tips to help your business grow, such as checklists and community Swap+Meets for entrepreneurs.
Spot.Us.: Spot.Us is a crowd-sourced funding site specifically for journalists. For individual or community journalists not backed by a major news organization, it can be hard to come up with the resources required to make a big story happen. This site allows people to donate to stories that they want to see, and therefore allows journalists to fully and accurately report news to the public.
Based on the popularity of these sites, and the awesome creations and causes that get support from them, it’s safe to say that if your brand isn’t already participating in crowd-sourced funding, now would be a good time to start. As Kickstarter’s FAQ states, “A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement.” And who doesn’t want that?
Check back soon for the next installment of this series, in which one of these sites is profiled through an interview! Until then, let’s hear about your experience with crowd-sourced funding. Have you supported someone else or been supported through one of these sites before?
Jenna has a much easier time writing about the media and pop culture than she does writing about herself. She enjoys the simple things in life, like puns and typography. She is an avid fan of pop-punk, Halo 3, Spider-Man and origami, with a slight Taco Bell obsession. Her spirit animal is either a bulldog or a panda bear. You can also connect with Jenna on Google+ and Twitter.