I'm 26 days into my music fundraiser on RocketHub.com, and I'm 93% there, thanks to the kindness of friends, family, colleagues and supporters! Just 4 days to go, and I'm so excited to get these demos printed and pressed so I can start using them as my calling card.
I thought I'd mark this almost-there occasion by spreading the word about crowdfunding, for those out there who may not know what it is, and who may benefit greatly from it.
WHAT IS CROWDFUNDING? Crowdfunding is a form of fundraising popular among artists, musicians, scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs that is generally carried out via the Internet. The process involves making your project's purpose, plans and outcomes known to a large audience (through social media, email and often the making of a video to let prospective funders know what your project is about), in the hopes that even small contributions will collectively add up to reaching your set fundraising goal in a finite amount of time. Many crowdfunders make it possible for people to donate as little as $1 to their projects, and set a time limit of anywhere from 30 to 90 days.
RocketHub.com is the crowdfunding platform I chose for my "Send a Hamilton to Harrison" CD project. One of the biggest reasons I chose this NYC-based dot-com is because unlike some competitors in the space, RocketHub enables you to keep whatever amount you raise, even if you don't reach your goal (minus the site's nominal fee). For me, this was an important consideration in today's economy, as some friends and family may not be able to contribute.
Another big distinction is that crowdfunding isn't charity; it's a two-way transaction. Donors — or as RocketHub calls them, fuelers — receive rewards in exchange for their donations, and the greater the donation, the greater the rewards.
A music-related project (like mine is), for example, may feature rewards that range from public recognition to copies of the work to dedications, customized compositions and at-home concerts.
START WITH PEOPLE YOU KNOW Most of the people who will contribute to your campaign will be people you know, as crowdfunding is about reaching out to your closest, most supportive network of friends and family first, then branching out through blogging, social media and email asks. However, there are fuelers out there who are frequent patrons of the arts or other projects and may be looking to support a project like yours, even though they don't know you personally. This is common among projects by music artists (like fellow songwritier Kerri Leigh, whose campaign to record her album reached an overwhelming 129% of its goal), as fans can connect with their music from all corners of the Internet.
CROWDFUNDING TIPS I'VE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY To see if RocketHub (or crowdfunding in general) is right for you, check out RocketHub's list of Crowdfunding Basics, and explore some of the projects currently underway. You can also head over to the RocketHub blog because I've shared some insight of my own experience in crowdfunding in the final paragraphs of an interview with RocketHub Co-Founder Vladimir Vukicevic. The RocketHub staff has been extremely supportive and helpful throughout this nearly 30-day adventure.
You just may find that RocketHub is right for your next project.
I welcome your comments and questions below.